Fera Science Ltd has an excellent and long-standing track record of supporting PhD studentships. Working with our extensive network of academic partners, we have for many decades co-sponsored between 20-30 studentships a year.
Our PhD research projects are aimed at improving the understanding of emerging risks and to evaluate new approaches and technologies, which we can translate into novel science-based evidence and solutions for both government and industry customers. By working in partnership with academia, we are able to bring in fresh thinking and maintain a strong contact with cutting-edge science, which in turn helps us to build new expertise and capabilities.
Our PhD programme is also an essential means to develop the next generation and foster new talent. We are proud of the fact that many former Fera students now have successful careers within our sector, including a significant number who have remained with us and become part of Fera’s science team.Current PhDs Available
PhD topics cover agri-food and environmental research, and a selection of our current PhD research project abstracts can be seen below.
Fruit and vegetable consumption is
increasingly being recognised as an important transmission route of
foodborne disease. This project aims to develop testing approaches to
indicate the potential for pathogens (bacteria, viruses and parasites)
presence in fresh produce by employing Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS)
This project explores the role of cryptic viral infections in altering the tolerance of crops towards multiple biotic and abiotic stresses.
Slugs are damaging pests of UK crops and control is achieved using molluscicidal pellets. Current pellets are inefficient and polluting and improvements to their design are urgently required. The project’s aim is to generate the knowledge required to develop new pellet formulations that give better and safer slug control.
Plants adapt in response to change in environmental conditions and studies show that this phenotypic plasticity also has co-evolved in response to soil microbiota (e.g microbes and viruses). In this project we aim to quantify the influence of soil microbiota and viruses on plant phenotypic plasticity (growth development) and its effect on plant fitness and final yield in potatoes.
Registration of biomolecules (proteins or RNA) for crop protection requires an environmental fate assessment. This project will use state-of-the-art methods such as RNA amplification and sequencing, laser-scanning confocal microscopy and liquid chromatography high resolution mass spectrometry to investigate the sorption coefficients and biodegradation rates of macromolecule biopesticides in agricultural soils.
We will explore the potential for vitamin D enriched eggs to improve vitamin D status and improve health in UK consumers. This will be done by conducting: (i) a dietary intervention study in high risk population subgroups viz. young Caucasian and South Asian adults and (ii) an in-depth qualitative exploration of their attitudes and acceptance of such foods as part of the diet.
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