Biosciences: KESS II Funded MRes Studentship at Swansea University: Development of novel fungal-based biofertilisers

  • Master
  • Full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend
  • 31 August 2017

Swansea University is a UK top 30 institution for research excellence (Research Excellence Framework 2014), and has been named Welsh University of the Year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.
\This scholarships is part funded by the Welsh Governmentā€™s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.\*
A fully funded 1 year master's studentship in Environmental Microbiology is available within the Department of Biosciences at Swansea University. The aim of this project is to elucidate key fungal and plant signalling events, which encourage fungal endophytic growth resulting in improved plant growth and resistance to abiotic stresses. The successful applicant will work under the Supervision of Dr Almudena Ortiz-Urquiza. Prof Tariq Butt will provide secondary supervision. The project will involve the use of molecular and microbiology techniques to investigate endophytic growth by the entomopathogenic fungi (EPF)Ā Beauveriaspp. andĀ MetarhiziumĀ spp. in plants of economic importance.
The filamentous fungiĀ BeauveriaĀ spp. andĀ MetarhiziumĀ spp. are pathogens of a wide range of arthropods and can form mutualistic relationships with plants as endophytes, which result in multiple benefits for the plants, including growth promotion. It has been proposed that originally EPF were plant symbionts, and pathogenicity towards insect was developed as an opportunistic strategy to scavenge nutrients (e.g. Nitrogen) from the insects to barter them later for plant sugars. The nutritional benefits that these fungi may provide to the plants could reduce fertiliser usage significantly, offering substantial savings and ecological benefits. This is timely since there is a desire to reduce dependency on mineral fertilisers, which can be environmentally damaging. MycoSolutions Ltd is a Welsh microenterprise involved in the manufacture and sales of strains of EPF belonging to the generaĀ MetarhiziumĀ andĀ Beauveria. MycoSolutions is interested in understanding EPF endophytic growth to enable better exploitation of these fungi in practical applications.
The scholarship provides 1 year funding with a 3 month period to complete the thesis. The achievement of a postgraduate skills development award, PSDA, is compulsory for each KESS II scholar and is based on a 30 credit award.


Candidates should have a 2.1 or above in their undergraduate degree of biology, zoology, microbiology, horticultural sciences, or a related subject. They should also be eligible for UK/EU Fees.


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The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend.Ā  The bursary will be limited to a maximum of Ā£11,472 p.a. dependent upon the applicantā€™s financial circumstances.There will also be additional funds available for research expenses.


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