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Biosciences: KESS II Funded PhD Studentship: Improving the Efficiency of Lumpfish for Sea-Lice Control in Salmon Farming

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 scholarship is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.*

Brief summary of project:

Efficient sea-lice control remains one of the most important challenges for the salmon farming industry in the UK and worldwide. The use of lumpfish as cleaner fish offers a ‘green alternative’ to medicines for sea-lice control, but production still relies on the capture of wild fish, which is not sustainable. To meet global industry needs, lumpfish production needs to increase to reach c. 50 million fish annually and this can only come from aquaculture. Wales is uniquely positioned to help deliver lumpfish for the global cleaner fish market, but to achieve sustainable intensification, several technical challenges remain; these can only be overcome through a dedicated R&D programme involving HEIs and industry. A gap analysis indicates that the areas in most need of research include better control of maturation for year-round production, formulation of appropriate diets, artificial selection of elite lines with desirable traits, and development of vaccines for certified, disease-free juvenile production. The welfare of farmed lumpfish needs to be better quantified, and more information is needed on optimal densities and tank design. Finally, the risk of farmed lumpfish escaping from net pens needs to be assessed, and it might be beneficial to recover cleaner fish from salmon cages after the production cycle, perhaps by using them as broodstock, for export to the Asian food markets, or for the production of animal feeds.

Scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners including SMEs and micro companies, as well as public and third sector organisations. The scholarship provides 3 years of funding with a 6 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 60 credit award.


Candidates should have a 2.1 or above in their undergraduate degree in Biology 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. The bursary will be limited to a maximum of £14,340 p.a. dependent upon the applicant's financial circumstances.

There will also be additional funds available for research expenses.


Please visit our website for more information.

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