This project offers an opportunity to work closely with leading UK salad and herb growers as well as world leading Polyacrylamide manufacturer SNF, and is relevant to an applicant interested in technical and engineering innovation, an integral component of this project recognised through the co-sponsorship of the Douglas Bomford Trust. Based at Cranfield University, the project also has access to world leading research facilities through Agri-EPI and CHAP centres. Read more Read less

The project will address two key challenges facing the horticultural sector:

1) Micro-contamination of baby leaf salads and field herbs. Contamination of baby leafy salads and field grown herbs with soil and/or pathogenic micro-organisms can result in a significant cost to the fresh produce industry due to analysis costs, product wastage, delayed marketing (reduced shelf-life), supply restrictions, additional hygiene requirements and customer concerns.
2) Poor stand establishment of small seeded crops due to capping of the soil surface. Capping can impede seedling emergence, delay stand establishment and reduce plant populations, which impacts the quantity and quality of the final yield.

This project will provide an opportunity for the student to engage directly with business to enhance their technical, communication and practical experience, as well as academic rigor, through an investigation of:

a) Optimum application rates and PAM formulations to prevent capping and mitigate soil splash on a range of crust susceptible soils,
b)  Seedling emergence and splash contamination trials,
c) Design and development of a PAM sprayer that can be readily retro-fitted to the back of a range of seed drills, d) Field trial assessment of optimal PAM formulations and application rates.

At a glance

  • Application deadline14 Sep 2018
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Duration of award3 years
  • EligibilityEU, UK
  • Reference numberSWEE0039

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a first or 2:1 level or equivalent in subjects such as Agriculture, Environmental Science, Geography or Natural Sciences. Experience in soil science or plant measurements is desirable. The candidate should be self-motivated and have good communication skills.


Sponsored by SNF, Douglas Bomford Trust and Cranfield University, this fully funded studentship will provide a stipend of £18.000 p.a. (tax free) with fees covered and £18.500 research consumables and travel budget.

* To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be a UK or EU national. We require that applicants are under no restrictions regarding how long they can stay in the UK i.e. have no visa restrictions.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This Network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas, identify opportunities for collaboration and create smaller communities of practice.  It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

For further information please contact: Dr Lynda Deeks: or Dr Rob Simmons:

If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship, please complete the online application form

For further information contact us today:

T: +44 (0)1234 758082