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Funded Masters of Research (MRes) in Evidence based agri-food sustainability (removal of seed treatments in cereals)

Agriculture & Environment

Location:  Newport, Shropshire TF10 8NB
Salary:  As per advert
Post Type:  Full Time
Closing Date:  23.59 hours GMT on Sunday 05 December 2021
Interview Date:  See advert
Reference:  MRES-NR2-R

Industry funded Masters of Research (MRes) in Agroecology/Evidence-based agri-food sustainability (12 months full time tuition funded plus a £10,000 stipend)

Project title:  The ban on chemical seed treatments. The end of profitable cereal production or an opportunity for agroecological and technological development? 


A Masters in Research (MRes) is a postgraduate degree that similar to an MSc, but has a great emphasis on the research element of the course. It can be studied as a stepping stone to doctoral level study or as a standalone qualification for those interested in research careers in industry.  

MRes students at Harper Adams University spend one third of the course studying four taught modules, and the remainder of their time is focused on an in-depth research project. The taught courses are delivered in one- or two-week blocks throughout the academic year.

We have a funded MRes in either Agroecology or Evidence-based agri-food sustainability for a student starting in January 2022. The student research project will be an evidence synthesis of the research into the agronomic and economic impact of fungicide seed treatments, and future trends in non-chemical control. The project is funded by Bayer. The MRes funding will cover university fees and a £10,000 stipend. You will be placed in the Centre for Evidence Based Agriculture (https://www.harper-adams.ac.uk/research/ceba/) at Harper Adams University.  There will be an opportunity to spend some time with the Sponsor either in the UK or Germany.

Your research project will be 120 credits. The details of the project are detailed below. You will also take four taught modules each of 15 credits. The proposed taught modules for this MRes are: research and information skills, experimental design and analysis, sustainable agriculture* OR food security and sustainability*, and a case study* (*the student can choose appropriate available alternatives from our taught programme should they prefer and should they be available. The final title of your MRes will depend on the taught modules that are chosen.

Background to research project:

The UK cereal seed treatment market is estimated to be worth £25m (2020), an estimated 2.4 mHa of cereal crops were sown with treated seed (2020).  The regulatory environment for seed treatments is challenging and is influenced by socio-political pressures as demonstrated by the ban on neonicotinoid insecticides.  The loss of key active ingredients and the seed treatment products based on these may lead to a situation where a number of seed and soil borne diseases (and pests) that have been controlled by seed treatment over the past half-century could become prevalent again.  The research project will look at the risks to cereal production (including the certified seed crop) arising from the loss of effective seed treatments, alternative approaches (e.g irradiation, heat treatment), and whether the latter are commercially viable for UK (and European) cereal production. 

Bayer AG (Crop Science Division) is a leading R+D company that has a pedigree in seed treatments and seed applied solutions.  The successful candidate will have the opportunity to spend some time with Bayer AG Crop Science teams in the UK and possibly Germany. 

The research project will be in the form of an evidence review (systematic map) that addresses the following question: “What is the potential impact on the prevalence of cereal seed and soil borne diseases due to removal of fungicidal seed treatments or use of alternative approaches?” The systematic map will follow standard guidelines such as those set by the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (see  https://environmentalevidencejournal.biomedcentral.com/submission-guidelines/preparing-your-manuscript/systematic-map   ) with the aim of publishing the final systematic map paper and outputs in a peer reviewed journal. 

Applications should be made through the HAU website. Further details about MRes study at Harper Adams can be found on the postgraduate webpages https://www.harper-adams.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/201135/master-of-research

For informal enquiries on general aspects of MRes study degrees at HAU, applicants may contact the taught postgraduate office. For informal enquiries on the project, applicants may contact the director of studies Dr Nicola Randall [nrandall@harper-adams.ac.uk]. 

All applicants must normally have a minimum of an upper second class UK honours degree, or equivalent, in Environmental Studies, Agriculture, Crop science, Biological Sciences, Sustainability, or related sciences. Applicants must also have an excellent understanding of written technical and scientific English. Other commonly used languages in scientific literature would be an advantage. 

This MRes is open to UK and international students, and applicants must show evidence that their English skills are at a minimum B2 level on the Common European Framework of Reference.  This can be demonstrated through an Academic IELTS score of 6.0 overall or above with no less than 5.5 in any component (or an equivalent score in other tests accepted by the University).   Alternatively, evidence of successful completion of a degree taught in English from a UKVI approved list of countries may be accepted. 

Please see the University’s English Language requirements.

Closing date for applications: 5pm  (GMT) Sunday 5th December 2021

Interview date (to be held online): Week beginning 13th December 2021

Course start date: January 2022

Harper Adams University is one of the premier UK Higher Education institutions focused on the land-based and food supply chain sector. With around 2,800 undergraduate students, plus those completing postgraduate, research and CPD programmes, Harper Adams University is the UK's largest single provider of higher education for these subjects.  Programmes fall into eleven broad subject areas – but none operate in isolation. Community and collaboration are key at Harper Adams, meaning everyone, including staff, students and industry partners, benefits from a close network of knowledge and opportunity exchange. Situated in Shropshire, the campus and the surrounding area provide an excellent working and living environment for staff and students alike.

Harper Adams is consistently positioned highly in a range of national ratings, performance measures and league tables. The University has been the highest performing modern university in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide for the last four years, climbing to 17th place in the overall league table. In the 2020 guide Harper Adams was named Modern University of the Year and runner-up University of the Year. In the 2019 Whatuni? Student Choice Awards, based on student reviews, Harper Adams won the Student Support category for the fifth time – the only university to have taken the title since the awards began - and won the category for best job prospects for a fourth year running. In the 2020 QS World Rankings for Agriculture and Forestry published in March 2020, Harper Adams was ranked first in the UK for academic reputation and second in the world for its reputation with employers

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Harper Adams University is one of the premier UK Higher Education institutions focused on the land-based and food supply chain sector. With around 2,800 undergraduate students, plus those completing postgraduate, research and CPD programmes, Harper Adams University is the UK's largest single provider of higher education for these subjects.  Programmes fall into eleven broad subject areas – but none operate in isolation. Community and collaboration are key at Harper Adams, meaning everyone, including staff, students and industry partners, benefits from a close network of knowledge and opportunity exchange. Situated in Shropshire, the campus and the surrounding area provide an excellent working and living environment for staff and students alike.

Harper Adams is consistently positioned highly in a range of national ratings, performance measures and league tables. The University has been the highest performing modern university in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide for the last four years, climbing to 17th place in the overall league table. In the 2020 guide Harper Adams was named Modern University of the Year and runner-up University of the Year. In the 2019 Whatuni? Student Choice Awards, based on student reviews, Harper Adams won the Student Support category for the fifth time – the only university to have taken the title since the awards began - and won the category for best job prospects for a fourth year running. In the 2020 QS World Rankings for Agriculture and Forestry published in March 2020, Harper Adams was ranked first in the UK for academic reputation and second in the world for its reputation with employers.


Applied research is at the heart of the university’s activity, with the work of a thriving academic community underpinning both teaching and work with the industries allied to Harper. The 2014 Government Research Excellence Framework rated all of the university’s research as “of international quality”, and more than half was deemed “world leading” or “internationally excellent”.
 


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