The research focus of the School's agriculture and environmental sciences group is: Agricultural Systems and Management Development of farm and sector-level programming models; impact of climate change on future sustainability and performance of arable and livestock farming systems; development of appropriate farmer adaptation strategies to environmental, market and policy change; impact of farming systems on nitrogen loss and emissions of global warming gases; trade-offs between economics, energy and emissions from the farm level production of feedstocks for second generation bioenergy production; digestible potential of straw for second generation biofuels, encompassing aspects of grower decision making; development of least-cost farming strategies to reduce pollution from agriculture; risk management in agriculture; estimating and explaining variation in technical efficiency; analysis of machinery depreciation rates; examining farm to retail price linkages; understanding consumer knowledge and attitudes towards sustainable food product; analysis of livestock prices through different market mechanisms. The role of benchmarking in rural business management. Environmental Science Sustainable soil management and remediation; rhizosphere biophysics; hydropedological applications of X-ray micro Computed Tomography, geochemistry and morphological assessment of permeable reactive barrier longevity; zeolite dissolution kinetics; trace element dynamics in soil-plant systems; plant uptake of heavy metals and radionuclides from contaminated soils; use of stable metal and metalloid isotope tracers to parameterise geochemical models; development of models to support environmental decision making; methods for the development of environmental models; ecological and physiological effects of veterinary drugs in the environment; biochar in sustainable agriculture; plant environment interactions and the development of quantitative palaeoclimate proxies based on plant fossils. There is a wide range of opportunities for environmental modelling research. This includes applied work such as predicting the transport and fate of environmental contaminants (especially radionuclides and metals); or more fundamental biogeochemical modelling such as the cycling of carbon and nitrogen in terrestrial ecosystems. The group also has interests in methods for the evaluation and parameterisation of environmental models. For example model reduction has been applied to a range of models (crop models, contaminant transfer models, ecosystem models) to test whether the level of empirical system understanding justifies model formulation. The normal duration of a PhD is either 36 or 48 months; Phil is normally 24 months.
Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service. Individual guidance appointments, career management training programme, access to resources and invitations to events including skills workshops and recruitment fairs are just some of the ways in which they can help you develop your full potential, whether you choose to continue within an academic setting or are looking at options outside of academia.