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Plant Health Undergraduate Studentships

Undergraduates - would you like to experience the exciting world of plant science research, tackle a key science challenge, and be paid for it?

We've worked with plant scientists to create nine excellent projects that address major plant health challenges identified by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Students can now apply to work on these projects for 8-10 weeks this summer. Successful students will receive £200 per week, plus a contribution of up to £500 towards travel, accommodation or attending a conference.

Eligibility requirements are given below.

We are grateful to Defra, BSPP and N8 AgriFood for funding this programme.

Why apply for a studentship?

These placements are a great way to:

  • Find out what it’s like to contribute to a real research project
  • Get research experience that will look great on your CV
  • Meet and work with scientists who can answer your career questions

As well as being paid, successful applicants will receive a year’s free student membership of the Royal Society of Biology.

How to apply

To apply for one of these studentships, use the link to the online application form in the project description below. You will need to create a free MySociety account. When applying, you will be asked to upload a CV and personal statement explaining why you are interested in the project, and what skills you could contribute. Applications must be received by 23:59 on 9th May 2018.

Who can apply?

The scheme is open to undergraduate students registered at a UK institution for the majority of their science degree. Students will normally take up the award during the summer vacation in the middle years (i.e. 2/3, 2/4 or 3/4) of their degree but final year undergraduates intending to continue to Masters or PhD may also be considered. Mature students are eligible to apply.

The Royal Society of Biology is committed to equality of opportunity for all applicants and applies fair and non-discriminatory practices in applicant selection to uphold this.

Other conditions

On completion of their project, students will be required to submit a poster with photos outlining their research and what they have gained from the experience. A selection of these posters will be included in relevant Royal Society of Biology, UK Plant Sciences Federation and Member Organisation publications.

Projects available



An investigation into the plant pathogenic oomycete community in the Lagan river, Belfast – the utility of the baiting technique

Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Belfast


Characterisation of novel viruses detected in material bought on eBay

Fera, York





Developing new tools for interrogating cereal invaders

John Innes Centre / Earlham Institute, Norwich


Developing tools for pre-symptomatic disease detection in strawberry






Factors affecting potato variety tolerance in the management of potato cyst nematodes (Globodera spp)

Harper Adams University, Shropshire


Getting straight to the point: Predicting the starting location of an epidemic following its first discovery

University of Salford





Linking high risk pests of woody species to host plant diversity in Britain

Coventry University


The consequences of underground plant-to-plant signalling for aphid fitness

University of Manchester






Understanding R. solanacearum pathogen resistance evolution against Pseudomonas biocontrol agent

University of York







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