UK: PhD Studentship in WebScience for Food Security at University of Southampton

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Ref: EngSci-BIO-100

Deadline: Applications will be accepted at any time until the position is filled.

Description: One of the major challenges for the human kind is how to provide food for an ever increasing human population. This is becoming more challenging with the climate change and fertilizer scarcities. In fact, phosphate fertilisers, that have driven crop yields in last 100 years, are predicted to run out in next 50-100 years. So alternatives need to be found and current resources need to be used in more economic manner in order to still enable robust food crop growth.

For several years now we have been developing mathematical models of plant nutrient and water uptake. However, the uptake of these models directly by experimentalists is limited because they require specialist programming skills and familiarity with user interfaces. However, practitioners, such as farmers and fertiliser companies, do want to use models and computer platforms to inform their decision making.

Within this PhD project we will develop a web based platform to enable experimentalists, farmers and government policy makers to use these models over the web in a flexible manner to optimise the soil management practices. This requires the creation of a web based user interface and a user friendly technology to enable modular mathematical models contributed by a range of different theoreticians to be joined. This needs to be done in a manner which maximises the uptake and impact of the models. Thus the PhD will involve user community building and engagement.

To Apply: If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr. Tiina Roose, Bioengineering research group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 2374 and Dr. Les Carr, Web Science DTC, Email:, Tel: +44(0) 2380 59 4479.

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