The University of Nottingham has signed a strategic partnership agreement with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in the area of Global Food Security.
This arrangement is in recognition of the University’s foresight to invest in state of the art facilities to carry out internationally acclaimed research that underpins food production. The University of Nottingham’s relationship with the BBSRC has led to ground breaking work in the areas of Global Food Security - the challenge of ensuring that the world’s population has access to adequate amounts of safe, nutritious food to meet its needs.
A number of national and international organisations are developing approaches to problems that are raised by global food security. The University would anticipate the need to develop partnerships and networks internationally at high level, such as:
World Health Organisation (WHO)
European Union (EU)
International higher education institutes
The UK governmental responses to this issue encourages research institutions to:
form partnerships with local policy makers
have a greater voice in national policy-making
Through this the University aims to become a recognised centre of excellence on the issue of Global Food Security.
PhD studentships in Food Security
With over 1 billion individuals suffering from chronic malnourishment and nearly 200 million children being severely underweight, the world’s population is facing difficulties in ensuring food security. These problems are expected to become even more acute in the coming decades as the world’s population increases and the demand for food may double.
To address this global challenge the University of Nottingham, University of Reading, and Rothamsted Research are collaborating to fund three PhD studentships in Food Security.
The three projects are:
Optimising root architecture by exploiting diverse wheat germplasm
This four year project aims to establish techniques for the investigation of wheat root architecture. This will include analysis of soil cores from field plots using both PCR and computer tomography to determine root density and structure. These techniques will be used to characterise novel wheat genetic material emerging from wheat pre-breeding programmes and also to investigate signalling pathways that impact on root development.
The PhD will be based in Dr Andy Phillips’ lab at Rothamsted Research but will also involve periods of research at the University of Nottingham under the supervision of Dr Sacha Mooney.
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Understanding the roles of predatory Bdellovibrio bacteria as “food security guards”
This three year project will study the effects of Bdellovibrio bacteria on the numbers and activities of bacterial and fungal crop-pathogens, symbionts, beneficial bacteria and invertebrate levels and activities in soils and in crop plants.
The PhD will be based in Prof Liz Sockett’s laboratory at the University of Nottingham but will also involve periods of research at the University of Reading under the supervision of Dr Robert Jackson and at Rothamsted Research.
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Production, processing and application of ferulate-rich grain for the prevention of cardiovascular disease
This three year project will assess whether ferulate-rich wholegrain intake in the form of bread leads to a decrease in blood pressure and an improvement in vascular function in healthy human volunteers.
The PhD will be based in Dr Jeremy Spencer’s lab at the University of Reading but will also involve periods of research at Rothamsted Research characterising wheat samples under the supervision of Professor Peter Shewry. Practical training and supervision will be carried out in the host laboratories with the option of attending specialist courses where appropriate.
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Successful applicants will have a good honours degree in a relevant discipline.