Does fertilizer placement play a key role in crop establishment?

Lead Supervisor: Sacha Mooney

Polyhalite is the first new mineral fertilizers for crop production in 75 years. It provides a fundamentally different approach because it nourishes crops while enhancing soils. Further, it meets key criteria of climate-smart crop nutrition. For example, in addition to improving crop productivity, it has an ultra-low carbon footprint, no chemical processing, zero water footprint, zero waste, and certification for organic agriculture.  Unlocking the full potential of such a promising mineral is an urgent research priority. Preliminary work has shown positive agronomic responses to this fertilizer, although the magnitude of the response can be variable. A key unanswered questions is does the placement of polyhalite in the soil affect the nutrient uptake to the crop plant, therefore offering potential to optimize nutrient delivery and performance in the field.  

In this project the student will seek to develop a comprehensive understanding of how polyhalite interacts with soil environment to deliver nutrients to the crop plant. 

 The studentship will be based within the group at the University of Nottingham’s world-leading Hounsfield Facility at Sutton Bonington and involve collaboration with scientists at Anglo-American and will also provide a fully funded placement of three months at their facilities. . The student will undertake a range of field and laboratory-based experiments where full training (as a beginner) will be provided opportunities to gain key skills across a wide range of interdisciplinary areas including in soil physics/mechanics, X-ray CT imaging, laser ablation tomography and plant-soil interactions. The student will also be able to access the generic training courses offered by University of Nottingham's Researcher Academy.  

Check your eligibility and apply here

 Funding details:

  • This opportunity is open to both Home and International students. Funding is available for four years from October 2024.
  • The award covers tuition fees at the home rate (currently £4712) plus an annual stipend (currently £18,622 for 2023/2024). This is set by the Research Councils. 

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Doctoral Training Programme

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 8466946