Plant Health Studentship scheme supported by N8 AgriFood hailed a success following third year

A summer training scheme co-funded by N8 AgriFood supported nine studentships last year with £27,000 allocated to projects addressing the UK Government’s priorities in plant health.

N8 AgriFood was one of four organisations to fund placements in the 2019 Plant Health Undergraduate Studentship programme, run by the UK Plant Sciences Federation (UKPSF); a special advisory committee of the Royal Society of Biology (RSB).

In its second year supporting the programme, N8 AgriFood joined Defra, the British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP), and the David Colegrave Foundation in funding a total of nine placements which provided 10-week summer research projects for undergraduates, in line with priorities in plant health identified by Defra. 

In what was its first third year, the Plant Health Undergraduate Studentship programme aimed to address skills and capacity challenges in plant health science, provide training opportunities, generate plant health research outcomes and build networks of research groups, scientists and employers. 

The 2019 programme received a total of 198 applications for the nine studentships, with the resulting projects each received £30,000 in funding to cover a series of topics, including detection or control, data and modelling, trade, host plants and earth observations, high-risk pests or pathogens, knowledge exchange, and oak health.

Funding from N8 AgriFood was provided by the University of Manchester to support one of the nine studentships, which focussed on a project investigating “below ground controls of oak-decline”. Other projects were hosted at institutions across the UK, including the University of York, also a member of N8 AgriFood, which investigated “development of combination phage therapy against Ralstonia solanacearum plant pathogenic bacterium”. 

Click HERE to read the UK Plant Sciences Federation’s full report of the 2019 Plant Health Undergraduate Studentship programme.