PhDs available

Graduate Student Research Assistantship – PhD

Catchment Hydrology and Stormwater Management

Vermont EPSCoR Program, University of Vermont

A multi-year Graduate Research Assistantship position is available at the University of Vermont as part of a research study on Resilience to Extreme Events in Social Ecological Systems of the Lake Champlain Basin. We are seeking a student interested in pursuing PhD level research in the areas of catchment hydrology and stormwater management in the context of climate change impacts. Research will involve modeling (including programming) and field work components. Candidates should enjoy being part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers (i.e., faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and stakeholders) working toward identifying strategies that improve water quality resilience within the Basin. Additional information may be found at:

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All about Trenching

Free. All welcome. This meeting should be of interest to all Harper students studying soil and water, in particular drainage.

Monday 20 th February. “Engineering Solutions for Trenching”

Speakers: Christopher Pett, Mastenbroek Ltd

As well as discussing Mastenbroek trenching technology, Mr Pett will also touch on how they interface with precision agriculture.

The meeting will be held in the Douglas Bomford Lecture Theatre, Agricultural Engineering Innovation Centre, Harper Adams University.
Tea and coffee will be available from 7:00pm with the technical meeting starting at 7:30pm.

“There’s something about a country called…Indonesia”

January 2017, Drs Simon Jeffery and Lucy Crockford of the Soil and Water Management Centre (SWMC) at Harper Adams University visited Indonesia to address a conference on sustainable agriculture in Yogyakarta and to network with interested universities across the island of Java. Simon and Lucy were accompanied by Prof Mike Theodorou and Dr Trisha Toop for the first week, who represented the Agricultural Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems (ACSES), providing a broad range of research interests from the university.


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Various funded PhDs and MRes positions available

PhD Project Title:  Identification and modelling of microplastic transport pathways from land through river systems
Brief Description:  Given the increasing concern regarding knowledge gaps concerning microplastic pollution, there is a need for a systematic approach to understand the movement of microplastics.  This project aims to determine factors critical for pathway attenuation such that these can be linked to foodweb transfer in a manner to  provide recommendations for monitoring of microplastics in freshwater environments.

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Job: BirdWatch Ireland

BirdWatch Ireland is hiring a part-time and temporary Policy Officer to advocate for birds, their habitats and other biodiversity.


The job specification and application form is available here. Deadline for receipt of application form and cover letter is 5 pm December 7th 2016.


BirdWatch Ireland is a science-based conservation organisation with 15,000 members and 30 branches nationwide.




Oonagh Duggan

Acting Head of Policy, Communications and People Engagement

BirdWatch Ireland

PhD opportunity: Biodiversity enhancement and the provisioning of ecosystem services through improved ecological connectivity

Applications are invited for a 4 year PhD position at the Centre for Environmental Research Innovation and Sustainability (CERIS) at The Institute of Technology Sligo. This is an exciting opportunity to work on the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine funded project – FARM ECOS (Farming and Natural Resources: Measures of Ecological Sustainability). The project is led by Teagasc and includes NUI Galway, Institute of Technology Sligo, Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University as collaborators. The overall aim of the project is to identify and outline the evidence base for novel, cost-effective measures to protect and enhance farmland biodiversity through increased habitat quantity, enhanced habitat quality and improved ecological connectivity, from the farm to landscape scale.

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PhD Position: Assessing ecosystem health and delivery of selected ecosystem services of farm habitats using novel bioindicators

nuig-logo                                                       applied-ecology-unit-logo


Applications are invited for a four-year PhD by research at the Applied Ecology Unit, School of Natural Sciences, National University of Ireland Galway. The position which is funded by the Department of Agriculture Food and Marine is part of the Farming and Natural Resources: Measures of Ecological Sustainability (FARM-ECOS) project which is lead by Teagasc and includes NUI Galway, Institute of Technology Sligo, Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University as collaborators. The aim of this project is to identify and outline the evidence base for novel, cost-effective measures to protect and enhance farmland biodiversity.

This PhD studentship will focus on Task 4 of the project, the primary aim of which is to evaluate the biodiversity value and ecosystem health of linear farm habitats using Diptera indicators with specific reference to the families Sciomyzidae and Syrphidae The study will also involve a combination of literature and data reviews in addition to field experiments.

Salary: €18,000 per annum and EU postgraduate fees will also be funded.


Expected start date: January 2017



  • Applicants should hold a 1stor upper 2nd class honours undergraduate or Masters degree in Ecology, Environmental Science, Zoology, Entomology, Conservation or allied discipline
  • A full, clean driver’s licence
  • Interest and / or experience in invertebrate taxonomy and ecology
  • Strong desire to contribute to research leading to the enhancement of farmland biodiversity
  • Excellent organisational, report writing and IT skills
  • Working knowledge of statistics
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to work on own initiative and as part of a team


To Apply:

Applications should be submitted to Professor Mike Gormally (


For your application, please submit a short cover letter (two pages max.) indicating your research interests; why you wish to apply for the position; and what contribution you could make to the project. You are also required to submit a full CV which should include the names and contact details of two academic / scientific referees, preferably one of which has acted as your project supervisor.


Closing date for applications: Review of applications will commence on November 30th and continue until the position is filled.


For informal enquiries, contact

Cereal cropping, a serial water polluter?

Soil and nutrient losses from farmland through surface runoff can be increased due to simple farming practices such as ploughing, sowing and harvesting – particularly if there is low groundcover as often found in crop production systems. Nutrient loss through leaching may also occur in periods of low plant nutrient uptake such as through the winter, at the end of flowering and immediately after sowing.

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How often should you sample for Soil Available N?


This is a summary taken from a report by Knight (2006)

Obtaining a reliable estimate of the Soil Nitrogen Supply (SNS) can be an important step in optimising nitrogen fertiliser doses, or quantifying potential losses to the environment. Where high or uncertain amounts of soil nitrogen are present, direct measurement of available Soil Mineral Nitrogen (SMN), as nitrate or ammonium, has been advised in preference to predictions based on previous crop, rainfall and soil type. However, a lack of confidence in test results, due to variation in the values indicated by analyses performed at different laboratories, and failure to meet expectations as to their accuracy as predictors of optimum nitrogen fertiliser dose, mean that this potentially useful tool could be underused. The aim of this review was to examine how SMN analysis has evolved since its development, to identify possible causes of error and variation, and to re-define how best to utilise the technique.

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