The project is ideal for a PhD student who enjoys problem-solving and interdisciplinary research involving analytical and physical chemistry, microscopy, modelling and data analysis.
|Scholarship Sponsor||University of Warwick|
|Scholarships level||PhD studentship|
|Fellowship Period||Four years|
|Study area||Physical, Mathematical and Life Sciences|
|Opening date||March 01, 2021|
|Closing date||August 31, 2021|
The project aims to understand the fundamental physical processes involved in the delivery (absorption and adsorption) of active ingredients (AIs) from tiny droplets. This process is central to the application of AIs that protect crops. Typically, agrochemicals are delivered to target crops through spraying applications. This leads to aqueous droplets containing the active ingredient (AI) and other formulation components on the crop’s surface. The AI needs to be absorbed by the plant surface to be biologically productive. However, once a droplet is on the plant surface, it can be subject to many physical and chemical processes, and the overall effect is challenging to understand and predict.
This project aims to visualise and track the concentrations of molecular species of interest (such as the AI) through electrochemical and optical (including confocal microscopy) monitoring after a droplet is applied. In particular, a key aim is to develop the methodology to track concentrations in situ in real spray-sized droplets, a unique capability that does not currently exist.
Using this methodology, the various related factors which affect these concentrations can be disentangled (including droplet composition and characteristics, evaporation of the solvent, uptake of the molecular species by the plant surface, and chemical (e.g. degradation) and physical (e.g. volatilisation) losses). A new fundamental understanding of the processes involved in delivery from droplets can be generated. Armed with this understanding, strategies can then be developed to steer the desired (uptake) pathways and minimise the undesired (losses) effects.
There will be a chance to learn many desirable scientific skills of broad applicability, embracing electrochemical methods, microscopy, instrumentation, surface chemistry, scientific programming and data visualisation, as well as critical transferable skills.
The project will be in the Warwick Electrochemistry and Interfaces Group (WEIG), which has outstanding facilities and a reputation for developing and using innovative (imaginative) techniques. The Warwick group has a longstanding relationship with Syngenta on developing innovative methods for understanding the efficacy and mode of action of delivery systems. This project will provide a platform that will address a fundamental general problem in agriscience (that also extends to the pharmaceutical area) and also provides an excellent opportunity for considerable advances in fundamental measurement science and surface/interfacial science.
The deadline for applications is August 31, 2021
This project is suitable for students with a background in the physical, mathematical and life sciences (Chemistry, Physics, Pharmacy, Maths, or Biology/Biochemistry). The successful applicants will have a minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area.
- Eligible applicants must have or be expected to gain a 1st or upper 2nd class undergraduate degree (or equivalent international qualification) in a relevant Science subject (e.g. Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Life Sciences, Pharmacy/Pharmaceutical Sciences)
- Maths A-Level (grade B or above) or equivalent training is desirable
To be eligible for a full award, an applicant must have:
- You must be settled in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of the course
- You must be ordinarily resident in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of the course
- You must also have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for the full three year period before the first day of the first academic year of the course; for example, if your time begins in October 2021, you must have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands from September 01, 2018, to August 31 2021
- The primary purpose for your residence in the UK and Islands must not have been to receive full-time education during any part of that three-year period
Note: It is not necessary to have had settled immigration status in the UK for the full three years. You only need to show that you have it on, at the latest, the first day of the first academic year of the course.
For further information regarding residence requirements, please see the regulations. These include additional information, for example, about British Overseas Territories Citizens, refugees, migrant workers, a residence for education and EEA nationals.
For the application process, please click here