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Posted: 15 Mar 2023


Project description

The hydraulic behaviour of the root zone and the water uptake due to transpiration are controlled by coupled interactions between biotic (e.g. physiological and anatomical plant traits, root architecture, saphrophitic and symbiotic microbial communities) and abiotic factors (e.g. soil water chemistry, nutrients, soil water content and suction, solar radiation, air relative humidity).

Understanding the ‘geotechnical’ impact of these factors is key to envisage biotic and abiotic manipulation of the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum to mitigate landslide hazard. This PhD project can be developed along different lines all relevant to the development of nature-based mitigation measures for rainfall-induced shallow landslide hazard. We welcome inputs from different backgrounds including geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, and plant science. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

i)      Effect of temporary water stress conditions on transpiration-induced water uptake
ii)     Effect of soil bacterial community diversity on transpiration-and hydraulic behaviour of the root zone
iii)    Effect of mycorrhizal community diversity on transpiration-and hydraulic behaviour of the root zone
iv)    Effect of leaf anatomical traits on stomatal response and transpiration in the water-limited regime
v)     Effect of root architecture on stomatal response and transpiration in the water-limited regime
vi)    Effect of root exudates on the hydraulic behaviour of the root zone

English Language Skills
- Only English speakers (the UK Visas and Immigration list of English speaking countries) are exempt from taking an English language proficiency test.
- Applicants requiring an English language proficiency test must pass an IELTS test with a score of 6.5 at a UKVI approved SELTS Centre with a minimum 6.0 in all the skills.
- If your research project is in a language other than English, this criteria does not apply.

Classical Arabic Language Skills
- Students are expected to pass an Arabic proficiency test. The test is based on assessing reading proficiency with a text of classical Arabic.

Academic Criteria
- Applicants will normally be expected to have achieved at least three B grades at Advanced ‘A’-Level qualifications, or equivalent.
- Applicants who have completed A-Levels do not need to provide GCSE results.
- Mature applicants who already have a university degree are exempted from these requirements and are judged on the relevance of their qualification as well as their degree classification.
- Please note, acceptance will also depend on evidence of readiness to pursue a research degree
- Two references.

Additional Requirements
- UK citizenship or permanent resident status.
- A minimum age of 18 years at the point of enrolment.

A stipend of £2100.00 per month for the length of the project will be paid to successful applicants.

Funding is subject to eligibility status and confirmation of award.

- All candidates should submit a full CV and covering letter to with the name of the project in the email subject by the deadline. The application form at the bottom of this page should also be submitted.
- A Selection Panel will be established to review all applications and to conduct interviews of short-listed candidates.
- Candidates will be invited to give a short presentation prior to their formal interview, as part of the final selection process. It is expected that the shortlisting selection process will be held in week commencing 4th April 2022, with interviews to follow.
- The initial closing date for applications is Friday 1st April 2022. The positions will however remain available until all scholarships are awarded.
- For questions about eligibility and the application process please direct your questions to with the name of the project in the email subject.

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Applicant Details
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