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Opportunities

Funded PhD and postdoc projects

Funded PhD projects are posted on FindAPhD and funded research positions are posted on Jobs.ac.uk. Colin will link to these from his twitter feed @sheffieldplants, so follow for the latest…

Potential PhD and postdoc projects

We also welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students and postdocs, and will work with promising candidates to develop funding proposals for international PhD funding schemes, and post-doc programmes such as EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowships. If we have no funded positions available (see links above), you’ll need to have ideas about how we can fund your work.

We are a welcoming, international lab group, with current and past students from China, USA, Thailand, South Africa, India, Philippines, India and the UK.

Working with us, you can gain experience in a broad range of skills in plant and ecological sciences, working in the field or state-of-the-art controlled environment growth facilities, and with access to equipment for non-invasive measurements of photosynthesis and growth (gas exchange analysis, chlorophyll fluorescence, spectroscopy, growth phenotyping), and metabolite analyses (chromatography, mass spectrometry).

The Research pages on this site detail our general interests, but we would particularly like to develop projects in two areas:

1. Crop Domestication and Improvement

We are especially interested in how historical processes of selection have led to the range of crop phenotypes we see today, and how these have constrained the potential for future crop improvement.

Current research aims are: 1) To recognize the factors responsible for the ancient selection of crop plants from the pool of wild species; 2) To investigate how these crops evolved under cultivation to adapt to farmed environments; 3) To evaluate whether these selection processes have led to constraints in modern crop varieties that limit the potential for future improvement; and 4) To understand the ecology of crop wild relatives and develop strategies for conserving and exploiting their diversity.

The research encompasses aspects of plant sciences, ecophysiology, ecology, biogeography, conservation science and archaeobotany. We invite applications from candidates with interests in any of these research areas.

2. Plant Environmental Physiology

The C4 pathway is a fuel injection system for photosynthesis that increases the rate of leaf sugar production in hot climates. Our research investigates how C4 photosynthesis changed the biology of plants, and the ecological roles these Cspecies play in savanna ecosystems.

Current research aims are: 1) To understand how Cphotosynthesis influences plant growth, allocation, storage and survival; 2) To evaluate the mechanisms adopted by tropical Cspecies as low temperature adaptations, enabling them to colonize colder climates; 3) To determine the characteristics of Cgrasses that enable them to dominate ecosystems and reconstruct the evolutionary history of these plant traits; and 4) To understand how ecological processes and global environmental change influence tree recruitment into savanna grass communities.

If you are interested in any of these areas, and have ideas about how to fund your research in Sheffield, then email Colin Osborne.