2018 Postgraduate Studentships Competition Now Open For Applications

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has called on postgraduate students to play their part in research and development by entering the 2018 Postgraduate Studentships competition.

DAERA provides approximately £700,000 per annum to fund Postgraduate Studentships and is currently funding 36 PhD students to carry out specific research for the Department over a three year period, while working towards a PhD qualification.

DAERA will be offering 12 new PhD studentships. Applications must be submitted before 5pm on Friday 16 February 2018. Studentships are due to commence in October 2018.

DAERA’s Head of Food and Farming Group, Norman Fulton, met with Queen’s University final year PhD student Stephen Bell, who won the award for best poster display at the annual postgraduate seminar this year, highlighting his research into the sustainability of the local honey bee population.

Norman Fulton said: “Stephen is in his final year of the studentship award. His research is vitally important to the agri-food sector within Northern Ireland, as honey bees pollinate many of our crops. We are currently funding 36 PhD projects across a range of topics. The Department clearly recognises the vital role of science to inform policy development and stimulate innovation and our postgraduate programme is an important component of our total investment in research.”

Stephen, from Carnmoney, Newtownabbey, graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 2015, being awarded a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in Biological Sciences. He is currently carrying out his PhD in the School of Biological Sciences at QUB.

Stephen commented: “Honey bee colony loss is a major issue for all beekeepers, and many factors are contributing to this. My research involves examining potential threats and I am hopeful that it will contribute to the sustainability of the bee population in Northern Ireland. I want to thank DAERA for providing me with three years of funding to assist me with this study and towards gaining a PhD.”

Funding is provided in the form of a student maintenance grant, with fees and other costs paid directly to the student’s University or Research Centre. Applicants must meet eligibility criteria, including academic qualifications.

Research applications for the 2018 studentships must meet one of DAERA’s Postgraduate Studentship priority research areas for 2018. Details of these and currently funded projects, along with application forms and terms and conditions for the awards, are available DAERA’s website.