Enhancing crop growth consistency in vertical farms


Applications are invited to a NRPDTP-funded CASE studentship in the laboratories of Antony Dodd and Steven Penfield at the John Innes Centre, in collaboration with vertical agriculture R&D company LettUs Grow. The project aim is to use fundamental science to increase the consistency and uniformity of crop production in vertical farms. Vertical farms use stacked indoor systems, often in urban areas and using artificial lights and climate control, to produce food in a sustainable and land use efficient manner.

The project will combine fundamental research into plant circadian rhythms, seasonal responses and seed biology at the John Innes Centre with experimentation in the experimental vertical farm environment at LettUs Grow. The project has the long-term goal of providing benefits to the vertical farming business whilst making new discoveries and the frontiers of knowledge of plant environmental adaptation.

The project will provide training in fundamental plant sciences research with Arabidopsis and a variety of standard molecular biology approaches for investigating plant responses to the environment. Training will also be provided in specialized methods for investigation of circadian rhythms (e.g. collection and mathematical analysis of circadian timecourse data), data synthesis and the preparation and publication of high quality research papers. A student placement at LettUs Grow in Bristol will form the foundation for ongoing collaboration with the company throughout your PhD.