Graduate, PhD and Masters opportunities



PhD Studentship: Effect of the prebiotic Galacto-oligosaccharide on the weaning pig

​Closing Date: Friday, 29th September 2017


Research Title

Effect of the prebiotic Galacto-oligosaccharide on the microbiome of the weaning pig

Research Description

Prebiotics are non-digestible feed ingredients that can be metabolized by specific members of intestinal microbiota to provide health benefits for the host. Here we propose to study the effect of the Prebiotic GOS (Galacto-oligosaccharide) which we hypothesize will stabilize/enhance gut microbiota around the time of weaning and promote gut health. We will study the effect of GOS on performance, metagenomics profile, and recovery of GOS responsive bacteria.

Successful applicant will receive a Stipend of £14,296. University fees of £4,183 will also be covered.

Keyword Search: Pig, metagenomics, Galacto-oligosaccharide, prebiotic, microbiology

Award Start Date: 01/10/2017

Duration of Award: 36 months


Further Information and How to Apply


PhD Studentship: Identification of barriers to and facilitators for reducing phosphorus losses from UK dairy farms

Closing Date: 23rd OCTOBER 2017


Supervisors: Dr Partha Ray (University of Reading) Prof Chris Reynolds (University of Reading) Prof Liam Sinclair (Harper Adams University)

Project Description: "Phosphorus (P) is an important nutrient for plant and animal growth and has been heavily used in fertilizer and feed supplements to increase crop and animal production globally and in the UK to secure food supply for a growing population. In recent years P use in animal agriculture has been under scrutiny because diffuse P pollution from concentrated animal holdings has come to be considered one of the major contributors to water quality degradation and less diverse aquatic ecosystems (i.e. eutrophication). In the UK a trend for decreasing P fertilizer use with increasing inputs of manure P to soil indicated that a reduction in manure P output could certainly minimize P oversaturation in soil and subsequently P loss to watercourses. Since manure P and feed P supply in dairy cows are highly and positively correlated, reducing P overfeeding could reduce manure P input into soil. While it is obvious that there is room to reduce manure P loading to soil by reducing or optimizing feed P supply, the barriers to reducing P overfeeding are not known or not well documented. The ongoing change in UK dairy production practice i.e. increased P loading through greater imports of concentrate feed, or greater concentration of production per unit of land available, aggravates spatial imbalances in soil P status and creates challenges for the appropriate use of P-dense manure. This may lead to a situation in future where dairy farmers in ‘P vulnerable zones’ might be required to implement more stringent management practices on their farms, which may put them at a competitive disadvantage compared to farmers in other watersheds. The issue of on-farm P surplus and subsequently environmental P loading could be tackled by developing and implementing management strategies to improve P use efficiency on dairy farms. However, development of efficient management strategies is limited due to lack of data on P import onto and export from dairy farms, factors associated with on-farm P budget and on-farm P balance and soil P status. The current project aims to reduce P losses to the environment from UK dairy farms by 1) identifying barriers to reducing P overfeeding to dairy cows, 2) assessing on-farm P imbalances and associated P losses and 3) identifying management strategies to improve on-farm P balance.

Preferred skills: knowledge/experience of conducting surveys; experience of working in a farm or with farmers; knowledge/experience of statistical/mathematical system-level modelling; The student will be expected to do multiple tasks (e.g. preparing survey questionnaire, interviewing farmers, on-farm sampling, lab work, modelling, etc.) and to have the relative balance.

Funding Notes: AHDB (Dairy) PhD Studentship. Funding starts on 8th January, 2018 for 3 years. The studentship will provide PhD fees, a stipend of £14,296 per annum, and travel, meeting, and research costs of £5,000 per annum. Applications will be considered from only UK/EU candidates who hold (or expect to obtain) 2:1 or 1st Class Honours Degree or Master's in Animal Science/Dairy Science/Agriculture related subject.

For further details contact: Dr Partha Ray






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PhDs - Nottingham Trent University
Numerous fully-funded PhD studentship opportunities for 2017 available across a number of schools, including animal, rural and environmental sciences. Closing date for applications is Friday 9 December. For information on individual projects and how to apply, visit the NTU Doctoral School website or