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Postgraduate study

Postgraduate study
Our PhD students are registered at universities throughout the UK

With more than 500 staff and 116 registered PhD students, the James Hutton Institute is one of the biggest research centres in the UK and the first of its type in Europe.

Our thriving Postgraduate School is testament to our commitment to providing the highest standard of training opportunities to UK and international students. Undertaking postgraduate studies at the James Hutton Institute provides students with valuable experience of working in a professional environment.

Studying for a PhD at the James Hutton Institute

James Hutton Institute Postgraduate School leafletOur Postgraduate Student Liaison Team and your PhD supervisors will ensure you receive support and mentoring throughout your studies to enable you to achieve your full potential. Your studies will enable you to enter the employment market with a comprehensive range of scientific, as well as transferable, skills demanded by a highly competitive employment market.

Our annual Student Competition provides a valuable opportunity and learning experience for you to communicate your work to the wider scientific community. The winners of the oral competition represent the Institute at the annual SEFARI Postgraduate Student Competition.

You can view a list of our current PhD students (PDF, 162 KB) as well as a list of students who have recently passed their viva examinations (PDF, 112 KB).

Joint PhD Studentship opportunities

Opportunities for PhD projects from the James Hutton Institute's annual competitive joint studentship and EASTBIO DTP 3 programme are now being advertised on

All advertised PhD projects are funded jointly between the Institute and participating universities and opportunities are offered from all our Science Groups covering many aspects of our work.

At the James Hutton Institute, we value the important contribution students make to the development of our scientific excellence and the expertise, talent and knowledge graduates bring to our research community. The Institute provides a research environment where technical and intellectual competency can flourish.

The support and mentoring PhD students receive throughout their studies from their Institute supervisors and our Postgraduate Student Liaison Team ensure students achieve a high degree of intellectual freedom, whilst equipping students with the comprehensive range of scientific and transferable skills demanded of today's scientists.

Externally funded PhD Opportunities

Cell and Molecular Sciences PhD Projects

  • A Grain of Salt, University of Dundee
  • EASTBIO: Functional Analysis of RXLR Effectors in P. rubi and P. fragariae, University of Dundee
  • EASTBIO: Investigating the Underlying Molecular and Cell Biology of Emerging Disease Threats to Trees, University of Dundee

Environmental and Biochemical Sciences PhD Projects

  • Factors Influencing the Dissemination of Antimicrobial Resistance in the Environment, Edinburgh Napier University
  • EASTBIO: Defining the Genetic Basis of Barley Metabolite Content to Improve Crop Quality and Resilience in an Uncertain Environment, University of Dundee
  • EASTBIO: Effect of Nematode and Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis
  • Infections on the Ovine Intestinal Microbiome, University of Edinburgh

Ecological Sciences PhD Projects

  • Can Increased Plant Diversity Restore Soil-Associated Ecosystem Services in Agroecosystems Experiencing Variable Rainfall Patterns?, Lancaster University
  • Developing Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) to Discern the Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts of Conventional and Sustainable Crop Rotations Across the Value-Chain, University of Coventry
  • The Microbial Black Box of Soil – Does What’s Inside Matter?, University of Edinburgh
  • POSITIVE - Evaluating Plant POlyphenol Effects on SoIl FuncTional DIVErsity, Abertay University
  • Utilisation of Single and Multiple Species Cover Crops for the Suppression of Soil Borne Nematodes of Narcissus, Harper Adams University

Information and Computational Sciences PhD Projects

  • Accurate Analysis of Nanopore Sequence Data to Drive Crop Improvement, University of York
  • Applications of Machine Learning to Precision Management of Potato Cyst Nematode, University of Cambridge

Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences PhD Projects

  • Island Migration and the National Islands Plan, University of Aberdeen
  • The Housing ‘Trilemma’: The Practice of Precarity in Rural Scotland, University of St Andrews

BioSS PhD Projects

  • EASTBIO: How to Achieve Pesticide-Free Aphid Control – By Doing the Maths, University of St Andrews

Full details of the projects offered can be viewed on

Application forms can be obtained by emailing

Closing date for applications is 6th January 2021.


Areas of Interest

Printed from /research/postgraduate on 04/03/24 11:44:55 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.