About this project
Applications are invited for a PhD project on metasurfaces for optimised food growth and lower energy consumption in greenhouses. This project is part of a PhD cluster on Sustainable Terrestrial and Maritime Food Systems: Environmental Technologies and their Implications. This particular PhD focusses on: (1) exploring the use of nanophotonic metasurfaces to tailor transmission of solar spectrum for optimum plant growth, while rejecting unwanted spectral bands, and (2) exploring means of passively adjusting the transmission spectrum of metasurfaces in the near-IR to control greenhouse internal temperature.
By isolating the crops from external factors, closed greenhouses represent a cornerstone in food safety, yielding the highest production per land area and greatly reduced water resources, along with greatly lowered risks from pests and diseases, resulting in higher quality products. However, inside such closed structures, light outside of the photosynthetically active radiation (plants’ absorption spectrum) either leads to plant damage and impact key pollinators (near-UV) or represents a major source of heat input (near-IR), which results in the largest energy consumption for greenhouses around temperature control. In this project, the successful candidate will design and develop metasurfaces that can dynamically control the light spectrum inside the greenhouse, without electricity. Those metasurfaces will simultaneously optimise the visible transmission for photosynthetic activity, therefore plant growth, while allowing for passive thermal management inside the greenhouse by dynamically controlling the transmission of the near-IR component, therefore greatly lowering energy consumption linked to food production.
The successful candidate will be based on the University of Hull campus and will be provided with physical workspace and the specific equipment and resources needed for their research. The successful student will benefit from joining a collaborative, multidisciplinary and nurturing environment, and will be provided with excellent opportunities for external networking. We will hold regular meetings with the entire cluster, with opportunities to present and discuss research, invite internal and external speakers and collaborators and foster networking.
For informal inquiries, please contact Dr Jean-Sebastien Bouillard or Dr Ali Adawi.
Join us at a free webinar at 6 pm on Thursday 1 December for more information about the funded projects available through this cluster. You will be able to hear from PhD supervisors and ask questions about the programme.
About the research cluster
Sustainable terrestrial and maritime food systems: environmental technologies and their implications
This PhD project is part of a cluster of inter-related, inter-disciplinary projects, which between them focus on the implications of environmental technologies for the practices of people involved in primary food production on both land and sea. Our food and energy production systems contribute significantly to environmental problems, including climate change, and technological solutions are often proposed as ways of reducing their carbon footprints. Yet these can be challenging to implement and can have unanticipated effects on the practices of those engaged in farming and fishing. This cluster of projects involves a combination of scientific projects aiming to develop and test different environmental technologies, and social science projects aiming to look at the effects on the practices of primary food producers as society aims for a low carbon world. Specifically, the cluster will: 1. advance the development of two technologies for use in terrestrial food production and examine the implications of these for farmers, and 2. examine the effects on the small-scale fishing industry of high energy prices and large scale offshore wind deployment.
As part of a PhD cluster, in addition to becoming an expert in your own area you will join a collaborative, multidisciplinary and nurturing environment with other researchers around a common theme. You will be part of regular cluster meetings where you can present and discuss your research, as well as engaging with the wider community of postgraduate researchers in the university. You will have opportunities to build relationships with external stakeholders, and you will be supported in development towards your future career – whether that be within or without academia.
How to apply
You will need to supply a personal statement when applying for this scholarship position. Find out more about writing a personal statement. Please also ensure you include the following information:
- What motivates you to pursue PhD study
- Why you are interested in this project
- How your skill set matches the requirements for your choice of project and/or any additional training you will need
- The wider significance of research in this area and potential future research directions for the project.
Apply for this scholarship Full time | Part time
Closing date for applications
10 February 2023
18 September 2023