O’Neill launches postgraduate research studentships

'Putting Education in the picture': Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill launches the DARD Postgraduate scheme for 2016. Pictured with the Minister is Stephanie Brooks from Dundonald, who is in the second year of her three year PhD at Queen's University Belfast. For more information on the scheme and how to apply go to www.dardni.gov.uk/articles/postgraduate-study. Photo Andrew Towe, Parkway Photography
'Putting Education in the picture': Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill launches the DARD Postgraduate scheme for 2016. Pictured with the Minister is Stephanie Brooks from Dundonald, who is in the second year of her three year PhD at Queen's University Belfast. For more information on the scheme and how to apply go to www.dardni.gov.uk/articles/postgraduate-study. Photo Andrew Towe, Parkway Photography
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Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has launched the Food and Agriculture Postgraduate Studentships Competition for 2016.

The Scheme funds graduates to carry out specific research for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), while working towards a PhD qualification. Applications must be submitted before 5pm on Tuesday 16 February 2016.

The Minister said: “Within my Department, we value the Postgraduate Studentship scheme both as an important mechanism for obtaining good evidence and stimulating innovation, essential for long term growth, but also to strengthen the scientific expertise available to the wider agri-food sector.

“My Department’s support for the scheme demonstrates our ongoing commitment of investment in the agri-food science base. We currently fund 29 PhD students who are carrying out three-year research projects and will offer up to 12 further research awards that will commence in October 2016.”

Stephanie Brooks, from Dundonald, is currently in the second year of her DARD funded PhD at Queen’s University Belfast. Her research explores the competitiveness and resilience of the beef supply chain in the north.

Stephanie said: “I believe there are risks, but also opportunities within the beef supply chain and my research will identify these, helping to ensure the industry remains resilient and competitive. Postgraduate research is very hard work and I want to thank DARD for providing me with three years of funding to assist me with this study and to gaining a PhD. I would strongly recommend anyone interested in specialising in agriculture and food research to apply for one of these awards.”

Research applications for the 2016 Studentships must meet one of DARD’s Postgraduate Studentship Priority Research Areas for 2016. Details of these and currently funded projects, along with application forms and terms and conditions for the Postgraduate Agricultural and Food Studentships 2016, are available from the website: http://www.dardni.gov.uk/articles/postgraduate-study or by email to: postgraduate@dardni.gov.uk