Post-doctoral researcher to link spatial ecology of potato diseases with spectral imaging, Dundee, UK


James Hutton Institute - Ecological Sciences Group


Post-doctoral researcher to link spatial ecology of potato diseases with spectral imaging

Salary circa £30,000 per annum

This 3 year post-doctoral position is part of an academic-industry collaboration (InnovateUK funded) to assess the utility of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) with optical payloads to detect early onset of root and foliar diseases of potato. We seek to develop an UAV based tool that could be used by agronomists and in precision agriculture as part of the on-farm decision making process for disease management. Within the project, the Institute is responsible for establishing and maintaining controlled trials for the targeted potato diseases and providing relevant disease diagnostic expertise. The industrial partners will provide the optical platform(s) for imaging; expertise in agronomy and IP protection.

Desired skills and experience

The postholder will manage delivery of the Institute’s contribution to the overall project interacting closely with all consortium partners. The key component is to work with the imaging partner to both calibrate and ground-truth image analysis of potato diseases. This will involve field or glasshouse experimental treatments to test the robustness of imaging (multispectral infra-red) methodologies on potato plants inoculated with a range of diseases including blackleg, late blight and black dot. We will also assess the potential for the imaging technology to detect more subtle plant differences caused by viruses responsible for potato spraing. The post-holder requires a demonstrable track record in a range of skills including day to day management of collaborative research projects, designing and managing experimental trials, epidemiology of potato disease, molecular diagnostics, statistical analysis, effective communication including report writing and oral presentations and the ability to collaborate with Institute staff and consortium partners. This post will be based in Dundee with a requirement to travel to experimental sites throughout the UK.