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Engineering Biology in Cambridge

[Closes 20 May 2016] OpenPlant Studentships in plant synthetic biology now open to applications

Three fully-funded, four-year PhD studentships are available from the University of Cambridge in association with OpenPlant, a UK Synthetic Biology Research Centre creating open technologies for plant synthetic biology.

Synthetic Biology takes an engineering approach to reprogramming biological systems and while early efforts in the field have been directed at microbes, the engineering of plant systems provides even greater potential benefits. OpenPlant labs are therefore working on foundational technologies that will be made openly available as a toolbox for plant synthetic biology as well as applying these tools to trait engineering in many aspects of plant biology from metabolism to development.

Studentships will run alongside the University’s Doctoral Training Programme (DTP), which includes training in statistics and Systems biology (SysMIC), and two rotation projects in OpenPlant labs in the first year. The final three years will be spent in an OpenPlant lab working on a project related to plant synthetic biology. See below for some examples of potential projects.

The studentships will start in October 2016 and cover a stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14,057 per annum for 2015-2016), research costs and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for four years. UK and EEA students who meet the UK residency requirements are eligible.

For informal enquiries, please contact OpenPlant Coordinator Dr Jenny Molloy (

To apply

Please send the following as email attachments to

  1. A cover letter, outlining your interest in this research area and any relevant experience that you have in the field. Please explain what makes you suitable for this position.
  2. Your CV (maximum two pages).
  3. Two academic references.

Please include “OpenPlant Studentship” in the subject line.


Closing date for applications is 20 May 2016. Shortlisted candidates will be asked to go through the formal University application process, and interviews will take place in early June.