BARIToNE Collaborative Training Partnership

BARIToNE is a £3.6m BBSRC and industry-funded six-year Collaborative Training Partnership led by the Scotch Whisky Research Institute and supported by the James Hutton Institute and the universities of Dundee and Nottingham.

BARIToNE: Barley Industrial Training Network is a £3.6m BBSRC and industry-funded six-year Collaborative Training Partnership (CTP) providing support for 30 PhD researchers and led by the Scotch Whisky Research Institute. It focuses on the medium-long term challenge of maintaining a sustainable supply of local high-quality barley, produced using fewer inputs and having fewer environmental impacts. It will provide state of the art research training through close academic associations with the International Barley Hub (IBH) and innovation through industry-relevant research. It is focused on research excellence as a vehicle to ensure the long-term sustainability of barley supply and value chains.

The BARIToNE CTP brings together academic and commercial partners to offer high-quality collaborative research projects across all areas of the barley supply chain. All participants have a strong desire for their products to be carbon neutral and are keen to support initiatives that reduce environmental impacts across all sectors of the supply and value chain.

The principal focus of this industry-led collaborative training partnership is therefore on driving down the environmental footprint of primary production while maintaining a sustainable supply of high-quality barley.

How to apply – applications open for September 2022 entry

We have one remaining place on our programme available for September 2022 entry; this place is available to Home applicants only.

This project, Towards climate-Positive baRley: developing mOdel-based approaches to idenTify pathways and EvidenCe benefiTs (PROTECT), is offered in collaboration with the University of Abertay, James Hutton Institute and Glenmorangie. Full project details can be found on FindaPhD.

All applications are managed centrally by the BARIToNE Executive Group using an online form found in the link below. Please do not apply to participating institutions directly.

You can view a pdf copy of the application form here: BARIToNE Application Form. We recommend that you type up your answers in a separate document e.g. Microsoft Word or Google Docs; this will allow you to check spelling and correct errors before entering the text into the form.

We encourage potential applicants to provide as much information as possible to support their application (taking note of any word limits that apply).  This enables potential supervisors and BARIToNE Executive Group members to assess your application to its full potential.  Applications with poorly completed details are unlikely to be taken forward.

Following shortlisting and interviews, successful applicants will be asked to submit a formal application to the relevant University where they will be registered.


Closing date: 19th August 2022

Scientific pillars

Research projects are grouped into three overlapping scientific pillars addressing aspects of sustainable and resilient crop production:

Climate change is the biggest challenge facing humanity today and already impacts agricultural production and crop quality. However, as well as having to respond to climate change, agriculture can play a key role in tackling it. Projects offered in this theme are designed to address pressing environmental issues affecting crop production and quality (e.g. early-season droughts, lodging, high temperature during flowering, rain at harvest). Using innovative approaches, projects will explore sensitivity to these and a range of other climate-related issues with a view to developing genetic or agronomic strategies and solutions to minimise climate-induced loss and contribute positively to the climate emergency.

Current UK cereals agriculture is largely founded upon the development of crop varieties that perform well (yield) under unsustainably high inputs. As a result, fertiliser production and field emissions from fertiliser comprise over 75% of the arable agriculture carbon budget. Projects offered in this theme will look to develop germplasm that requires fewer inputs (e.g. using genotypes that are adapted to low/no input conditions) alongside biological (e.g. green digestate) and technical approaches that improve land management and capture nitrogen and carbon.

Weeds, pests and diseases have the potential to decimate barley production if left unchecked, a particular issue when critical active agrochemical ingredients are being withdrawn from the marketplace and reduced tillage becomes more prevalent. Using fundamental and applied research, projects will explore and improve weed (e.g. improving early vigour, optimising plant architecture, no glyphosate), pest and pathogen management by providing effective resistance against key current (e.g. Rhynchosporium / Ramularia / BYDV) and potential emerging barley pathogens.

The interaction between plants and the soil in which they grow is critical for productive agriculture. Soil organic carbon (organic matter) holds soil particles together, enhances water retention and reduces erosion, impacts nitrogen leaching, and helps maintain the critical microbial biodiversity that facilitates nutrient mobilisation from soil into crops, improving growth and yields. It is an important environmental sink for fixed CO2. In addition, the rhizospheres microbially driven nitrogen cycle fundamentally controls nitrification and denitrification of ammonium- or urea-containing fertilizers and therefore controls release of nitrogen in soil that is used by crops to increase yield and protein. However, the production of nitrogen fertiliser is energy-intensive and poor nitrogen recovery can promote a range of issues ranging from eutrophication of waterways to increased greenhouse gas emissions and affect the balance of soil microflora. Soil processes controlled in the rhizosphere also impact the availability of macro- or micro-nutrient deficiency or toxicity and can impact growth and lead to poor yields and product quality (e.g. Mn deficiency). Critically, different plants and even different genotypes can uniquely respond to different soil properties, controlling processes in the rhizosphere. Using novel and innovative approaches (e.g. environmental genetic association studies), projects offered in this theme will research the interaction between barley genotypes and the rhizosphere in order to improve soil health and thus sustainable crop production with a focus on promoting carbon sequestration and priming of the microbial biomass to impact the cycle of N and other nutrients.

Key elements of the programme

  • Collaborative PhD projects in laboratories run by internationally renowned scientists and industrial partners
  • Comprehensive skills training across the entire barley supply and value chain
  • Planned cohort activities every year (e.g. Annual barley ‘away days’, industry visits etc.)
  • At least one 6-month placement with the industrial partner
  • Journal and coding clubs

Please see below for more details on what we offer, eligibility and how to apply.

Annual stipend at the UKRI rate (currently £15,609)

  • We offer an enhanced stipend for students with primary care responsibilities, to find out more please contact

Tuition fees at the Home rate

Research Training and Support Grant (RTSG) of £5000 per annum awarded to your host institution/lab to support your project

Travel allowance of £230 per annum

Additional funding via Industry Partner contributions to support the CTP as a whole, including cohort building, networking and training activities.

Applications are welcome from Home students. To be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

More details on UKRI eligibility criteria can be found in the Training Grant T&C’s here. Applicants are expected to hold (or be about to achieve) at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or demonstrable equivalent experience) in a relevant subject (e.g. Biology, Genetics, Plant Sciences, Ecology, Soil Science, Computer Sciences etc.).

We particularly encourage students from groups that are currently underrepresented in postgraduate science research, including black and minority ethnic (BME) students and those from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. We are committed to being part of an evolving community of practitioners who will develop and share practice to bring science and culture together, placing both firmly at the heart of what we do.

If you are awarded a studentship and you have told us you have a certain status and then cannot provide documentation to prove your status, your studentship may be withdrawn.

Associated academics

Will AllwoodLC-MS technologist and senior research scientist, Environmental and Biochemical Sciences; Deputy head of Plant Biochemistry and Food Quality Group. Will is a biochemist and metabolomics lead researcher, specializing in the analysis of cereal and fruit crops. His current research is focused upon the understanding of nitrogen resource use efficiency (NUE), with the aim of breeding barley lines suited to low nitrogen inputs (IN-U-Bar, in collaboration with Dr Tim George and Dr Rob Hancock, Hutton); the application of metabolomics in metabolic QTL studies to identify biochemical targets to aid crop improvement breeding programs (in collaboration with Dr Kelly Houston, Hutton); and the improvement of fruit and cereal nutritional value, as well as the reproducibility of product quality across different growth environments, seasons, processing and storage routines.

Will would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project based on understanding and optimizing yields and quality under reduced inputs or under future climate/management/process/storage routines applying metabolomic and biochemical phenotyping approaches (Themes; Reducing Inputs/Climate Resilience)

Contact:; tel: 0844 928 8745

Morris AtlmanMorris Altman is the Dean of the University of Dundee School of Business and Chair Professor of Behavioral and Institutional Economics and Co-operatives. He collaborates with industry worldwide on issues of co-operative ownership in agriculture, the caring sector and Aboriginal (First Nation) economic development. His research also relates to how co-operative organizational structures can facilitate economic success in the SME sector by achieving scale in many dimensions, allowing for the SMEs to mimic the scale of the traditionally organized larger firms in society. This approach is vitally important to develop a more competitive and vibrant SME sector. He has also published on sustainable greener economies within dynamic market economies. Here his research relates to how firms can remain competitive within the framework of a more environmentally business model. Morris has published well over 120 refereed papers and given over 200 international academic and has published 18 books in economic theory, co-operatives, ethics, and public policy.


Martin BalcerowiczDr Martin Balcerowicz, Royal Society University Research Fellow and Independent Investigator, The University of Dundee

Martin is a plant molecular biologist interested in how plant growth and development are affected by ambient temperature. In particular, he researches how warm temperature affects transcriptional and translational processes in plants, and how temperature information is integrated into internal signalling networks to generate appropriate developmental and physiological responses.

Martin would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project based on, for example, the molecular responses of barley plants to warm temperature and on genetic tools to mitigate negative effects heat has on plant growth and grain production (Theme: Climate Resilience).


Dr Micha Bayer: Bioinformatics Specialist, International Barley Hub (IBH): Micha is a bioinformatics specialist with a focus on second and third generation sequence analysis and 14 years of experience in barley genomics, variomics and transcriptomics. He was part of the consortia for the barley genome projects in 2012 and 2017 and is a co-author on several high-impact publications revolving around the analysis of genetic variation in barley. He was also the lead bioinformatician for the last two barley genotyping platforms, the Illumina iSelect 9k and 50k genotyping chips. He has also been involved in the two barley reference transcriptome projects, leading to high-quality barley reference transcript datasets (BART1 and BART2).

Micha has been involved in a number of projects involving the identification of resistance genes and would be keen to engage with industry partners to set up a CTP studentship in this area, or any other area involving barley genomics/variomics.


Jorunn BosDr. Jorunn Bos, Senior Lecturer/Principal Investigator, The University of Dundee and The James Hutton Institute.

Jorunn is a molecular plant pathologist with a research interest in understanding the molecular dialogue between plants and insect pests. Her group explores how insects, such as aphids, modify host susceptibility with the aim to improve crop protection strategies. Research involves model plants, such as Arabidopsis, as well as (cereal) crops, including barley.

Jorunn would be interested in exploring the possibilities to work with commercial stakeholders within the CTP PhD programme to look at, for example, plant resistance/susceptibility to insects and virus transmission. Themes: Reducing Inputs/Climate resilience.


Rob BrookerProf Rob Brooker: Head of Ecological Sciences, James Hutton Institute

Rob is a plant ecologist and has studied plant interactions – particularly beneficial plant-plant interactions – for over 25 years. His recent research has focused on the role of beneficial interactions in delivering sustainable crop production through management approaches such as intercropping. In particular, he is interested in the mechanisms underlying and governing the benefits of intercropping, and how we can use knowledge of these mechanisms to further integrate biodiversity into crop production.

Rob would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project based on managing and promoting crop system biodiversity (in the widest sense) to deliver more sustainable and resilient crop production systems.

Contact:; tel: 01224 395 176

Davide BulgarelliDr Davide Bulgarelli: Senior Lecturer and Principal Investigator, The University of Dundee

Davide is an experimental scientist interested in deciphering the molecular interactions between plants and the microbial communities thriving at the root-soil interface, collectively referred to as the rhizosphere microbiome. Similar to the microbiome defined by the digestive tract of humans, the rhizosphere microbiome can positively impact on the nutritional status, growth and health of its host plants.

Davide would be therefore keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project focusing, for example, on evaluating and exploiting the capacity of the rhizosphere microbiome to sustain barely yields in low input scenarios (Themes; Reducing Inputs/Healthy soils).

Contact: e-mail:; tel: 01382 568934

Dr Isabelle Colas: Research Investigator, The James Hutton Institute

Isabelle is a plant molecular biologist specialized in 3D cytology and microscopy. Her main interest is the understanding or meiosis and recombination in large genome crops. Her recent research includes characterization of a number of meiotic genes and how they control barley recombination. One breakthrough of her lab is the discovery of a new grass specific gene called HvST1 which absence increases recombination in barley by 50%.

Isabelle would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project based on, for example, exploiting HvST1 in a pre-breeding program.

Contact: e-mail:; tel: 01382 568962

David CookProf David Cook: AB InBev Professor in Brewing Science, The University of Nottingham.

David is a Food Chemist with more than 20 years of experience conducting research and teaching relating to brewing, analytical food chemistry and flavour technology. Current research activity focuses on malting science and technology, beer flavour formation and stability and the reduction of water and energy usage in malting and brewing. Sustainable bioprocessing of raw materials and co-products is a further interest of the group.

David would be keen to collaborate on CTP projects where there is a need to appraise the impacts of the various strategies employed to improve the sustainability of UK barley on the quality of barley for malting, brewing or distilling.

Contact:; tel: 0115 9516245

Henry CreissenDr Henry Creissen: Research Fellow/Lecturer in Crop Protection, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Edinburgh

Henry is an Applied Plant Pathologist and integrated pest management (IPM) expert with over a decade of research experience in various farming systems. His current research focuses on developing effective integrated disease management strategies for arable crops, improving IPM approaches to arable farming, increasing farmer adoption of best practice, and quantifying adoption of IPM practices at farm level through stakeholder engagement and farmer surveys. Although he specialises in disease management Henry has a wide-ranging knowledge of crop protection practices and is a member of the British Crop Production Council Weeds Working Group. Henry represents SRUC in an advisory capacity for the Voluntary Initiative, an industry-led programme with many members (inc. Chemical Regulation Division and Scottish Government) promoting responsible pesticide use through IPM.

Henry would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project on developing integrated pest management (IPM) to increase crop production efficiencies and reduce reliance on pesticides. (Themes; Sustainable Crop Production/Reducing Inputs)

Contact:; phone: +44 131 535 4119

Mark CutlerProf. Mark Cutler: Chair of Physical Geography, The University of Dundee

Mark is a remote sensing specialist and biogeographer and has worked on the fundamental relationships between reflected radiation and plant physiology and morphology for over 25 years. Recent work includes detecting signatures and responses of plant stress associated with hydrocarbon pollution using hyperspectral and fluorescence sensors.

Mark would be keen to work with stakeholders to develop PhD projects exploring the use of new sensing technology (hyperspectral, lidar, drone etc) to detect stress and impacts on productivity and plant health resulting from disease, pests, nutrient and water availability, and resilience to future climate scenarios.

Contact:; tel: 01382 385446

Francois DussartDr. Francois Dussart: Post-doctoral researcher, SRUC

Francois is a molecular plant pathologist whose work focusses primarily on understanding plant-pathogen interactions. He has worked for the past 8 years on the barley pathogen Ramularia collo-cygni to identify how the pathogen produces and uses toxic secondary metabolites to induce disease in its host. In addition, Francois has interest in barley production system that minimise the use of inputs (particularly fungicide inputs) and he also recently contributed to an AHDB-funded project that improved our understanding of soil health by studying how soil amendments can impact microbial communities.

Francois would be interested in developing a CTP PhD project with industrial partners to understand the unfolded protein response in barley which could help identify breeding targets for improving crop resistance to biotic (particularly Ramularia leaf spot) and abiotic stresses (e.g. drought stress, heat stress). (Theme: Climate resilience/Reducing inputs)

Contact:; phone: 07876863424

John FoulkesJohn Foulkes: Associate Professor in Crop Science, The University of Nottingham

John is a plant and crop physiologist and has worked on basic and applied barley physiology research for over 20 years. His recent research includes the identification of spike hormones and candidate genes determining variation in spike fertility, grain number and grain size/uniformity, and in understanding relationships among leaf senescence and N remobilization traits, and many other N assimilation traits expressed at different levels of integration, and the way these traits interact to determine adaptation to N limitation.

John would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project based on exploiting genetic variation in plant signalling in spikes to enhance grain number and grain size/uniformity or understanding the bases of favourable genetic introgressions (e.g. landrace, wild barely relative donors) for adaptation to N limitation for deployment in plant breeding (Themes; Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs).

Contact:; tel: 01159 516024

Tim GeorgeDr Tim George: Rhizosphere Scientist, The James Hutton Institute

Tim is a plant physiologist/soil scientist and has worked on the dynamics of nutrients in the rhizosphere of plants and variation in root traits for the last 24 years. His recent research includes work on the ability of Bere barley to cope with extreme micronutrient deficiency, the role of root exuded enzymes and mycorrhizae in making organic P available and the impact of root hairs on the ability of barley to acquire soil resources.

Tim would like to work with breeding companies to investigate the use of barley diversity for climate change mitigation: discovering genes and traits for optimal rhizosphere N and P cycle and C sequestration. Understanding the rhizosphere processes involved in the N, P and C cycle and how these are affected by genotypic variation in root exudate composition will be key to managing both fertilizer use efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. (Themes; Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs)


Dr Maddy Giles: Researcher in the Plant-Soil Interactions (PSI) research group within Ecological Sciences.

Maddy is a soil microbial ecologist and biogeochemist whose research focuses on the ecology of the C and N cycles. Her interests lie in relating how changes in soil functional communities can affect nutrient cycling and the production of greenhouse gases in agricultural systems. In particular she’s interested in using next generation sequencing techniques to characterise the soil microbiome in order to understand how microbial community dynamics can be affected by crop selection and can impact retention of N in soils.

Maddy would be interested in developing a CTP PhD project with commercial stakeholders based on exploiting the soil microbiome for improved soil health. (Themes; Healthy soils)

Contact:; tel: 1382 568 797

Wenbin GuoDr. Wenbin Guo: Bioinformatician, The James Hutton Institute.

Wenbin is a Bioinformation and has worked on developing computational and mathematical models for high-throughput experimental data analysis. He has developed several easy-to-use tools for transcriptomics analysis and gene regulatory network construction. The differential expression analysis tool 3D RNA-seq App he developed has won the Best Innovation Award in School of Life Sciences at University of Dundee and it has over 6,000 users around the world. He has been involved in projects of constructions of high-quality reference transcript datasets for a variety of plant species, such as Arabidopsis (AtRTD, AtRTD2 and AtRTD3), barley (BART1 and BART2), potato, raspberry and lettuce. He is also working on a project to construct barley pan-genome and pan-transcriptome with RNA-seq short reads and PacBio long reads from different genotypes. The tools he developed has engaged more opportunities for internal and external collaborations and publications with excellent research groups.

Wenbin would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders on a CTP PhD project to develop novel methods and automated pipelines for transcriptomics analysis, such as transcriptome construction from Oxford Nanopore data, transcriptome quality evaluation and transcript alternative splicing regulatory network inference.


Rob HancockDr Rob Hancock: Principal Research Scientist, Cell & Molecular Sciences, James Hutton Institute; Scientific Lead, Advanced Plant Growth Centre

Rob is a crop physiologist and biochemist who works to understand how crop genotype and environment interact to influence crop yield and quality traits. His recent work in designing and developing the science portfolio for the Advanced Plant Growth Centre has led to an interest in developing the tools and technologies to extract meaningful physiological and biochemical data from high throughput phenotyping platforms.

Rob would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project based on understanding and optimizing light capture, photosynthesis and sink-source relationships to maximise yields and harvest index under reduced inputs or on developing rapid methods for screening field performance under future climate/management based on high-throughput imaging technologies. (Themes; Reducing Inputs/Climate Resilience)

Contact:; tel: 01382 568779

Neil HavisDr Neil Havis : Group Leader, Carbon, Crop and Soil group, SRUC, West Mains Road, Edinburgh.

Neil is an applied plant pathologist who has worked on the major barely pathogens for over twenty years. He has spent over two decades investigating the biology, epidemiology and control of the emerging barley disease Ramularia leaf spot. His recent research is focused on the development of managing disease in Integrated Crop Management systems.

Neil leads a group with many interests in controlling barley disease and would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders who are interested in a CTP PhD project to utilize the potential resistance to Ramularia leaf spot in the wider barley population with an aim to reduce fungicide inputs (Themes Climate Resilience/Reducing inputs)

Contact:; tel: 0131 535 4136

Dr Cathy Hawes: Principle Ecologist, James Hutton Institute, Dundee

Cathy is an ecologist and manager of the Hutton’s Centre for Sustainable Cropping, an open access, long-term experimental platform where she has designed and implemented a whole-systems framework to optimise multiple ecosystem functions for environmental and economic sustainability. The platform supports a wide range of associated agroecological and inter-disciplinary research projects, bringing together academic and industry partners to iteratively develop an integrated, regenerative cropping system and quantify long-term impacts through trends in biodiversity and sustainability indicators. Knowledge exchange and co-innovation with growers is a key element of this work and Cathy works closely with industry and policy organisations to ensure integration between science and practice, particularly in developing innovative technologies to help meet multiple agroecological, environmental and economic goals for sustainable and resilient crop systems.


Dr Pete Hedley: Core Technologies group leader at the James Hutton Institute

Pete oversees the primary technical research facilities at the Hutton, including Genomics, Imaging and Biotechnology. He has extensive experience in developing and utilising high-throughput genomics tools in the major crop species, barley, potato & soft fruit, their associated pathogens, and in environmental samples, including soil and rhizosphere microbiota.

In the last decade, big sequencing data has helped drive identification of candidate genes and their variants for agronomically important traits. In conjunction with barley geneticists and computational biologists at the Hutton, we can generate and utilise genomics datasets, including sequencing, genotyping and gene expression analysis. Pete can act as a secondary supervisor to CTP PhD students, or simply provide advice and access to genomics tools throughout their studies. (Themes; Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs/Healthy Soils)

Contact:; tel: 01382 568773

Ingo HeinDr Ingo Hein, Reader / Principal Investigator, The University of Dundee and the James Hutton Institute

Ingo is a crop geneticist with a focus on disease resistance. His research is aimed at the fundamental and applied aspects of crop and pathogen genomics as well as genetics to deliver crop protection against biotic threats. He has developed genomic tools to effectively harness and study the naturally occurring diversity of co-evolving plant and pathogen components that determine the outcome of the infection process.

Ingo would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project on Association genetics (AgRenSeq) to protect crops from disease and reduce the reliance on pesticides.

Contact:; tel: 01382 568869

Piers HemsleyDr Piers Hemsley. Senior Lecturer (University of Dundee) and Principal Investigator (James Hutton Institute). Piers is a plant protein biochemist and molecular biologist interested in plant signalling and environmental perception and how this affects plant development. In particular he researches how plants perceive microbes and endogenous hormones through receptor-kinases. He also has a keen interest in plant cold acclimation and freezing tolerance. The lab uses molecular, biochemical, proteomic and chemical biology methods and Piers has a reputation for developing novel biotechnological tools and approaches to address intractable problems in plant biology.

Piers would be keen to collaborate and engage with commercial stakeholders on a range of projects, in particular those interested in plant interactions with beneficial/pathogenic microbes or understanding thermotolerance and adaptation. Themes: Reducing Inputs/Climate resilience.

Contact: /

Steve HoadDr Steve Hoad: Team Leader, Crop Improvement and Agronomy, SRUC

Steve is a cereals specialist and has worked on basic and applied crop research for over 20 years. His recent research includes understanding mechanisms that determine important grain quality traits such as husk adhesion and specific weight, and the use of remote sensing and imaging to evaluate crop resource use efficiency.

Steve is keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project based on a major BARIToNE theme such as climate resilience or reducing inputs. This includes research to support plant breeding, increase barley quality, diversify barley end uses, and improve production and processing efficiency.

Contact:; tel: 0131 535 4342 or 07766 991891

Kelly HoustonDr Kelly Houston: Barley geneticist, The James Hutton Institute

Kelly is a geneticist and has worked in barley genetics research for over 12 years. Much of her research has been on two main aspects of grain composition, the plant cell wall (including (1,3;1,4)-β- glucan, arabinoxylan and phenolic acids), and micronutrient content. She identifies and characterizes genes responsible for these traits using a powerful combination of high-density marker sets to carry out statistical genetic analysis and genetic resources (including natural germplasm, mutants and CRISPR-Cas9 gene-edited lines) to learn more about how these genes ultimately influence the trait of interest. Recently, Kelly has become interested in utilizing georeferenced datasets to understand more about genetic adaptation to a range of environmental conditions and how this can be applied to future predicted climates.

Kelly would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project based on identifying genetic variation which can be utilized to mitigate against projected future climates, or identifying genotypes that are suitable for low N inputs while maintaining grain quality for the malting sector. (Themes; Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs)

Contact:; tel: 01382 568960

Edgar HuitemaDr. Edgar Huitema: Senior Lecturer and Molecular Plant Pathologist, The University of Dundee

Edgar is a molecular plant pathologist with extensive experience in the characterization of host immune systems and the pathogen factors that suppress host defences. Edgar has a keen interest in the biology of filamentous pathogens, seeking to utilize knowledge that can help defeat pathogens in the field.

Edgar looks forward toward working with commercial stakeholders interested to harness knowledge on pathogen biology to devise sustainable crop protection methods. A CTP PhD project could, for example, seek to identify avirulence factors and expression systems with a view to accelerate breeding of pathogen resistant barley varieties (Themes; Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs).

Contact:, Tel: 01382 568921

Pete IannettaDr Pete Iannetta: leads ‘Ecological Food Systems’, a sub-Group of Agroecology (Dept. of Ecological Sciences) and is an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Dundee.

Pete is a plant biologist and ecologist who studies the complex interactions which determine the sustainability of food- and feed-systems. His research is strongly focused on legume-supported systems from production to consumption, and this includes developing novel cropped systems, processing-innovation, and the provision of extension services to value-chain stakeholders including policy-makers.

Pete would welcome working with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project based on, for example: optimising soil-based provisions/functions made by grain legume-supported cropping (particularly using faba bean and peas), and to achieve ‘net-zero barley’ at the point of production. (Themes: Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs/Healthy Soils)

Contact:; tel., +44 (0) 77 3630 7189

John JonesProf John Jones: Head of Cell & Molecular Sciences Dept, The James Hutton Institute & Professsor of Biology, University of St Andrews

John is a plant nematologist who has worked on genomics and host-parasite interactions of plant-parasitic nematodes for over 25 years.

John would be keen to work with commercial partners on resistance to root knot nematodes or cyst nematodes in barley.


Alison KarleyDr Alison Karley: Agroecologist – Integrated Cropping Systems, Department of Ecological Sciences, The James Hutton Institute (Dundee)

Ali has expertise in plant production and plant-insect interactions. Her research tests alternative cropping practices and pest control strategies to reduce reliance on external inputs and increase resilience to environmental stress. She uses participatory research and co-design with farmers and other agricultural stakeholders to trial innovative practices for crop diversification and integrated pest management to improve agricultural sustainability.

Ali would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project using cropping practices that capitalise on biodiversity benefits to regulate pests, improve soil fertility and health, and increase resilience to environmental change. (Themes; Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs/Soil Health)

Contact:; tel: 01382 568820

Sarah McKimDr Sarah McKim: Principal Investigator and Senior Lecturer, Division of Plant Sciences, The University of Dundee

Sarah is a development biologist who has led a research team exploring how barley plants grow and develop for the last eight years. Her research has revealed the genes and mechanisms which control architectural traits important to yield, such as stem elongation, spike density, row type and grain size and shape. Her recent research investigates how development interacts with responses to heat and drought, and the role of grain surface to grain quality.

Sarah would be delighted to engage with commercial partners to develop CTP projects exploring traits linked to survival in the field, including seedling establishment and resiliency to extreme weather events, and in developing new approaches to identify genes important to yield and grain quality. (Themes; Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs)

Contact: tel: 01382 568 8916

Guillermina MendiondoDr Guillermina Mendiondo is an Assistant Professor Assistant Professor in Translational Agriculture-Crop Molecular Physiology at The University of Nottingham. Guillermina works between the field and the lab understanding how crops sense environmental cues. Guillermina is an applied plant biologist with a background in molecular and crop physiology, with expertise in a variety of approaches that include plant physiology, molecular biology (RNAi, Overexpression, CRISPR Cas9 and Barley transformation), biochemistry, cell biology, genetics and bioinformatics, in crops. Her research has focused on understanding the molecular and genetic components regulating plant-environment interactions, particularly to define the biochemistry of how plants sense environmental change, and to identify promising targets that can be manipulated in agriculturally important crops. In addition, her lab is working to understand the regulation of seed dormancy and germination, as plant hormone signalling has proven to be a very successful target for improving grain yields and quality in cereals. The ongoing goal of Guillermina’s lab is to provide plant breeders with plant genetic resources capable of enhancing tolerance to environmental stresses, providing real-world impact, alongside understanding the fundamental mechanisms of plant abiotic stress. (Themes: Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs).

Contact:, tel: +44 (0) 115 95 16064

Alexandra MorelDr Alexandra Morel: Lecturer in Environmental Science, University of Dundee

Alexandra is an agro-ecologist with a research background in carbon and nutrient cycling, carbon footprint analysis, climate resilience and landscape ecology. She has over 15 years experience of field research across a range of crop and forest systems, primarily in tropical regions. Her most recent work has involved collaborating with soil engineers and organically certified farmers to explore the carbon sequestration potential of Scottish agricultural soils.

Alexandra would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project focused on agro-ecological management approaches to improve carbon sequestration and water retention in agricultural soils. She is also keen to develop carbon cycling monitoring methods to aid national carbon accounting requirements for application across a range of agricultural crops. (Themes; Climate Resilience/Healthy Soils)

Contact:; tel: 01382 84930

Alexandra MorelProf Adrian C Newton: Senior Research Leader in Cereal Pathology / Agroecology at the James Hutton Institute and Honorary Professor of Cereal Pathology at SRUC.

Adrian is an agroecologist and barley / cereal pathologist with over 40 years of research experience. His recent focus has been on plant diversity interactions in the field from genotypes to species including intercropping, and variety/genotype interactions with soil tillage and crop sequence.

Adrian is keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project based on,

Soil health interactions, particularly tillage effects, with barley varieties/genotypes, and with cereal-legume intercropping including crop sequence effects, all of which increase crop resilience and reduce nitrogen and pesticide inputs. (Themes; Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs)

Contact:, tel: 01382 568824

Roy NeilsonDr Roy Neilson: Group Leader Plant Soil Interactions Research Group, The James Hutton Institute

Roy is a soil ecologist with 39 years research experience. His expertise lies in understanding functional interactions between plants and soils, mediated by soil biology in the context of food security and sustainable production.

Roy seeks to work with commercial stakeholders to develop integrated CTP PhD projects based on, for example, exploiting barley root architecture to promote soil health; use of indigenous plant symbionts as a nature-based solution to manage pest and pathogens; utilisation of the soil microbiome to mitigate climate impacts. (Themes; Soil Health/Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs)

Contact:; tel: 07866 051161

Beatriz OrosaBeatriz Orosa: Chancellor’s fellow at Institut of Molecular Plant Sciences (University of Edinburgh)

Beatriz is currently studying the fundamental mechanisms underlying ubiquitin-mediated regulation of plant immunity, joining the two main themes of her career: plant-pathogen interactions and post-translational modifications.

The post-translational modifier ubiquitin plays a vital role in cell signalling and is an indispensable component of the plant immune system with a key role in modulating the stability of immune receptors and transcriptional regulators.

Her research is focused on applying innovative approaches to decipher the ubiquitin code that barley uses to modulate the immune response, and manipulate this system to block the pathogens suppression of host immune responses. Her research is opening up new strategies for the development of barley with improved disease resistance.

Contact: e-mail:; tel: 0131 650 5924

Dr Eric Paterson: Senior Scientist, Plant-Soil Interactions, The James Hutton Institute

Eric is a soil ecologist, with his research primarily focused on interactions between plants, soils, microbes and biogeochemical cycling. His group has developed novel methods, particularly stable isotope approaches, to quantify carbon and nutrient dynamics in soil. This research has been applied to evaluate management impacts on soil health, crop productivity and soil greenhouse gas (GHG) balances. Recent research has explored crop genotype selection in the context of optimisation of microbial processes mediating nutrient supply and mitigation of soil GHG fluxes.

Eric is looking to work with partners to develop CTP PhD project proposals, particularly on novel approaches to maintain/ improve sustainable soil health and functioning, while maintaining crop productivity. (Themes: Climate Resilience, Reducing Inputs, Healthy Soils).

Contact:; tel: 01224 395354

Dr Luke Ramsay; Barley Geneticist, James Hutton Institute

Luke has worked on the development and utilization of barley genetic and genomic resources for over 20 years. His recent work has included research into the control of recombination and potential applications in breeding as well as the mapping of genes/genomic regions controlling traits of economic importance in the current varieties.

Luke would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop of CTP PhD project based on the manipulation of recombination patterns to achieve breeding goals or the exploitation of genetic resources to address aspects of grain quality (e.g. splitting, malting, screenings). (Themes; Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs).

Contact:; Tel: 01382 568 736

Bob ReesProf Bob Rees: Professor of agriculture and climate change, SRUC, Edinburgh

Bob is a climate change research scientist with interests in carbon sequestration, agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation. With a background in soil and environmental science, Bob has over 30 years of research experience on nitrogen and carbon cycling and soil management in a range of crop and soil systems. SRUC hosts modern facilities for the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions in field and laboratory experiments.

Bob would be interested in supporting work that looks at the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions from barley production that brings together work on nitrogen use efficiency, genetic improvement and agronomic management of cropping systems. (Themes; Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs)

Contact:; tel: 0131 5354365

Helen ReesDr Helen Rees: Post-doctoral Researcher/Lecturer in Crop Protection, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)

Helen has seven years’ experience in applied plant pathology. Her research interests are centered around using biological control agents and elicitors for sustainable disease management of important crops in agriculture and horticulture.

Helen would be interested in working with commercial stakeholders on a CTP PhD project to develop novel crop protection methods. The project would be based on using biological control agents and/or elicitors to reduce chemical inputs and control important barley diseases and protect harvested grains (e.g., Rhynchosporium, Microdocium/Fusarium, Pyrenohpora and Ramularia). (Themes; Reducing Inputs)

Contact:; tel: 0131 535 4147

Mike RivingtonDr Mike Rivington is senior scientist at the James Hutton Institute having researched land use and climate change issues for 22 years. He studied Ecological Science (Bsc), Natural Resource Management (MSc) and a PhD at Edinburgh University. His main research interests are in understanding how climate change impacts land use and ecosystems, in Scotland and globally, and how mitigation and adaptation options can be developed. He uses a range of research approaches including: use of crop simulation models applied spatially at a high resolution to estimate barley growth under future climate conditions for the whole of Scotland; mapping agro-meteorological indicators spatially to assess risks and opportunities for land management. Particular attention is paid to understand future soil water conditions. He is an inter- and trans-disciplinary scientist, for example he is currently Principal Investigator on an ESRC funded project ‘UK food and nutrition security during and after the COVID-19 pandemic’. His other interests include ecosystem management and ecosystem services, particularly for climate change mitigation and adaptation. He has written policy briefs for UNEP on ecosystem-based adaptation, contributed to the US National Climate Assessment chapter on agriculture, and was a member of a UK-US tasks force on extreme weather and resilience of the global food system.


John RowanProf John Rowan: Vice Principal (Research, KE & Wider Impact) and Professor of Physical Geography, University of Dundee

John is an environmental scientist with more than 30 years of experience working on climate and environmental change processes and societal risks and impacts, worldwide and especially in Scotland. His particular expertise is land and water management and he has served as co-lead of the Adaptation Programme within the Scottish Government’s Centre for Expertise on Climate Change (CXC) and is Academic Lead on the Scottish Government’s Centre for Research Expertise for Waters (CREW). He has supervised 20 PhD students to completion, inclusive of projects on environmental impact assessment, climate change, rivers and lochs, water resources, biodiversity, ecosystem services, natural flood management, soil erosion and carbon accounting. He is leading the University of Dundee’s commitment and planning to deliver net-zero.

John is keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project based on issues of concern, example, incorporating climate change projections into strategic planning; enhancing resilience of water resources (quantity and quality issues); decarbonizing supply chains; embracing nature-based solutions. (Themes; Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs/Healthy Soils)

Contact:; 01382 384024

Prof Rumiana RayProf Rumiana Ray: Plant and Crop Sciences Division, School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham

Rumiana is a plant pathologist, known for her work on the development of sustainable, integrated control strategies for Fusarium head blight and mycotoxins in cereals, and the soil-borne/stem-base disease complexes. Her research is focussed on improving plant health, crop productivity and protection against pathogenic and pest threats to food security. She has expertise and experience in the development of novel approaches and field technologies for pathogen/disease detection inclusive of fluorescence signals to identify disease signatures and molecular diagnostics. Second strand of her work is focussed on plant immunity and physiological and genetic mechanisms of dual (host-pathogen) and tripartite (pest-host-pathogen) interactions for improved crop resilience. Rumiana collaborates with agrii industry on understanding the phytoactivity and bioaction of novel crop protection molecules and outputs of her AHDB, Innovate and BBSRC-funded projects have been successfully utilised by industry stakeholders to improve disease management.

Rumiana will be interested in the development of CTP PhD projects in disease/pest resistance, mycotoxin reduction strategies and increasing crop tolerance to multiple stresses.
Contact:; Tel. 0115 951 6049

Joanne RussellDr Joanne Russell: Barley Geneticist at the James Hutton Institute

Research over the past 27 years has focused on developing genetic markers to explore and understand diversity within the extensive assembled collections of barley germplasm, including cultivars, globally distributed landraces and wild progenitors. Following technological advances our emphasis has shifted from cataloguing diversity to recognition of the genetic value of these resources for sustainable and resilient barley production. Recent research has focussed on developing novel ‘breeder-ready-to-go’ germplasm.

We are just beginning to realise the potential of these landraces and wild barleys as important sources of variation to respond to abiotic and biotic stresses. Developing a CTP PhD project to explore how adapted landraces and wild germplasm can contribute to future crop improvements will provide understanding of the complexity of adaptation and identify new gene combinations to maintain yield in a changing environment.

(Themes; Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs)

Contact:; tel: 01382 568857

Paul ShawDr Paul Shaw: Senior Scientist Bioinformatics/Information Systems, International Barley Hub (IBH)/The James Hutton Institute

Paul is a bioinformatician and has worked on the development of database and software to help in the storage, visualization and analysis of data from the plant genetics, genetic resources and plant (pre) breeding domains for over 20 years. His recent research interests include the development of informatics platforms including Germinate for the storage of experimental data resulting from plant germplasm collections and Helium for the visualization of complex plant pedigrees. His group is also active in the development of mobile applications for the efficient collection of experimental data.

Paul would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP-funded PhD project in areas such as in the storage, visualization and analysis of high-volume, complex field trial data (big data) where technologies such as environmental sensors or drone technology are increasingly important. He is also interested in areas such as how machine learning can be used to help ensure data quality from trials and offer better predictive or classification outputs. These tools will provide new mechanisms for the exploitation of diversity, helping in the development of new, adapted, climate-resistant crops. (Themes; Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs)

Contact:; tel: 01382 568864

Craig SimpsonDr. Craig Simpson: Senior Research Scientist, The James Hutton Institute.

Craig is a plant molecular biologist and experimental scientist who is interested in environmental gene expression responses in barley. He is utilising genome-wide RNA-seq transcript abundance datasets to identify important barley genes and gene pathways in phenotypically divergent barley tissues or barley grown under variable environmental conditions. He has recently focused on the short-term cold acclimation gene expression response in spring barley types and the importance of alternative expressed transcripts.

Craig is eager to work with commercial partners to develop a CTP PhD project that investigates the dynamic molecular nature of adaptation, tolerance and recovery to variable climate and disease stresses. (Theme: Climate Resilience).

Contact; Tel: 01382 568774

Nicola Stanley-WallProf Nicola Stanley-Wall: Professor of Microbiology; Academic Lead for Public Engagement, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee

Nicola is a molecular microbiologist and has worked on basic and applied aspects of biofilm research using the Gram-positive soil bacterium Bacillus subtilis for over 20 years. Her recent research includes the characterization of proteins and gene networks required for biofilm formation, and more recently in understanding intraspecies interactions through exploiting natural Bacillus subtilis diversity.

Given the widespread commercial use of Bacillus subtilis as a plant growth promoting bacterium, Nicola would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project based on, for example, exploiting Bacillus subtilis to promote growth of Barley. (Themes; Reducing Inputs/Healthy Soils)

Contact:; tel: 01382 568731

Tracy ValentineDr Tracy Valentine: Research Leader Plant:Soils interactions. Soils@hutton coordinator

Tracy has over 20 years experience in applied and basic research at the plant root:soils interface. Utilising both image analysis and molecular based methods she has investigated processes and impacts of soil management on plant root growth and development, and root soil biological and physical interactions with the aim of understanding how to improve crop genotypes and management systems, via increasing knowledge of root:soil biological and physical processes at a range of scales.

Tracy would be interested in developing PhD projects that investigate the sustainability of crop/soil management techniques (incl Tillage, and biological Tillage (e.g. inclusion of Cover crops)) and the impacts this has on Barley primary production sustainability and yield productivity, through understanding root:soil physical and biological interactions including the contribution of crop genotype. (Themes: Climate resilience/Reducing inputs)

Contact:; tel: 01382 568731

Graeme WalkerProf Graeme Walker: Professor of Zymology, School of Applied Sciences, Abertay University, Dundee

Graeme is a yeast physiologist and has conducted academic and industrial research in fermentation science and technology for over 40 years. He collaborates with the brewing, distilling and bioethanol sectors of industry and was elected Fellow of the Institute of Brewing & Distilling in 2009. Graeme directs a yeast research group at Abertay University with current projects involving exploitation of legumes for beer and spirits (with JHI) and use of diverse yeasts for whisky fermentations (CTP with SWRI). He has published over 200 articles and has authored several textbooks, including Yeast Physiology & Biotechnology, Bioethanol and The Alcohol Textbook. See:

Graeme would be keen to work with industrial colleagues on CTP PhD projects dealing with yeast and fermentation technology linked to the BARIToNE Theme: Reducing Inputs.


nicholas-watsonDr Nicholas Watson: Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Nottingham.

Nicholas’s research is focused on data-driven in-process sensing to deliver sustainable, safe and productive food manufacturing systems. Data-driven sensing combines cost-effective in-process sensors (e.g. optical and ultrasonic) with machine learning techniques and overcomes many of the challenges associated with utilising sensors to produce actionable information within manufacturing environments. Current areas of research include multi-sensor data fusion and emerging machine learning techniques such as transfer and distributed learning for applications including factory cleaning, process monitoring (e.g. fermentation and mixing) and real-time food safety and quality assessment.

Nicholas would like to collaborate with industrial colleagues on CTP PhD projects focused on the use of sensing and data driven modelling to address environmental sustainability challenges.

Contact: email:; tel: 01157484848

Jonathan WilkinDr Jonathan Wilkin: Senior Lecturer in New Product Development at Abertay University

Jon is a food scientist and has worked on new product development with Scottish food and drink businesses for around 10 years. Jon has previous experience of running and delivering industrial outputs through his work with Knowledge Exchange Partnerships (KTP’s). His research includes applied food science with seaweeds as a functional textural ingredient and waste valorisation to produce functional ingredients for use in applied health / sport products.

Jon is keen to work with stakeholders to exploit any valorisation of waste compounds post-harvest or deliver food science techniques required in a CTP PhD project (Themes; Reducing Inputs).

Contact:; Tel: 01382 308783

Dr. Runxuan Zhang: Computational Biologist

Runxuan is a computational biologist, who was trained in machine learning and artificial neural networks for his PhD. His 20 years of research has been focusing on developing computational and analysis methods/tools for high throughput experimental data, such as RNA-seq for gene expression analysis. His team has published several widely used and easily accessible software and tools for analyzing sequencing data.

In collaboration with Prof Ping Lin (Expertise in image based machine learning, Math department, UoD)/ Dr Sarah McKim (Expertise in barley developmental Biology, UoD), Runxuan would be keen to work with commercial stakeholders to develop a CTP PhD project on developinng automated image-based plant phenotyping methods allows high throughput quantification of plant traits, such as plant height, canopy size, maturation time or disease monitoring, by analysing images captured by cameras or drones. This technology could, for example, greatly accelerate and enhance breeding of improved crops with beneficial architectural and physiological traits, allowing the optimization of the timing and application of inputs. (Themes; Climate Resilience/Reducing Inputs)

Contact:; tel: 01382 568886