Doctoral Research opportunity: Apple water use under shade netting

Department of Horticultural Science, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Project title: Apple water use under shade netting

Professor Stephanie Midgley of the Department of Horticultural Science at Stellenbosch University (SU) is offering an opportunity for a motivated student to study full-time towards a doctoral degree (PhDAgric in Horticultural Science). This is a 4-year partnership project with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and is funded by the Water Research Commission (WRC) and Hortgro Science. The multidisciplinary research team comprises scientists with expertise in agrometeorology, plant ecophysiology, pomology, soil and irrigation science.

Water resources used by the apple industry for irrigation are coming under increasing strain due to competition from other users, the need to allocate water to new farmers, and the impacts of climate change. Farmers must increase the water use efficiency and water productivity of apple production. The installation of shade netting has been identified as a promising adaptation response to stressful climatic conditions and future climate. The microclimate under shade netting is milder and orchard water use is potentially reduced. The study will compare the water use of open and netted (fixed and draped systems) full bearing apple orchards under unstressed soil water conditions, in order to determine water savings per hectare and per ton.

If you are an MScAgric/MSc graduate and meet the University's requirements for doctoral study (, consider this excellent opportunity. You should have an interest in horticultural science and tree physiology, and a good understanding of soil science. You should also be able to conduct field research independently, and possess an unendorsed driver's license valid in South Africa. An added advantage would be experience in the use of plant ecophysiology equipment and/or agro-meteorological equipment. Graduates in Botany or Forestry (ecophysiology) are welcome to apply, but may be required to conduct supplementary studies in Pomology.

Date of commencement: July to September 2018, subject to University approval processes
Scholarship value: R 140 000.00 per year for 3 years
Note that international students are themselves responsible for travel to and from Stellenbosch/South Africa, additional registration fees for international students, medical insurance, study visa and police clearance. Please note that doctoral students are not appointed as employees and their scholarships are awarded tax-free. They are therefore not eligible for employee benefits.

Please submit your full application including transcripts of your academic record to Stellenbosch University by 31 May 2018, and at the same time send all documents, a covering letter and the names and contact details of at least two referees to Prof Midgley:
Applicants should request their referees to forward confidential reports by the closing date direct to the same address.
Department of Horticultural Science
University of Stellenbosch
Private Bag X1, Matieland, Stellenbosch 7602, South Africa
Phone: +27 83 652 9062 Fax +27 21 808 2121

Stellenbosch (South Africa)