PhD Studentship in Biological Control – Preparing for the management of the invasive pest emerald ash borer

Newcastle University

Award Summary

100% of home tuition fees covered and a minimum tax-free annual living allowance of £18,000 p.a. 


Interested in entomology and biological control? Based within the Tree Health team at Forest Research, Alice Holt, Farnham, this PhD will investigate the potential management of an invasive beetle pest using parasitic wasps.

The emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis (EAB), has devastated ash trees after its accidental introduction to North America and European Russia. European ash trees (Fraxinus excelsior) in Great Britain are already under threat from ash dieback disease (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, ADB), and the arrival of EAB could kill the remaining, resistant trees. Biological control through the release of natural enemies could help protect ash trees on a landscape scale. The student will examine the risk that exotic parasitoids originating from the native range of EAB may pose to native insect fauna and assess the attractiveness to the parasitoids of European ash.

Some native parasitoids of bark-boring beetles have been reported to significantly reduce EAB numbers within its introduced range. The student will collect parasitoids present in Great Britain and examine their potential to control EAB.

Training will include:

  • working with parasitoid wasps and EAB under strict quarantine protocols in a Level II+ containment facility
  • survey techniques for declining trees in a variety of woodland settings
  • contributing to, and taking part in, a workshop on parasitoid identification and their use in biological control
  • insect behavioural olfactometry

Number Of Awards


Start Date

1st October 2023

Award Duration

4 years

Application Closing Date

12th July 2023




Dr Katy Reed , Forest Research  [email protected]

Dr Neil Audsley , School of Environmental and Natural Sciences , Newcastle University & Fera Science Ltd

Dr Gavin Broad , Natural History Museum

Eligibility Criteria

You must have, or expect to gain, a minimum 2:1 Honours degree or international equivalent in a subject relevant to the proposed PhD project (Biology, Entomology, Zoology).

Applicants whose first language is not English require an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills.

The studentship covers fees at the Home rate and open to UK and EU applicants with pre-settled/settled status and meet the residency criteria. 

How To Apply

You must apply through the University’s Apply to Newcastle Portal  

Once registered select ‘Create a Postgraduate Application’.  

Use ‘Course Search’ to identify your programme of study:  

  • Search for the ‘Course Title’ using the programme code: 8020F
  • Research Area: Biological Sciences
  • Select “PhD Biology (Full-time) – Biological Sciences” as the programme of study 

You will then need to provide the following information in the ‘Further Details’ section:  

  • A ‘Personal Statement’ (this is a mandatory field) – upload a document or write a statement directly in to the application form  
  • The studentship code snes258 in the ‘Studentship/Partnership Reference’ field  
  • When prompted regarding your research proposal – select ‘Write Proposal’. You should then type in the title of the research project from this advert. You do not need to upload a research proposal.  

Contact Details

Dr Neil Audsley

School of Environmental and Natural Sciences

E-mail: [email protected]

Telephone: +44 (0) 904 462628

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