B-hive - PhD Co-funded Studentship (50%)

An opportunity exists to apply for a full-time PhD studentship bursary in the Centre for Machine Vision at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory over a 3.5 year duration, which includes a stipend and registration fees.

  • The expected start date of this studentship is 1 January 2019.
  • The closing date for applications is 19 November 2018.
  • Open to UK/EU applicants only.

About the studentship

A forward-looking agritech business (B-hive Innovations Ltd) and the world renowned Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) have decided to jointly fund a PhD studentship on a 50:50 basis. The result is an exciting new research project that aims to develop novel sensors and algorithms for enabling the detection and sizing of root crops during growth. Various technologies will be investigated to detect the crops. The resulting data will then be processed and analysed, in order to generate information that will assist growers with agronomical decisions including variety selection (to better suit regional soils conditions), reducing water/chemical usage and maximising yield (and mapping thereof). To date little progress has been made in realising low-cost plant root/tuber imaging. The objective of this research will therefore be to investigate a range of non-invasive techniques with the aim of realising practical plant imaging, data analysis and salient trait extraction. The project is highly novel and will call upon existing CMV expertise in agri-technology, 3D imaging and deep learning.

Experienced BRL research academics from the Centre for Machine Vision (CMV), will work together with B-hive’s senior engineers located in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, to provide guidance throughout the research programme. The CMV has developed internationally leading research and expertise in innovative 3D surface recovery solutions applied to various areas in addition to agri-tech. Augmented by B-hive’s specialised skills at developing new types of agricultural technologies, this research will use a range of state-of-art optical/computer vision techniques, with in-depth data analysis and modelling developed at the CMV, to generate innovate solutions for the capture, recovery and characterisation of crops prior to harvest.

The aim is therefore to realise the application of innovative technology in the field as a demonstrator system, including new data analysis techniques for assessment of complex plant root structure during growth – particularly in terms of crop feature extraction. This represents a new capability of significant interest to the industrial partner, B-hive, which has good commercial application experience within the agricultural sector and beyond. B-hive has an excellent connection with the market and end-user base via their partners and fully intends to exploit the technology.


  • Applicants must have a good honours degree (2.1 or equivalent) in subjects such as electronic engineering, computer science, computer vision, physics, sensor science.
  • A recognised English language qualification is required.
  • Open to UK/EU applicants only.

Funding details

The studentship is available from 1 January 2019 for a period of three and a half (3.5) years, subject to satisfactory progress, and includes  a tax-free stipend which is currently £14,777 per annum (RCUK rate). In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years at Home / EU rates. 

How to apply

Please complete and return the following forms:

Please consult the Graduate School studentship application guidance notes when completing the above forms.  The Guidance Notes also detail the supporting documentation that must be provided with the application form.

Your application form and supporting documentation should be submitted to the UWE Graduate School at graduateschool@uwe.ac.uk by midnight on the closing date for applications.

Each of your referees must complete and return the following reference form to the Graduate School in support of your application:

Closing date

The closing date for applications is 19 November 2018 (midnight).

Further information

Interviews will take place on 28 November 2018. If you have not heard from us by 30 November 2018, we thank you for your application but on this occasion you have not been successful.

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