Projects tailored to you

There are multiple studentships awarded every year and each one can be tailored to your interests. As part of your application let us know what you want to focus on and, if you're successful, we'll work with you to apply for funding from external sources.

Our 2019 students & research subjects

Colleen SellwoodColleen Sellwood, Newcastle University:
A third year biology student, Colleen spent seven weeks working alongisde Entomologist, Dr Stephanie Bird researching box tree moth oviposition.

“I was based mostly at the field research facility where I reared moths from larvae for experiments and monitored box tree moth infestation on box tree plots. The results from this project will help us work out ways to reduce infestation and protect box tree plants in the future.”


Julie LinJulie Lin, Imperial College, London:
Worked for 10 weeks working alongside Dr Hayley Jones investigating the life cycle of  the agapanthus gall midge.

“The placement was incredibly insightful and rewarding. I received much needed guidance from the RHS research staff and am so grateful for the opportunity to experience life as a research scientist. I learned the principles of experimental design and project management and presented my research findings at a BSPP conference.”


Louise AgerLouise Ager, University of York:
Worked at RHS Garden Wisley for eight weeks alongside Plant Health Scientist, Dr Fryni Drizou and Plant Pathologist, Dr Liz Beal. Her project investigated Phytophthora spp. infections at RHS Garden Hyde Hall.

“My project aimed to determine how extensive Hyde Hall's Phytophthora problem is, which species are present and to compare three detection methods. I sampled soil, plants and water and performed baiting bioassays using Rhododendron leaf discs and apples, cultured isolates onto agar, and carried out morphological identification of sporangia. I also used molecular methods for species identification which included DNA extraction from cultures and soil, barcoding PCR, and Sanger sequencing.”


Claire HurstClaire Hurst, University of East Anglia:
Worked RHS Garden Wisley for eight weeks alongside  Dr Jassy Drakulic and Dr Matthew Cromey. For her project she used field surveys and molecular methods to investigate dispersal of box blight and classify isolates of Calonectria, the fungi that cause the disease.

“The studentship really boosted my confidence in working in the lab independently and introduced me to what a research-based career would entail. Previously I wasn’t aware of the impact of plant pathology research, now I have been inspired to consider a career in it.”


Other subjects have included:

  • Investigating endophytic Trichoderma for bio-control of honey fungus
  • Developing molecular methods for honey fungus species identification
  • Identifying gastropod feeding preferences
  • Analysis of soil fauna diversity following slug control

Apply for a studentship

You must be an undergraduate student in your second year of study to apply for a studentship.

RHS Plant Health Summer StudentshipsApplications are open

To apply, please send your CV and a cover letter outlining your interest to Dr Jassy Drakulic.

Plant Health summer Studentships 2020 (346kB pdf)

Deadline 13 January 2020.

Placement opportunities will be subject to funding availability. For more information please email Dr Jassy Drakulic.


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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.