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Position: PhD Position - Delivering Safe And Nutritious Tilapia To Low Income Countries

Date Posted: 13 January 2018 << New Search Apply >>
Application Deadline: 28 February 2018    

Start Date: 01 April 2018 Salary: 14,553 GBP Euros per annum
Country: United Kingdom Position Type: MSc / PhD Position
Duration: 3 Years Category: Research & Development
 
Work Authorisation: Employee must be authorised to work in the EU
Languages: English
Language Level: Excellent
Working Hours: 35
Link to More Info: http://www.swansea.ac.uk/postgraduate/scholarships/research/bioscience

Description: Fully funded PhD position
Delivering safe and nutritious tilapia to low income countries

Closing date: 28 Feby 2018

Key Information
This scholarship is funded by Swansea University and Three-Sixty Aquaculture.

Subject areas: Sustainable Aquaculture, Food Security, Fish Welfare, Poverty Alleviation

Start date: 1 April 2018 or 1 July 2018

Knowledge Gaps and Key Challenges Addressed by this Project

World fish consumption is expected to reach c. 200 million tons by 2020, most of which will have to come from farmed fish, as the majority of wild fisheries are either stagnant or grossly over-exploited. To meet future global food demands, aquaculture is expected to intensify production, and deliver fish that will have to thrive on less food and less water, all compounded by increasingly warmer temperatures. The consumption of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) is essential for human health but its intake has decreased worldwide as a result of new eating habits, increased dependence on vegetable oils, and wider availability of processed foods. This problem is particularly acute in many African countries, where the recent adoption of westernized diets has resulted in a nutritional deficit of omega-3 PUFA and a substantial increase in the incidence of chronic illnesses. Tilapia represents one of the main potential long-term sources of fish for many poor countries, but the species is also one of the most invasive ones, and does not naturally contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, essential to human health. Enrichment of tilapia with omega-3 PUFA could improve human health, with clear socioeconomic benefits. However, fish oils traditionally used to enrich commercial tilapia feeds are expensive, unsustainable, and may not be readily available to many low income countries. We propose to increase dietary omega-3 PUFA through the production of sustainably farmed Nile tilapia, reared on improved microalgae diets rich in omega-3 oils, proteins and vitamins. Thus, the key challenge addressed by this proposal is the need to deliver improved tilapia which must be:

Nutritious; enriched with omega-3 PUFA from natural sources
Safe to eat; reared in pollutant-free water, free from dangerous natural pathogens
Sustainable; reared with no waste, and near-zero nutrient loss
Fully bio-contained; unable to escape or introgress with native fish
Water friendly; reared on recycled water, reducing aquaculture’s environmental impacts
Cheap to produce and easy to rear; thanks to low cost technology, low trophic level
Fast growing; with high conversion efficiency, meeting the needs of poor producers
Accessible; affordable, easy to process and distribute to poor consumers
Novelty

We propose to address the above challenges through innovation with our research partner in Wales (360 Aquaculture). More specifically, during this PhD we propose to:

Develop a low-cost, integrated algae-tilapia RAS to produce safe, omega-3 enriched tilapia for use in low income countries
Characterize, for the first time, the gut microbiome associated with high omega-3 assimilation in tilapia, and
Develop novel dietary biomarkers in tilapia that can be used non-destructively
Please visit the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) webpage for more information.

Eligibility
Candidates should have a 2.1 or above undergraduate degree or an MSc (Merit or equivalent)/MRes in a related subject area (aquaculture, biosciences, etc.).

Molecular skills and ability to drive would be an advantage.

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK/EU candidates only.

Funding
The scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus an annual stipend of £14,553.

There will be £2,000 per annum for other research expenses such as lab work, travel and conference attendance.

How to Apply
To apply please complete and return the following documents to Dr Vivienne Jenkins (v.e.jenkins@swansea.ac.uk):

College of Science PGR Scholarship Application
CV
Covering letter
Informal enquiries about this scholarship are welcome and may be directed to Professor Carlos Garcia de Leaniz (c.garciadeleaniz@swansea.ac.uk / +44 (0)1792 295383).
Other Benefits: £2,000 for research costs pa
Other Requirements: Eligibility Candidates should have a 2.1 or above undergraduate degree or an MSc (Merit or equivalent)/MRes in a related subject area (aquaculture, biosciences, etc.). Molecular skills and ability to drive would be an advantage. Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK/EU candidates only.

Experience: Undergraduate/Graduate
Ref: 1309