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Lancaster University

Masters by Research: Arden Lea Irrigation
Location Lancaster University
Starts Oct 2021
Deadline 05 Aug 2021

Get paid to do a Masters with the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation at Lancaster University and Arden Lea Irrigation.

Location: Lancaster University

Project details

• Get paid £16,000 tax-free. 

• Have your tuition fees reduced. Your partner company pays £2,200 towards your fees, meaning students eligible for home fees pay only £2,300. International students will need to pay the remaining £20,050. 

• Be part of the multi award winning Centre for Global Eco-Innovation within a cohort of talented graduates working on exciting business-led R&D.

• The Centre is based at Lancaster University, so you will gain your Masters from a Top Ten University, recognised as The Sunday Times University of the Year 2018 and International University of the Year 2020.

• Finish in a strong position to enter a competitive job market in the UK and overseas or progress on to further study.

The business and academic support

Arden Lea was founded in 1974 as a family run independent company. Their core activity is golf course irrigation and their reputation over the years has been built on a commitment to maintaining high standards of installation, together with full technical back-up. They use all their own labour and plant maintained in purpose built workshops, where they also fabricate custom-made pump sets.

The company has carried out work at Royal Birkdale Golf Club, (one of the Open Championship courses), Formby Golf Club and Lytham Green Drive Golf Club, all of which are used for final Open qualifying. In Ireland, they were nominated for installations at Ballybunion and Killarney.

Not only golf courses however - Arden Lea have installed major irrigation systems at some of the country's top racecourses, including Aintree, York, Goodwood, Haydock Park, Hamilton, Sedgefield and Pontefract. They have also installed the irrigation for Manchester United's Training Ground, Carrington, Carlisle United FC Stadium and were the main irrigation contractors for Terminal 2 at Manchester International Airport. Arden Lea is also very experienced in the horticulture and agriculture sectors, with many successful projects completed in large scale commercial greenhouses around the UK and in the soft fruit sector.

This project will be supervised by Professor Ian Dodd, Professor in Sustainable Agriculture, Lancaster University Environment Centre, Dr Emma Sayer – Reader in Ecosystem Ecology, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University and Sarah Fairhurst from Arden Lea Irrigation Ltd.


You have: a 2:1 degree or above in a relevant subject such as plant and/or soil sciences.

You have: excellent English language skills.

The Challenge

Below-ground benefits that don’t cost the earth- carbon footprinting a peat replacement.

Peat-based growing substrates rely on an extractive industry that releases considerable volumes of greenhouse gases. Life cycle analyses of alternative peat-free substrates are required, including measurements of plant carbon sequestration and its distribution below-ground to the root system and rhizosheath that encloses the roots (which persists after the roots die). This project will assess the carbon costs and benefits of bespoke growing substrates, by determining substrate, rhizosheath and plant carbon capture and losses.

What you will gain

  • • Work alongside a business partner gaining enviable industry experience
  • • Gain input from a team of academic supervisors
    • Gain a tax-free stipend each year
    • Have reduced tuition fees
    • Access a research budget for travel and consumables
    • Further your career with a postgraduate application
    • Develop links with both the business and academic community
    • Help to solve a real-world problem which allows a shift to a low carbon economy

This project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is subject to funding confirmation.

Learn more about Lancaster University

The Centre for Global Eco-Innovation was established in 2012 based on the University’s pioneering decision to place its world-class environmental research at the heart of driving innovation for Clean and Sustainable Growth. Our previous projects have supported more than 700 SMEs since 2012 and two of its graduates won the prestigious James Dyson Award in 2018.

Through our flagship project Eco-I North West we are recruiting researchers onto a number of funded Master's by research (MRes) projects. These will be recruiting from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. Graduates join a substantial cohort of like-minded and ambitious researchers, providing an important peer network and support group. You’ll be mentored by our Innovation Fellows and benefit from both academic and business supervision and support.


“Being a part of this research group gives you a unique perspective into how businesses and centres for academic research can work together to generate real world impact. You feel part of something bigger, because you are!”

Phoebe Sutton, Graduate Researcher, May Barn Consultancy Ltd

“Being a researcher within the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation has given me an amazing opportunity to be involved in the development of technology that will hopefully have a real, tangible and positive impact on reducing energy consumption.”

Cathy New, Graduate Researcher, Hardy and Ellis Inventions Ltd

“It has opened so many doors for me as a researcher. My company has taken me to Germany, France and London, so I’ve had the chance to travel. It’s really opened my eyes to the possibility that the skills I have learnt could allow me to work abroad.”

Rebecca Burns, Graduate Researcher, Isoprime

“The idea of curiosity-driven science never appealed to me, as the possibility that all of my hard work may never benefit anyone was too daunting. However, my project had very specific research objectives and I was safe in the knowledge that my research was likely to benefit my business partner.”

Jonathan Longden, Graduate Researcher, Nucleotide Nutrition Ltd

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