All students

School of Agriculture Food and Rural Development - Spatial Data Processing for Viticulture Systems

Value of award

100% tuition fees paid and an annual stipend of £14,553 (full award) with additional funds to support research activities in the US including travel funding.

Number of awards


Start date and duration

September 2017 for 3 years.

Application closing date

22 July 2017.


A fully-funded PhD scholarship is available to work on a U.S. Department of Agriculture funded Specialty Crops Research Initiative project. The overall project will develop new sensors for crop load estimation, develop new tools for data dissemination and decision support and new protocols for differential management in North American vineyards. The project is a multi-actor program lead by Cornell University with collaborations with Carnegie Mellon University, UC Davis and Fresno State University as well as multiple industry and commercial organisations based in the US.  

The successful candidate will work on a work package around precision viticulture applications to crop load and colour mapping in varying US vineyard systems. This will utilise data streams from newly developed sensors at Carnegie Mellon and existing off-the-shelf crop sensors. The PhD outputs will link directly into variable-rate field trials and protocol validation in vineyards in California (Fresno State Uni) and New York State (Cornell). The candidate will be based at Newcastle University (UK) but will spend up to 8 weeks per year in the US with project partners, which will be funded by the project.

The project will suit a spatial data analyst with an interest in viticulture systems or a viticulturist with an interest in GIS development and precision viticulture. This position replaces an existing position within the project and will extend beyond the timeline of the project, providing flexibility to the candidate to explore other areas of precision viticulture.


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Name of supervisor(s)

James Taylor (Newcastle University) and Terence Bates (Cornell University)

Eligibility Criteria

A first class or upper second class degree in agriculture, environment or engineering with good numerical skills is essential. The ideal candidate will have experience with viticultural systems and GIS applications. The student will be enrolled at Newcastle but will spend 2 months of each year on placement in the US with project partners. 

This studentship is available for UK/EU and Non-EU internationals. Candidates must be able to travel freely to the USA and hold a valid driving licence.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application form.  Only mandatory fields need to be completed, including:

Please send covering letter and CV to James Taylor.


Informal enquiries can be emailed to Dr James Taylor (Tel. 07502 983 460)