M.Sc. &/or Ph.D Plant Production

Area of Focus:

Plant Production


Graduate Student Position

A graduate student position for a domestic applicant (i.e., Canadian citizen or permanent resident) is available to work with a group of scientists on applying LED technologies in controlled environment plant production. The position can be for either M.Sc. and/or Ph.D.

Society is currently facing many challenges such as climate change, urbanization, population increase, global pandemics, wars, degradation and reductions of arable land, food insecurity, and lack of fresh food for people in remote areas (e.g., Canada’s far north). For the aforementioned challenges, controlled environment plant production technologies (e.g., greenhouses and vertical farms) are able to provide some integrated solutions. For example, climate change is bringing more extreme weather which can make field production of high value crops very difficult - production in controlled environments can provide plants with optimum growing conditions regardless of the weather. Further,  use of soilless media means that controlled environment production does not need fertile soil to produce high quality plant-derived food and medicines. Controlled environment plant production systems can also be many times better in resource (e.g., water and nutrient) use efficiency than field production. Pandemics, political conflicts, and natural disasters can cause localized shortages of fresh vegetables and fruits. Controlled environment production can provide consistent, high quality plant products right at the point of consumption, such as within large cities and Canada’s far north, eliminating the need and environmental impacts of long distance transportation.

Lighting is a key element in controlled environment plant production. Horticultural LED technology is still rapidly developing; especially in increasing energy use efficiency and reducing costs. LEDs can be used to improve plant quality, such as enhanced nutritional and medicinal phytochemicals, and increase yield.  For example, different combinations of light spectrum, intensity, and photoperiod can all be manipulated to drastically change cannabis yield and quality. This is an exciting time for controlled environment plant production research. This sector is booming and certainly needs many talented and well-trained young minds.

If you have an excellent academic record, have some plant science background, have good academic writing skills, and are motivated to be hired into a good career right after graduation, please contact Dr. Youbin Zheng (https://www.uoguelph.ca/ses/people/youbin-zheng) at yzheng@uoguelph.ca for more details on the actual research and how to apply to become a graduate student in his lab.