Growing bright futures

Episode 242,   Jan 25, 2021, 07:00 AM

Growing bright futures: an interview with three successful AHDB crops PhD students about their different PhDs experiences, careers and future plans

Education, education, education! Our latest podcast discusses the importance of AHDB-funded studentships for the crop industry and to future students. John Bates and Rachel McGauley our Crop Protection Scientist invite three special external guests, who share life after their AHDB–funded PhD, opening them to multiple opportunities to support the UK agriculture and horticulture industry. 

At times students might find that is worth the hassle and struggle. Let’s find out from our guests how successful their careers have been once their PhD has been complete.

John Bates interviews:

  • Johnathan Menary

    Jonathan is a senior research associate at Lancaster Environment Centre and the St George’s University of London, where he’s involved in two European Union Horizon 2020 projects focussed on plant breeding. He finished his PhD – “Innovation in the Fresh Produce Industry – in 2017, which was funded by the AHDB. In that project, he explored what helped and hindered innovation in the sector, with a particular emphasis on research and communication.

  • Alex McCormack

    Alex is Scientific Support Coordinator at Crop Health and Protection Ltd. (CHAP) one of the four UK AgriTech Centres funded by Innovate UK. In this role he acts as the key scientific and technical contact for CHAP, along with developing its network of academic and industrial partners, to build innovative research projects and new capabilities. In 2018 he completed his AHDB funded PhD at Harper Adams University, which examined soil-borne diseases in oilseed rape and their role in yield decline, using cutting edge molecular tools such as real-time PCR and Next Generation Sequencing.

  • Bethan Shaw

    Bethan Shaw has worked in horticultural entomology since 2012, after taking a summer job doing data collection and unexpectantly falling in love with the topic. She undertook a PhD between 2015-2018 at the University of Southampton and NIAB EMR, co-funded by the AHDB investigating behavioural patterns in spotted wing Drosophila. Since graduating, Bethan has returned to NIAB EMR as research leading in the entomology department and am responsible for the day-to-day management of a wide range of projects. Bethan is also active in applying for my funding and developing new international collaborations.

If you’d like to learn more about these projects contact: or visit

Podcast produced and edited by Aisha Shabnam