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SilviBio: an Inside View

SilviBio has been fortunate to work with the EASTBIO PhD Internship Placement Scheme. Because of this collaboration, we have been able to host Amy Newell for the past couple months. You can find out more about Amy and her work here at SilviBio in her own words below!


Hi, I’m Amy, a PhD student intern at SilviBio. I’m here for three months as part of the EASTBIO Doctoral Training Program PhD Internship Placement Scheme- PIPS for short! Basically, my PhD funding scheme enables me to do a 3 month placement in industry in a company not directly related to my field of study. For my placement I knew that I wanted to see how I can apply my plant science knowledge in industry and so I came across SilviBio and began interning as a plant and soil science intern.

I am currently nearly 2 months into my 3 month internship and I have learnt a lot! Typically in my PhD I do small scale experiments on Arabidopsis thaliana in a growth cabinet where the time of year does not affect my experiments. Whereas at SilviBio I’ve been able to experience preparations for a field trial season. Typically, in Scotland, Sitka Spruce and Scots Pine are sown in spring and then planted out in mid-summer so all of SilviBio’s large-scale experimental work is concentrated into this time of year.

When not assisting with the preparation of growing media for field trials I have been helping with the research and development of the SilviBio products: PeatNoMore and SilviBio

Transplanting Aid. Both of these products build on the need to move away from peat containing growing media, but aim to reproduce peat’s useful characteristics. This means that growers will be able to get the benefits of peat without the negative environmental impacts of actually using peat. In this work I have learnt how to measure various soil parameters such as bulk density, water holding capacity, pH and electrical conductivity. I have also been able to apply my plant photobiology skills in growing some marigolds!

When not in the lab, I have learnt a lot about patents and organisational skills such as experiment tracking and making my documents accessible and understandable to co-workers. I think that the best thing about SilviBio is the friendly team working atmosphere and the attention to detail in making sure that everyone is happy.


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