high school
Naturally, education and engaging people with our research is important to us. There are now 34 PhD students completing research related to forested landscapes (see Doctoral Research below). We offer a Doctoral Scholarship Programme called Forest Edge. Through Forest Edge we are supporting 18 students to follow their passion for interdisciplinary research. 

We see the value in engaging with the future generation of practitioners and researchers and as such we are investing time and financial resource into developing online resources for Schools, Colleges and Universities as well as wider stakeholder groups (see more information below). Our virtual tour of the BIFoR FACE facility has proven to be a hit in particular with teachers and school students and has received over 40,000 visitors.  We also offer the opportunity for University students to engage with our research through offering primary data collection opportunities and /or secondary data / samples for dissertation topics and the chance to volunteer with us (See 'Undergraduate' below). 



 new virtual BIFoR


Doctoral Research

There are now  48 PhD students completing research related to forested landscapes, fourteen of which are working on research directly linked to the BIFoR FACE facility.  Details of the projects underway are available on our Doctoral Research page. 

BIFoR advertise doctoral research opportunities through the year. Opportunities are also listed on the University of Birmingham Doctoral ReSEARCHer Database and FindAPhD.  Did you know there is no a new "Forestry" filter? 


Opportunities arise annually through the Central England NERC Training Alliance (CENTA) CENTA is a consortium of Universities and research institutes that are working together to provide excellence in doctoral research training. Funded by The Natural Environment Research Council.  CENTA is a consortium of Universities and research institutes that are working together to provide excellence in doctoral research training. Funded by The Natural Environment Research Council.  New opportunities are being advertised now. The forested landscape positions are:  

CENTA PhD studenships related to trees currently available are listed below and many more are advertised on the CENTA website

I. Can a tree remember a drought? Understanding the mechanisms of tree memory

II. Impact of CO2 rise on root, leaf and wood production: the future of tree C allocation

III. Forest diversity, dynamics and resilience in a changing world

IV. Response of temperate forests to fertilization: implications for climate change mitigation

V. Target methane: modelling terrestrial exchange of a major Paris agreement greenhouse gas


The Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership Doctoral Programme  

MIBTP currently available PhD studentships related to trees are listed below and many more plant science opportunities  are availble online

I) Identifying genetic regulators of reproductive transitions in evolutionarily-divergent trees to facilitate rapid breeding

II) Impact of increasing environmental CO2 on plant immunity

Forest Edge Doctoral Scholarship programme

The Forest Edge Doctoral Scholarship programme offers 20 Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships at the University of Birmingham. September 2020 sees 7 new students join the current cohort of 9 doctoral students. Check back in January when we will be advertising som more positions. 

Dual Award with University of Western Sydney

BIFoR has opportunities for Dual Award PhDs with the University of Western Sydney.  The latest opportunities have just recently closed but future opportunities will be listed here.  Academic staff from BIFoR and University of Western Sydney will work together to develop projects and identify potential supervisors from each institution.  Students can split their research between BIFoR FACE and EucFACE.



BIFoR do not currently offer any taught research postgraduate courses.  However, students interested in our research themes may like to consider some of the courses listed below. More and more masters students are choosing to complete their dissertation topic with data from / samples from the BIFoR FACE Facility

For example, Sam Walrond, took the opportunity to work alongside Angeliki Kourmouli and Dr Rebecca Bartlett to look at "Soil Water Cation Chemistry Under Elevated CO2 Conditions at BIFoR FACE" and Nina Karvik looked at 'Changes in the leaf chemistry of Oak trees under elevated CO2 conditions at BIFoR FACE'

Currently some of the students enrolled in these courses are volunteering with BIFoR and/or using the BIFoR FACE facility for their end of year project.

MSc in Applied Meteorology and Climatology

MSc in Environmental Health

PG Dip/ MSc in Air Pollution Management and Control

MSc in River Environments and their Management

MSc Toxicology

MRes Molecular Mechanistic Toxicology


In collaboration with the Higher Education Futures Institute (HEFI) team BIFoR have developed a 'Virtual BIFoR FACE' site. Visitors to the site can explore the BIFoR FACE facility (see image below), clicking on the yellow dots will either provide written information or a video about the experiment they can see. Clicking on a question mark leads to an education resource such as a dendrometer dataset investigating how elevated CO2 affects tree growth or a task looking at how fungal pathogens will respond to climate change. It is an exciting opportunity to engage schools and other members of the public who may not be able to visit the FACE site. More and more datasets are being added and we hope these will become integrated into UoB undergraduate courses in time. 

Students at the University of Birmingham might like to consider the module Critical Issues for 21st Century Ecosystems if they are interested in the work of BIFoR as there are clear links. 

Students are also offered the opportunity to Volunteer with BIFoR.  This has proven popular for many students. We have students that volunteer with us in year 1 who will sometimes then complete their dissertation topic in a related area.  Students also receive a reference and reward from BIFoR for their time. We have some lovely examples of students that have volunteered with us, then found work with us afterwards. 

A Level / GCSE including Teaching Resources

In collaboration with the Higher Education Futures Institute (HEFI) team BIFoR have developed a number of teaching materials around the water and carbon cycles.

The resources are available, on our 'Virtual BIFoR' site. Visitors to the site can explore the BIFoR FACE facility at their own pace, clicking on the arrows to move forward, and on the numbered dots to find out more information. The current educational resources available are: 

i) a resource to teach students about transpiration using sap flow information taken from instruments installed in the BIFoR FACE woodland
ii) a resource to teach students about plant cell organisation / photosynthetic reaction / how plants use glucose using measurements of tree growth from dendrometers installed in the BIFoR FACE woodland 
iii) a resource to teach students about infection and response in particular the fungal disease Rose black spot using images of sycamore leaves collected from the leaf litter traps at the BIFoR FACE woodland. 

It is an exciting opportunity to engage schools and other members of the public who may not be able to visit the FACE site. More and more datasets and teacher notes / lessons plans will be added. 

A useful podcast recording regarding water and the carbon cycle is available and more resources are being worked on. Links to more podcasts and videos are available on our social media webpage.

The Geography Education Online website created by the Geographical Association (GA), for students studying for GCSE geography, A level geography or equivalent qualificationslevel Geography students hold regular online lectures. Dr Phil Jones gave a recent lecture entitled Rethinking nature in cities | Geography Education Online  This lecture explores two case studies of how working with the natural environment can bring great benefits to those living in cities. The first example examines the role of sustainable drainage in flood mitigation. The second examines the health benefits created by exposure to green spaces.

We have previously also given tours of the BIFoR FACE facility to school groups who are able to make the journey to the facility in Staffordshire. If you would be interested in learning more about a visit or to book a visit please contact Deanne Brettle on 

Our Chair in Tree Pathology, Prof Rob Jackson, has also contributed to a comic "Luna and the Microbes."    

Further great teaching resources linked to forests are available on the Sylva Foundation website. BIFoR are part of the Forestry Skills Forum which, lead by the Sylva Foundation, helped to develop these resources.  The Forum is dedicated to promoting education, skills, learning and development across the forestry sector in England and Wales. A further resource the Forum is proud of is a new forestry careers website. There are number of great videos to watch including interviews with a people involved in a variety of roles.   

new virtual BIFoR



new virtual BIFoR updated