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Student research into destructive weed

Japanese Knotweed Solutions Ltd. (JKSL) is a relatively young company with offices in Manchester, London, Glasgow and since September 2007, the Lancaster Environment Centre. The company specialises in the eradication of Japanese Knotweed, an alien invasive species with an aggressive growth pattern, capable of exposing weaknesses in hard engineered structures such as concrete, tarmac and brick walls.

JKSL was keen to explore current research avenues to produce a quick, salient and up-to-date reference document. The company was particularly interested in the literature pertaining to the productiveness and spread of the plant, and the implications of associated control measures. Recognising the value of utilising an objective, dedicated and high-calibre Graduate Consultant to undertake the review, the company made contact with the LEC.

The team at LEC allocated the project to Environmental Scientist Anthony Plumb, to complete over a 5 week period. Anthony explored a significant array of literature for the project, primarily academic journal articles accessed through online sources and the University's comprehensive library.

Anthony presented the company with a comprehensive review document, synthesising the research literature relating to their interests. It is envisaged that the review will be used by the company as a quick and straightforward consultation document, in situations where time is necessarily limited. Dr. Emma Morley, Research Coordinator of the company commented 'Anthony was very thorough and produced a really useful document, giving me further ideas on how to extend my research interests in the field'.

Given the success of the project undertaken by Anthony, the company is collaborating further with the team, a second project is now ongoing involving the use of Geographic Information Systems (computer-based mapping software) to map the spread of Japanese Knotweed through time across the UK.

Regarding the graduate consultancy programme Dr. Emma Morley added: 'It forms an essential link between business and academia and allows potential employers access to high calibre graduates, both for immediate commercial benefit and is likely to forge relationships that will continue to have an impact in the longer term'.

For further infomation contact David Ainsworth on 01524 510 586.

Fri 18 July 2008