Applicants are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Agroecology programme. The position is available from 1 January 2024 or later. Title: PhD in Exploring Agronomy and Sustainability of Multipurpose Perennial Grain Crops

Research area and project description: In the pursuit of urgent sustainable intensification, modern agriculture faces the challenge of transitioning to climate-friendly, diversified, and resource-efficient systems for food, feed, and energy production. Perennial grain crops are emerging as a promising solution, as they require fewer inputs and possess deep-rooted systems, making them more sustainable. However, due to their relatively lower grain yield, it is anticipated that several more decades of breeding efforts will be needed before they can fully replace annual grain crops.

In the meantime, an alternative approach is to cultivate perennial grain crops for “multipurpose” applications, aiming not only to produce grains but also to harness their biomass for applications such as biorefinery, protein source, and forage production.

This PhD project will potentially work on the aspects in regards to perennial grain cropping as listed (but not limited to) based on the interests of the PhD candidate:

  • Developing innovative agronomic practices for effective biomass harvest and nutrient management of perennial grain crops.
  • Investigating the impact of shoot removal on crop physiology, closely examining shoot recovery and root growth dynamics using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and below-ground sampling techniques.
  • Exploring grain productivity and potential uses of biomass materials for multipurpose applications.
  • Determining carbon sequestration and GHG emission reduction potential by perennial grain cropping

 To achieve these goals, the PhD candidate will involve collaboration with researchers from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the AU for processing and analyzing UAV-based datasets. Furthermore, cooperation with the Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering (BCE) will be essential for bio-refining processes aimed at extracting protein concentrates.

This PhD opportunity offers a unique chance to contribute to the development of sustainable agriculture by advancing the understanding of agronomic practices for perennial grain crops and their potential multipurpose applications.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work closely with interdisciplinary teams, utilize cutting-edge technologies, and generate novel datasets that will be used to model the productivity and sustainability of multipurpose perennial crops under various weather and soil conditions.

Project description (½-4 pages) This document should describe your ideas and research plans for this specific project. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found.

Qualifications and specific competences:

Applicants must have a relevant Master’s degree within agronomy, biology, engineering or similar. Good analytical skills of processes as well as on the holistic system evaluationare required. Furthermore, one or more of the following will count positive:

  • Strong understanding of agronomic principles in both annual and perennial cropping systems
  • Demonstrated interest in managing and participation in fieldwork
  • Familiarity with soil/root sampling procedures for C investigations
  • Experience in handling and analyzing data from diverse sources
  • Interest in capturing and processing drone imagery
  • Affinity with modeling, such as crop/carbon modeling
  • Motivation for academic writing and ability to effectively communicate research findings
  • Proven ability to work independently and take initiative in research projects

Place of employment and place of work: The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is AU Viborg, Blichers Allé 20, Dk-8830 Tjele.

Contacts: Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

How to apply:

Please follow this link to submit your application. Application deadline is 25 August 2023 at 23:59 CEST. Preferred starting date is 1 January 2024.

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.
  • Shortlisting will be used, which means that the evaluation committee only will evaluate the most relevant applications.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants. All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. Salary and terms of employment are in accordance with applicable collective agreement.   

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