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 November 2023 or later. Title: PhD in Seed crops – yield components

Research area and project description: Seed yield is a trait of major interest for forage and turf grass species and has received increasing attention since seed multiplication is economically relevant for novel grass cultivars to compete commercially.  Although seed yield is a complex trait and affected by agricultural practices as well as environmental factors, traits related to seed production reveal considerable genetic variation, prerequisite for improvement by direct or indirect selection.

The yield components in grass seed crops are identified as: The number of reproductive tillers, the number of florets per tiller and their success in producing a seed (floret site utilisation, FSU), seed weight and seed retention. A recent PhD-project identified pollination success and seed development as a major limiting factor for grass seed yield.

The PhD project will (1) study and identify traits of major importance for seed yield in perennial ryegrass and (2) develop methods for analysing and unravelling how seed yield components interact under variable environmental conditions (drought, high temperature etc.). The student will also take on analysing the data via structural equation modelling (SEM) as well as general and generalised mixed effects models. 

We have already established 300 accessions of perennial ryegrass and collected data for two years, when the project starts. The project has active collaboration from plant breeders and the candidate will have the possibility to link up with the plant breeding community.

Project description: For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. Applicants are strongly encouraged to add a brief project description (max 2 pages) describing own ideas and research plan for this specific project based on the project description outlined above. If you do not wish to make your own project description, please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application.

As PhD. Student at Department of Agroecology you will meet a workplace characterized by professionalism and equality and you will be offered competent supervision, well-developed research infrastructure and modern laboratories. You will be embedded in the research team of seed science and technology and precision farming comprising 16-18 members of academic and technical staff, PhD- and master students.

You will be part of the section on Crop Health at Department of Agroecology. The unit employs approximately 40 staff, focusing on the optimization of crop production from genetic, agronomic and environmental perspectives. Within these areas we carry out research, collaborate with industry, and contribute to teaching of bachelor and master students. The unit has a strong international profile through participation in many international projects. Additionally, the unit has a long experience in providing policy advice to public authorities.

We offer:

  • an exciting interdisciplinary environment with many national and international collaborators
  • a work environment with close working relationships, networking and social activities
  • a workplace characterised by professionalism, equality and a healthy work-life balance
  • a research climate encouraging lively, open and critical discussion within and across different fields of research

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:

The successful candidate has a Master’s degree in agrobiology or biology preferably with specialization in crop science, and basic knowledge of and skills for phenotyping and statistical analyses. Good communication skills and an interest in working in an interdisciplinary research group is expected.

  • Experience with studies in crop science
  • Good laboratory skills and interest in field work
  • Experience with plant physiology
  • Understanding principles of components involved in the formation of seed yield
  • Motivation for academic writing
  • Experience or interest in methods for phenotyping
  • Willingness to learn statistical modeling and methodologyAbility to work independently
  • Fluent English – written and spoken

Place of employment and place of work: The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is Department of Agroecology, Research Centre Flakkebjerg, Forsøgsvej 1, 4200 Slagelse, Denmark.

Contacts: Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

How to apply:

Please follow this link to submit your application. Application deadline is 1 September 2023 at 23:59 CEST. Preferred starting date is 1 November 2023.

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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