Perennial ryegrass is the most important crop species in Ireland and New Zealand, and both Teagasc and AgResearch are engaged in efforts to breed improved varieties. Genomic selection is a form of marker-assisted selection where molecular markers covering the entire genome are used to generate breeding values for individual plants. In both Ireland and New Zealand, efforts are already underway to use genomic selection to speed up the rate of genetic gain in perennial ryegrass breeding. The PhD student will work to develop bioinformatics workflows and novel statistical methodologies to improve the accuracies of using genomic data to predict breeding values.
Requirements: Applicants should have a good primary degree (First or Second Class Honours) or M.Sc. in an appropriate discipline (Statistics, Bioinformatics, and Quantitative Genetics etc.) and have a strong mathematical literacy. Applications from candidates with a background in plant or animal breeding are encouraged. The successful candidate should be highly self-motivated and be prepared to travel between New Zealand and Ireland during the course of the PhD fellowship.
Award: The PhD Fellowship is a joint research project between Teagasc, Oak Park, Ireland, and AgResearch, New Zealand. The student will be registered at Massey University, working under the supervision of Dr. Zulfi Jahufer and Dr Vaughan Symonds in association with AgResearch supervisors (Dr. Ken Dodds, Dr. Marty Faville, and Dr. Jeanne Jacobs) and Teagasc supervisors (Dr. Dan Milbourne and Dr. Stephen Byrne). The fellowship provides a stipend of Euro22,000 for 4 years. University fees are paid by the student from the stipend.
Application Procedure: Submit an electronic copy of Curriculum Vitae and a letter of interest (as a single file) simultaneously to: Dr Dan Milbourne (dan.milbourne-at-teagasc.ie) and Dr Zulfi Jahufer (zulfi.jahufer-at-agresearch.co.nz ), quoting the reference number (2016116 ) in the subject field.
Closing date: November 25, 2016 or until a suitable candidate is found.