PhD Position in RESPONSE (ESR 08): Towards improving forage productivity under future climates

100%, Zurich, temporary

Within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 847585, ETH Zurich is offering a 36-month PhD position for an early-stage researchers (ESR) in in the area of sustainable food systems.

Job description

We are looking for a doctoral student working in the Molecular Plant Breeding group at ETH Zurich. The ESR will work towards the development of a high-throughput method to phenotypically describe the response of forage grasses to water deficit. This method will then be applied to predict the agronomic performance of breeding germplasm under drought stress in the field. By combining drought stress data with state-of-the-art DNA marker technology, the ERS will lay the foundation of genomics-assisted breeding concepts to improve drought tolerance in the most important forage grass species of the genera Lolium and Festuca.

A planned secondment of twelve months at Barenbrug Tourneur Recherches in Mas Grenier (France) is part of this project. During this secondment, the ESR will evaluate the correlation of lab-based data with agronomic performance in field nurseries. To achieve this, the ESR will be working closely with plant breeders, providing best opportunities to exploit the results for practical breeding. Barenbrug Tourneur Recherches offers excellent facilities and expertise for this, namely; rainout shelters to evaluate field performance, pollination control and seed multiplication equipment.

The results of this project are expected to be communicated in scientific journals. In addition, participation at international symposia will enable the ESR to interact with a broad range of stakeholders from different countries representing universities, research institutes, advisory bodies and private companies.

We are offering an interesting position with practical experience in plant phenotyping, molecular genetics, crop modelling, quantitative genetics and plant breeding, at the interface of science and policy. While working in an international, interdisciplinary and innovative research environment at ETH Zurich, the ESR will be jointly co-supervised by Prof. Dr. Bruno Studer (ETH Zurich) and Dr. Stephane Charrier (Royal Barenbrug Group).

The successful candidate with the qualifications necessary to fulfill the tasks described above will be matriculated and have a working contract with ETH Zurich. The complete 36 months will be under 100% working contracts. Expected starting date is February 1, 2020.

This program offers a three-year full-time position according to the PhD salary regulations of ETH Zurich and according to EU regulations for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researchers. The gross salary will not be lower than CHF 3920.

RESPONSE Doctoral Programme (DP) «RESPONSE - to society and policy needs through plant, food and energy sciences» is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 847585. RESPONSE DP builds on the academic expertise of three world-leading institutions - ETH Zurich, University of Zurich and University of Basel. The successful candidate will be integrated in the research network and infrastructure of the internationally renowned competence center Energy Science Center.

All RESPONSE ESRs will follow the PSC PhD Program Science and Policy that is unique in its kind. Through the curriculum of this program, ESR will be trained in the communication of scientific evidence to policy-makers and the public; the involvement of different stakeholder groups as well as in policy development and endorsement in Europe and at global scale.

Your profile

RESPONSE is open to applicants of any nationality.

We are looking for a motivated, outgoing person. To perform successfully, potential candidates should have strong interest in: plant breeding, quantitative genetics and statistics. Good writing and communication skills are also essential. In addition, skills in R statistical environment are desirable.

Language requirement: English / Proficient oral and written English skills are expected. French and/or German is desirable.

Main Research Field: Quantitative genetics

Sub Research Field: statistics, applied plant breeding

Eligibility: Early stage researcher in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers, including the period of research training, starting at the date of obtaining the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the initial training activities are provided.

At the time of recruitment (for call 1 = December 1, 2019) by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the reference date. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
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For submitting your online application, select PhD program Science and Policy. The online application should contain all information as indicated by the application portal. Moreover, the following documents have to be uploaded under “further documents”: 1) a letter of motivation to join a) RESPONSE DP and b) to apply for a specific positon (Project title), 2) a comprehensive CV, and 3) transcripts of records. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

For project, programme and application details, For questions and further information on the position, please contact Prof. Dr. Bruno Studer (no applications).

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