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Modelling methane emission from dairy herds under different management strategies

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Animal Science programme. The position is available from 1 December 2021 or later.

Modelling methane emission from dairy herds under different management strategies

Research area and project description:
Almost 40% of the total greenhouse gas emissions from Danish agriculture are methane emissions from dairy cows, and methane makes up more than 50% of the climate footprint from milk. The Danish milk production can be a model for other countries if Denmark can find climate solutions that are effective in reducing the farm's total greenhouse gas emissions and in an economic perspective. The individual dairy herd's production and management system is a central and necessary subsystem in being able to understand and quantify the total Danish climate impact for the production of milk and meat. The main activity of the PhD project is to develop a new herd model to simulate the technical and economic consequences of management measures to reduce the climate footprint of dairy herds. The starting point is the existing SimHerd model, however, there is a need for significant developments. The development involves a new model for the cow's emission of enteric methane with the use of variables, which ensure that the model can be included in a life cycle assessment. Furthermore, it involves model development and parameterization for simulation of management measures that reduce the climate footprint. Herd modelling is the State of the Art method of aggregating effects at the individual animal level to effects at the herd level for a dairy herd. The purpose of the project is to analyse and document what the choice of management strategy means for the individual dairy herd's climate footprint. The aim is to develop a model for the herd's emission of enteric methane under different management strategies.

The PhD candidate will use methods which are based on system analysis, normative mechanistic modelling, parameterization (literature review, knowledge and results from contemporary projects, as well as expert knowledge), validation, simulation of scenarios and analysis of simulated results. The PhD project is an integrated part of a research project involving experts in modelling, herd management, enteric emission and Life Cycle Assessment. The PhD candidate will work in the “Health” research group in the department of Animal Science with Professor Søren Østergaard as main supervisor. The PhD candidate will also be involved in teaching activities in bachelor and master courses related to his/her expertise. The vacant position is full-time job.

Qualifications and specific competences:
We are looking for talented and enthusiastic applicants with a Master’s degree in Animal Science, Biology, Computer Science, Data science, Economics or another discipline with a relevant specialization. Analytical and critical thinking as well as motivation for modelling is essential to pursuing a PhD. Further requirements are English fluency, good reporting skills and being able to work independently.

Place of employment and place of work:
The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is Department of Animal Science, Blichers Allé 20, DK- 8830 Tjele, Denmark. 

Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:
Professor Søren Østergaard, soren.ostergaard@anis.au.dk

How to apply:
Please follow this link to submit your application. Application deadline is 30 September 2021 23:59 . Preferred starting date is 1 December 2021.

For information about application requirements and mandatory attachments, please see our application guide.

Shortlisting will be used, which means that the evaluation committee only will evaluate the most relevant applications.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. Salary and terms of employment are in accordance with applicable collective agreement.

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.

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