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PhD position on using tannin-rich species to increase the sustainability of ruminant based production systems

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 July 2023 or later.

PhD position on using tannin-rich species to increase the sustainability of ruminant based production systems

Research area and project description:
Grasslands are invaluable to enhance the sustainability of agricultural production by providing ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration. Additionally, when being feed for ruminants, grass is converted into human edible protein and reduces food-feed competition. However, in the process ruminants produce methane. Thus, an ideal solution is the design of grasslands that reduce enteric methane and yet maintain or increase ecosystem services. This project will evaluate the potential of including tannin rich forages (Sanguisorba minor and Lotus pedunculatus) in grasslands to reduce methane emissions from ruminants and simultaneously increase soil organic carbon stabilization with tannins that are excreted via rhizodeposition. The project will focus on why previous results have been highly variable and aims at understanding the mode of actions from tannins, using an innovative system approach using biochemistry, ruminant nutrition, soil science and genetics.

The PhD candidate will screen the plants for their genetic variability, using next generation sequencing approaches, as well as for their variability in tannin concentrations and structures using UPLC-MS/MS analyses. Furthermore, the candidate will determine genotype x environment interactions using simulated drought stress. While the project focusses on the screening of the genome and biochemical profile, an understanding of either plant-soil or plant-animal interactions is beneficial.

The PhD project is funded as part of the DFF Sapere Aude grant “FunctionalForage - Using tannins to reduce the climate impact of ruminant livestock production systems”.

Project description: For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. Please simply copy the project description above and upload it as a PDF in the application.

Qualifications and specific competences:
The applicants must have a M.Sc. degree (120 ECTS) in Soil Science, Agronomy, Environmental Science, Animal nutrition, Ecology, or closely related fields. Demonstrated oral and written communication skills in English are required.

A basic understanding of plant-soil, or plant-animal interactions is an advantage. Previous background in the practical implementation of agricultural or agroecological experiments is also a benefit.

The applicant must be able to present results at international conferences and publish in international peer-reviewed journals. The applicant should be enthusiastic about working in an international and interdisciplinary academic environment. Applications from women and people from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged.

Place of employment and place of work:
The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is Blichers Allé 20, Postboks 50, 8830 Tjele.

Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

How to apply:
Please follow this link to submit your application. Application deadline is 15 April 2023 23:59 . Preferred starting date is 1 July 2023.

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

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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