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Phd Walsh Scholarship in Plant Breeding and Genetics (Teagasc)

Are you interested in finding solution to one of the most important skin blemish diseases in potatos? For instance by identify the genetic loci underlying …

3 maanden geleden


Droevendaalsesteeg, Wageningen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur


Are you interested in finding solution to one of the most important skin blemish diseases in potatos? For instance by identify the genetic loci underlying resistance derived from several sources, using a variety of genetic mapping approaches? Do you want to stay for a while in Ireland? Then this could be the perfect PhD opportunity for you!

Genetics of Common Scab Resistance in Potato, towards resistant varieties
(Walsh Scholarships Ref Number 2021053)

Applications are invited for a full-time PhD research position funded by Teagasc, in collaboration with Plant Breeding, Wageningen University and Research. The successful candidate will be primarily based at the Crops Research Department Teagasc Ireland.

Background / Research description
Common scab (CS) caused by Streptomyces spp. is globally ubiquitous in potato and one of the most important skin blemish diseases. Losses of up to €5000 per ha are common due to loss of quality premiums in both ware and high value seed crops. Current control by irrigation and site selection are expensive and unsustainable in the long term. Resistant varieties are the most effective and sustainable control measure.

While resistant varieties have been available for many years most commercially grown varieties are susceptible indicating associated deleterious traits. Significant evidence from the literature suggests there are several effective and heritable resistance sources in the existing cultivated gene pool and from wild species.

This project seeks to exploit existing resources and knowledge to identify the genetic loci underlying resistance derived from several sources, including older varieties, modern cultivars and cultivated and wild diploid species, using a variety of genetic mapping approaches. The project will develop easily deployable, cost effective genetic markers to enable marker assisted selection (MAS) of these loci, and validate their use in the routine MAS workflow of the commercial breeding programme at Teagasc. Finally, the project will validate the effectiveness of the resistance sources by testing their broadness of effect across a range of scab-causing S. scabies species and pathotypes.

By integrating this existing information with cutting edge MAS-based approaches, the project seeks for the first time to develop a resource base (known diploid and tetraploid sources, markers for specific resistance loci) and systematic pathway for the routine development of CS resistant potato varieties. This pathway will form the basis of the future development of resistant varieties using both current conventional approaches and through innovative breeding approaches being developed by Teagasc and plant Breeding, WUR in collaboration with other European potato breeders.

The doctoral candidate will be supervised jointly by Dr. Herman Van Eck and Professor Richard Visser (Wageningen University & Research), Dr. Denis Griffin and Dr. Dan Milbourne (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow). The successful candidate will be principally located at the Teagasc Crop Science Department in Carlow and will be registered as a PhD student at Plant Breeding, Wageningen University & Research with periodic stays there for course work, supervisory meetings and specialist laboratory work.


PhD candidate requirements
We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD candidate who will meet the following aspects:
  • Experienced in molecular plant-microbe interactions, genetics, bio-informatics and has affinity with plant phenotyping;
  • very good teamwork abilities;
  • excellent English language proficiency (a minimum of CEFR C2 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page.


The scholarship funding is €24,000 per annum and includes University fees of up to a maximum of €6,000 per annum and is tenable for 4 years.

We offer a 4-year PhD position starting from October 2021. The PhD student will become part of a team that includes other PhD students, postdocs, and research technicians. The PhD student will also participate in the WUR graduate school of Experimental Plant Sciences, which offers opportunities for courses supporting scientific as well as personal and professional development.
You can find all the entry requirements at WUR PhD programme.

Additional information

For further information about the project, please contact Dr. Denis Griffin (Denis Griffin@teagasc.ie) or Prof. Richard Visser (richard.visser@wur.nl)

Application Procedure
Applications should be sent by email to Denis.Griffin@teagasc.ie and Richard.Visser@wur.nl with "Genetics of Common Scab PhD." in the subject line.

Applications should include the following:
  • a covering letter and CV;
  • names and contact details of two academic referees.
The closing date for applications is Friday the 20th of August 2021 with expected interviews in early September.