Applications are invited for a full-time PhD fellowship at the Department of Crop Science the School of Agriculture, University of Cape Coast (UCC) in collaboration with Aarhus University, Denmark. The position is available from September 2020 to October 2024.

Genotype screening of vegetables for drought and heat tolerance for the development of climate resilience crops

Project background

Vegetable production in Ghana is increasing in many areas because of excess local demand. Vegetable production, therefore, plays important socio-economic roles such as income generation, while at the same time providing much-needed nutrients for rural and urban dwellers. Thus, it has a high potential for reducing food and nutrition insecurity, and also to generate employment for smallholder farmers in Ghana. Despite these advantages, vegetable production is constrained by several factors including unimproved genotypes, drought and heat stress, the prevalence of pests and diseases and declining soil fertility, all being exacerbated by climate change. Climate change resilience in crop production could be approached through a number of non-mutually exclusive routes, including screening and identifying germplasm with abiotic and biotic stress tolerance. 

This PhD position is embedded in a project where UCC and Aarhus University are leading partners. The PhD student will thus have access to a wide range of training and qualification measures that are offered by these partners. The aim of this PhD project is to develop greenhouse and controlled environment-based protocols to rapidly screen and select from a large number of vegetable genotypes for tolerance to heat and drought stress based on various plant morphological and physiological parameters. You will also use genetic resources and bespoke root phenotyping technologies to determine the root architecture and activity of plants grown under the greenhouse and other conditions.

Your job will include: 

•    The development of a hypothesis, specific objectives and design of experiments and timelines;
•    The conduct of greenhouse and controlled environment experiments to measure the effect of drought and heat stress on vegetables;
•    The selection of a subset of lines from a large dataset of vegetables for subsequent field trials;
•    The designing of protocols to phenotype root growth and architecture, shoot growth, and measure physiological and morphological responses to imposed heat and drought stress;
•    The collaboration with the other PhD students and members in this project; 
•    The writing of publications and giving presentations to members of this project and to the broader scientific community;

The profile of the potential candidate should include:

•    A MPhil / M.Sc in Agriculture, Crop Science, Biology, Botany, Ecology, or a related field of study. A Mphil / M.Sc candidate in the aforementioned disciplines who has submitted his/her thesis, waiting for graduation and would have graduated before the commencement of the project in August 2020 may be considered; 
•    Experience in an academic or a research institution with a strong motivation for academic learning and scientific excellence;
•    Knowledge of plant nutrition, soil-plant interactions, or root physiology;
•    Some experience with root phenotyping and root system architecture studies;
•    Enjoy working in an international and interdisciplinary context;
•    Good English writing and presentation skills and the zeal to develop further;
•    An understanding of basic statistics will be an advantage.

Interested candidates should submit a motivation (maximum 2 pages), copies of their CV, certificates and transcripts and 2 references to the Head of Department of Crop Science by e-mail: and cc: by March 20, 2020.

The position is part of the project “Building vegetable farmers resilience to climate change” funded by the DANIDA. 

Age limit is 35 years

Only shortlisted applicants would be contacted for an interview.