Teagasc PhD Walsh Fellowship, On-farm grass and clover variety evaluation systems in Ireland

TEAGASC PHD WALSH FELLOWSHIP OPPORTUNITY  “On-farm grass and clover variety evaluation systems in Ireland”
Ref 2017207

Food Wise 2025 targets growth in exports to €19 billion per annum by 2025. This figure represents an 85% increase from the current three year average. Ireland brings the natural advantage of a temperate climate to food production which favours ruminant grass based productions systems. This project will focus on assisting the achievement of number of the key competitiveness objectives, ensuring clear focus on improving the evaluation of grass and clover varieties, increasing grassland management knowledge gaps, focussing on developing new technologies to achieve higher grass utilization on commercial farms. This project will underpin Ireland’s competitive advantage in terms of low cost milk and meat production from grazed grass by 1) establishing clear criteria around the analysis on-farm perennial ryegrass and clover variety evaluation protocols, and 2) using both on-farm variety evaluation to establish a more robust national grass and clover variety selection index. Within grassland research, there is little commercial grassland farmer feedback to evaluators, grass breeders and researchers in relation to how individual grass or clover varieties perform in grass based production systems. To ensure clear grass and clover breeding goals that are deliverable to the wider grassland industry, there must be a clear method of analysing genetic gain at farm level, and grassland farmers must have strong, direct links with breeders, agronomists, animal nutritionists and animal production research scientists. There has been a growing requirement to establish an innovative project to quantitatively measure grass and clover variety performance at commercial farm level, ensure that this data is used in the generation of national grass and clover selection indices. This project will challenge current knowledge gaps and generate new thinking, and will ensure new threshold production levels for grass DM production and quality will be introduced into grass and clover breeding and evaluation, such as variety lifetime performance.

The PhD programme will involve further training in experimental design, data and statistical analysis, scientific writing amongst other modules as appropriate. The experimentation is largely with commercial farms involved in the national monoculture trial, followed by an analysis period in Teagasc Moorepark. There will be opportunities to present your finding at the national and international scientific stage.
Applications are invited from graduates holding a first or 2.1 class honours degree or M.Sc. in an appropriate discipline (Agricultural Science, Plant Science, Agronomy or related). The successful candidate should be highly self-motivated and be prepared for laboratory work and periods of field work with modern analytical equipment. A full EU driving licence is essential.
The PhD Fellowship is a joint research project between Teagasc, Moorepark; and University College Dublin (UCD). The student will be working under the supervision of Drs Michael O’ Donovan (Teagasc) and Dr Bridget Lynch (UCD). The Fellowship provides an annual stipend of €22,000. Tuition fees are paid from this stipend, which is tenable for 4 years.
Further Information/Applications
Dr Michael O’Donovan, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland;
Phone +353 (0)25 42395; email: michael.odonovan@teagasc.ie
Dr Bridget Lynch, School of Agriculture & Food Science, UCD, Dublin, Ireland;
Phone +353 (0)1 7167769 email: Bridget.Lynch@ucd.ie
Application Procedure
Applicants should submit a CV and covering letter detailing their qualifications and experience to Michael O’Donovan (michael.odonovan@teagasc.ie) and Bridget Lynch (Bridget.Lynch@ucd.ie)
Closing date 5pm, May 7th 2019

Updated: 8th May 2019 — 12:40 pm