|Scholarship Sponsor||ETH Zurich|
|Scholarships level||PhD Position|
|Fellowship Period||Three years|
|Study area||Computational Biology or Plant Sciences|
|Opening date||February 25, 2021|
|Closing date||July 01, 2021|
Within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 847585, ETH Zurich offers a 36-month PhD position early-stage researcher (ESR) in the area of sustainable food systems.
Genomic selection (GS) is a powerful method to increase selection efficiency and genetic gain in crop breeding. New machine and deep learning approaches are set to revolutionise the data input structure for GS model development and the resulting prediction accuracy. We are looking for applicants to a doctorate position on “Genomic Selection 2.0: Developing Targeted vs Universal Machine Learning Approaches for Improving the Rate of Genetic Gain in Crop Species”.
The doctoral candidate will be investigating the power of GS in multiple crops and drive the discovery of trends, statistical models, and machine learning algorithms and their implementation in a plant breeding setting. The species proposed in this study from Puregene and the Molecular Plant Breeding group of ETH Zurich are apple (Malus Domestica L. Borkh), common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and flower as well as hemp type cannabis (Cannabis sativa L). During the project, the ESR will
(i) Develop different statistical models for multiple species with given datasets, which will provide in-depth knowledge on the requirements for datasets to maximise prediction accuracy and how other models work for different data structures
(ii) Establish machine learning approaches and compare them to linear models
(iii) Improve existing datasets using high-resolution phenotyping, genome phasing or targeted resequencing of specific genome regions
A planned secondment of nine months at Puregene (https://puregene.pureholding.ch/) in Zeiningen, Switzerland, is part of this project. Under Maximilian Vogt’s supervision, head of Plant Breeding at Puregene AG, the ESR will collect phenotypic (field and glasshouse) and genotypic data. The successful candidate is expected to produce quality research to be published in an open-access, peer-reviewed journal relevant to the area, as well as communication within the network of Puregene.
We are offering an exciting position at the interface of science and policy. While working in an international, interdisciplinary and innovative research environment at ETH Zurich, the ESR will be jointly co-supervised by the group Molecular Plant Breeding at ETH Zurich and Puregene AG.
The entire 36 months will be under a 100% working contract.
The PhD salary follows ETH Zurich’s regulations and will be according to EU regulations for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researchers. The monthly gross salary will not be lower than CHF 3920.
Expected starting date of the working contract: 01.10.2021.
The deadline for applications is July 01, 2021
To perform successfully, potential candidates should have:
- A master’s degree in Computational Biology or Plant Sciences/Plant Breeding with a strong background in Computational Biology
- Experience in using genomic technologies to analyse and model complex traits
- Knowledge on multi-variate genomic prediction for crop breeding, ideally combined with the ability to develop software and run software packages appropriate for analysis of large data sets including multiple layers of genomic, phenotypic and environmental data
- Skills to apply genetic and phenotypic data simulation methodology to evaluate prediction accuracies of models and complement empirical statistical analysis methodology
- Thrive to establish effective relationships and to represent and promote the research in industry and academia
The candidate of choice is:
- An enthusiastic, problem-solving person who likes working in a multidisciplinary team
- A team player that can also work independently
Early stage researcher in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers, including the period of research training, starting at the date of obtaining the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the initial training activities are provided.
At the time of recruitment (for call 4 = July 1, 2021) by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Switzerland for more than 12 months the three years immediately before the reference date. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.
Proficient oral and written English skills are expected. Knowledge of German is a plus.
ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
For submitting your online application: https://join.lszgs.uzh.ch/ (select PhD Program Science and Policy). The online application should contain all information, as indicated by the application portal. Moreover, the following documents have to be uploaded under “further documents”: 1) one letter of motivation to join a) the RESPONSE Doctoral Programme and b) to apply for the specific position (ESR 26) or multiple positions, 2) a comprehensive tabular CV, and 3) transcripts of records. If you apply for more than one RESPONSE position, please refer to them in your letter of motivation.
Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. For questions and further information on the position, please contact (Prof. Dr Bruno Studer, [email protected] or Maximilian Vogt, [email protected]), no applications.