Four-year John Innes Centre Science for Africa studentship: Call for applications

Deploying durable yellow rust resistance in African wheat (UAUY_J15SFA), PhD 4 year Project

Project Start Date: 01 Oct 2015

Supervisor:  Cristobal Uauy cristobal.uauy(at)

Department: Crop Genetics


Wheat provides over 20% of the calories and protein consumed by humans. As the world population continues to increase, the sustainability of wheat yields must be improved by minimizing losses produced by pathogens. Wheat yellow rust, caused by Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici, is one of the most devastating diseases of wheat worldwide. To address Food Security new tools are needed to combat this devastating disease.

About the project

The project has an unprecedented opportunity to make a major contribution to the development of new breeding lines with improved resistance to wheat yellow rust. The studentship builds upon previous research that laid the foundations for this project by creating a host of resources that can be utilized right from the start. This includes mapping populations for resistance genes which are effective across many wheat growing environments, cutting edge molecular techniques as well as the latest genomics resources available in wheat. The project aims to characterise these resistance sources and generate closely linked genetic markers to enable deployment of these genes into African breeding lines.

The project will train the student in a set of skills that cover all aspects of modern plant molecular breeding, including bioinformatics skills, and will thus provide the student with an excellent foundation for their future. The student will come into a highly dynamic and multi-disciplinary group that uses the latest technologies in gene discovery and translation to breeders. They will form part of the Norwich Rust Group composed of seven research groups working on rust fungi and will we welcomed into a larger international project with partners across Europe, Africa and South Asia. This will provide the student with an extensive scientific network. The student will also learn more widely applicable skills like teamwork, science communication and presentation as well as long-term planning skills. The applied nature of the project also means that the student will have to frequently interact with breeding companies, giving the student an insight into the commercial side of plant breeding.

This 4-year John Innes Centre Science for Africa studentship is available to successful candidates who meet the eligibility criteria of the studentship. Below is the link to the studentship eligibility guidelines which all candidates should check to confirm their eligibility for funding. Candidates must be nationals of and ordinarily resident in a Sub-Saharan African country. The current stipend for 2015/6 is £14,057 per annum.

For full details on eligibility see the Guide to Studentship Eligibility:

This studentship is open for application. For further information and an application form, please visit the ‘How to Apply’ page on our website:

For further information please contact graduates.nrp(at)


 Deadline for Applications: 07 Jun 2015

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  • Guest (macharia peter k)

    very relevant opening for us in kenya wve been trying trying to achieve self sufficiency
    in breadwheat production- or at least raise levels of productivity for years it opportune and godsend

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