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PhD in Crop Domestication and Improvement

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Professor Colin Osborne, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.

We invite applications for a PhD in the area of crop domestication and improvement. Our research uses experiments with crop plants and comparative analyses of published datasets to address a range of questions in this area.

We are especially interested in how historical processes of selection have led to the range of crop phenotypes we see today, and how these have constrained the potential for future crop improvement. Current research aims are: 1) To recognize the factors responsible for
the ancient selection of crop plants from the pool of wild species; 2) To investigate how these crops evolved under cultivation to adapt to farmed environments; 3) To evaluate whether these selection processes have led to constraints in modern crop varieties that limit
the potential for future improvement; and 4) To understand the ecology of crop wild relatives and develop strategies for conserving and exploiting their diversity.

The research encompasses aspects of plant sciences, ecophysiology, ecology, biogeography, conservation science and archaeobotany. We invite applications from candidates with interests in any of these research areas.

We are a welcoming, international lab group, with current and past students from China, USA, Thailand, South Africa, India, Philippines, India and the UK. Students can gain experience in a broad range of skills in plant and crop sciences, with access to state-of-the-art controlled environment growth facilities, equipment for non-invasive measurements of photosynthesis and growth (gas exchange analysis, chlorophyll fluorescence, spectroscopy, growth phenotyping), and metabolite analyses (chromatography, mass spectrometry). Our work includes both lab and field studies.

You can find further information about the group’s work and publications at Enquiries should be directed to Colin Osborne .

Science Graduate School
As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you’ll be part of the Science Graduate School. You’ll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You’ll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience the breadth of technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit to learn more.

Funding Notes

The applicant will need to find funding to cover tuition fees and living expenses

The applicant should have, or expect to gain at least an upper second class degree, or equivalent overseas qualification, in a relevant subject

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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