PhD Student

Last application date
Aug 31, 2023 00:00
LA21 - Department of Plants and Crops
Limited duration
Master of Science in Bioscience Engineering, Bio-informatics, Computer Science, Mathematics
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

PhD in cost-effective genomic selection strategies

Predictive Breeding is an ambitious research group that is focused on the development and application of data-driven plant breeding methods. This is a rapidly evolving domain of science that aims to integrate high-througpout phenotyping and genotyping technology to maximise the rate of genetic progress for traits of agronomic importance. In this respect, scientific advancement in the field of data-driven breeding is considered to be a pivotal catalyst for the short-term realisation of the European Green Deal ambitions and the transition towards a sustainable agrifood system.

Your PhD research is centred around the concept of genomic selection which involves the prediction of the agronomic performance of plants directly from their DNA code. This selection technique allows to routinely screen the potential of thousands of plants before they even emerge from their seed. However, cost-effective application of genomic selection remains challenging and low-cost genotyping and phenotyping strategies are key to the cost-effective maximisation of genetic gain. Your role is to devise, evaluate and implement strategies for sparse genotyping and phenotyping. Your research activities will introduce you to various statistical and machine learning techniques, making this position an excellent opportunity to demonstrate and further improve your data analysis skills.

Job profile

  • You hold a Master degree in Bioscience Engineering, Bio-informatics, Computer Science, Mathematics or Physics with excellent grades.
  • You have strong analytical skills and you are eager to advance the state-of-the-art
  • You have a pronounced interest in data analysis
  • You have experience in one or more programming / scripting languages (R, Python, C++, …)
  • You are a team player and have strong communication skills.
  • Your English is fluent, both speaking and writing. Knowledge of Dutch is considered a plus.
  • Under the supervision of the leading professor, you will prepare a PhD dissertation over a duration of about 4 years. You will publish and present results both at international conferences and in scientific journals. This PhD position is not open for post-docs.

How to apply

Send your application by email or any questions concerning this vacancy to prof. Steven Maenhout (, indicating “Application: Cost-effective genomic selection strategies” in the subject. Applications should include (1) an academic / professional resume, (2) a personal motivation letter, and (3) transcripts of study results, and (4) at least two reference contacts. After a first screening, selected candidates will be invited for an interview as a first contact in a multi-stage selection process.