PhD position on multi-breed multi-trait beef cattle international genomic evaluations for novel traits and small populations

PhD position on multi-breed multi-trait beef cattle international genomic evaluations for novel traits and small populations

Published Deadline Location
2 Apr 22 Apr Wageningen

Job description

Are you looking for a PhD and interested in quantitative genomics? Do you want to develop innovative international genomic evaluations for sustainable beef cattle breeding using multi-country datasets? Then, this PhD vacancy may be of interest to you.

The Animal Breeding and Genomics group at Wageningen University is looking for a PhD to take part in the PPP project “Towards multi-breed multi-trait beef cattle international genomic evaluations for novel traits and small populations”, a collaboration with ICAR (the Netherlands), SLU and Interbull Centre (Sweden), AHDB and SRUC (United Kingdom), ICBF (Ireland), and FedANA (Italy), and co-founded by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture.

Genetic progress on economically and socially relevant traits allows livestock species to meet societal demands in terms of sustainability, biodiversity, and food security. In this PhD project, you will contribute to unlocking the full potential of genomic prediction for the selection of novel sustainability traits across different countries and beef cattle breeds. Data on novel sustainability traits, such as feed efficiency and health traits, are increasingly collected on purebred and crossbred animals but across a wide range of breeds.

Unfortunately, these datasets are of limited size in most countries because novel traits are difficult and expensive to measure. A strategy to unlock the full potential of genomic prediction for such traits is to jointly analyse these datasets collected in multiple countries and breeds. Moreover, data collected on genetically linked traits (i.e., indicator traits) can be used to further improve genomic prediction for novel traits. However, current beef cattle international evaluations that combine data across multiple countries are still performed one breed at a time and do not include genomic information yet.

Therefore, as a PhD student, you will work on addressing this challenge by:
  • developing and validating novel multi-breed multi-trait genomic international evaluations that simultaneously analyse pedigree and genomic information with phenotypes of multiple traits and recorded on animals of various breed compositions from multiple countries.
  • quantifying the advantages and limits of the developed international evaluations using real datasets provided by different breeding organisations.
  • disseminating your results to the involved industry partners and relevant stakeholders.

Your other duties and responsibilities include:
  • prepare and analyse datasets from multiple countries;
  • communicate and disseminate results through presentations at scientific conferences and the writing of scientific articles and a PhD thesis;
  • follow PhD courses as part of the graduation program.

You will work here
The research is embedded within the chair Animal Breeding and Genomics and member of the Wageningen Livestock Research team, which is led by Prof. Roel Veerkamp You will be co-supervised by Dr Renzo Bonifazi (WUR-ABG) and Dr Jeremie Vandenplas (WUR-ABG).

Specifications

Wageningen University & Research

Requirements

You are/have:
  • a highly motivated person with a strong interest in using animal breeding as a means to achieve sustainable food production;
  • interest in genomic prediction and statistical and quantitative genetics;
  • interest in further developing your research skills and putting them into practice by developing solutions for real-case applications;
  • high level of communication, writing, and presentation skills;
  • fluent in spoken and written English ;
  • ability to work in close contact with involved industry partners;
  • ability to work in a team as part of a large international group of students and researchers;
  • ability to work independently.

You also possess:
  • a successfully completed MSc degree in Animal Breeding and Genomics;
  • experience in at least one scripting language: bash, R, Python, Julia (or similar);
  • proven experience with analysing large-scale real (genomic) datasets;
  • additional experience in one or more of the following subjects is highly desirable:
    • genetic/genomic predictions combining purebred and crossbred data;
    • estimation of genetic parameters;
    • validation of genomic predictions;
    • working with Linux and HPC systems;
    • usage of software for large-scale genomic predictions: MiXBLUP, MiX99, BLUPF90 (or similar).

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.770 - per month rising to € 3.539,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project (4 years) if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 19th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.

Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about for example helping your partner to find a job, housing, or schooling.

Finally, certain categories of international staff may be eligible for a tax exemption on a part of their salary during the first five years in the Netherlands.

Employer

Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen University & Research
TThe mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 students and over 150,000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch the video below to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact Renzo Bonifazi, by email: renzo.bonifazi@wur.nl

For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, corporate recruiter, by email: noorien.abbas@wur.nl

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including 22 April 2024. We hope to schedule the first job interviews soon after the closing date.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

Specifications

  • PhD
  • Agriculture
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • P1481971-1

Employer

Wageningen University & Research

Learn more about this employer

Location

Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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Application procedure

For more information about this position, please contact Renzo Bonifazi, by email: renzo.bonifazi@wur.nl

For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, corporate recruiter, by email: noorien.abbas@wur.nl

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including 22 April 2024. We hope to schedule the first job interviews soon after the closing date.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

Application procedure

Application procedure

For more information about this position, please contact Renzo Bonifazi, by email: renzo.bonifazi@wur.nl

For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, corporate recruiter, by email: noorien.abbas@wur.nl

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including 22 April 2024. We hope to schedule the first job interviews soon after the closing date.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

Make sure to apply no later than 22 Apr 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).