PhD Studentship Across-Country Livestock Breeding Strategies in Sub Saharan Africa

SRUC, Scotland’s Rural College, delivers comprehensive skills, education and business support for Scotland’s land-based industry founded on world class, sector leading research, education and consultancy. Our 1500 staff are located on 6 campuses and around 40 business units across Scotland and the North of England.

Genetic improvement of farmed livestock has had a major impact on productivity, resource use efficiency, and food security, in many temperate countries over the last 70 years. Being permanent, cumulative and usually highly cost effective, it is also of huge potential value in countries, like those in Sub-Saharan Africa, most in need of improved food security. However, this technology has not been widely used to date, largely because of small herd and flock sizes and a lack of performance recording infrastructure. Improvement efforts have often relied on importation of exotic breeds, which often has the added disadvantage of marginalising indigenous genetic resources. Recent improvements in the opportunities for data recording and implementation of organised breeding schemes, together with recent advances in statistical genetics, mean that there is an opportunity to develop new approaches to livestock improvement, suitable for application in sub-Saharan Africa. This project will collate and analyse existing data, assess infrastructure and capacity and investigate via modelling, the optimal design of practical future breeding schemes. The design of future breeding schemes will be investigated through the use of selection index procedures. The expected genetic gain will be used to identify future optimal breeding strategies.

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The PhD student will be registered for a PhD at the University of Edinburgh and will based at SRUC Dairy Research Centre, Dumfries, but will collect and use data from a number of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. This project is in collaboration with colleagues from the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) in South Africa, University of Zimbabwe, and Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Malawi. The studentship offers a stipend of £13,726 and is funded to pay the University of Edinburgh tuition fees for UK/EU and non UK/EU students. The expected start date is October 2013 and the studentship is 3.5 years in length.

Applicants should have an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in Animal Science /Animal Breeding and Genetics (or related discipline) and have strong quantitative skills. The candidate should be willing to travel to at least one of the collaborating countries in the course of study.

To have an informal discussion about this studentship, contact Dr Mizeck Chagunda ( or Dr Raphael Mrode (

Online applications for this post can be submitted on our website via the ‘Apply’ button below. Alternatively application packs can be requested from Tel 0131 535 4028 quoting reference SRUC/1026692/Chagunda. Please note that CVs will not be accepted without a completed application form.

The closing date for the return of applications is 12 noon on 14th May 2013

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