RobuCrop - Robust wheat for the future

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Food Science programme. The position is available from 1 November 2018 or later.

RobuCrop - Robust wheat for the future

Research area and project description:

The PhD is funded by iClimate and FOOD and is linked to research projects on effects of global change on physiological adaptation of wheat. The project will be conducted in close collaboration between AU, Dept. of Food Science, and Dept. of Agroecology as well as external research partners.

The climate of the future is expected to be more extreme and more variable as the duration, frequency and intensity of climate extremes are projected to increase with climate change. A better understanding of the interactions between crop productivity under different environmental conditions and management regimes is crucial to maintain sustainable agriculture and food security by providing knowledge for stakeholders concerning future more robust cultivars. More knowledge of the processes responsible for acclimation and adaptation of crops thereby assuring yield stability and crop quality is required to provide breeders and farmers with more robust crops irrespective of climate variability.

To date, phenotyping studies have resulted in better understanding the complex interactions between genotype, environment and management (GxExM) for crop yield and quality. However, they have not been applied to study the effect of the interaction of (a)biotic stress events and of stress types. Therefore, we aim to explore existing Nordic wheat varieties for the ability to cope with combinations of heat and drought stress applied at different growth stages. The aim is to develop effective phenotyping methods for a range of robust varieties under Danish climate conditions and to find genotypes that have less yield loss under a future more variable climate.

Work plan
Wheat genotypes from Nordic breeders and existing wheat populations (RIL population based on heat tolerance and heat sensitivity genotypes) will be collected in collaboration and the Levy funded project “Future wheat”.

We will utilize the complementary competencies and equipment of FOOD and AGRO departments. The experiments will be conducted in state of art climate chambers and greenhouses with modern phenotyping equipment – potentially with international partners. This will include short-term screening studies of growth reactions and responses to photosynthesis to stress applied at different stages of development to long-term trials under semi-field conditions to evaluate the effect on yield and quality.

The results will indicate the existing cultivars potential to cope with different stress combinations. The adapted and developed phenotyping methods will be applied to more Nordic wheat varieties and will be of great benefit to breeders and in the long run the Danish agriculture.

Qualifications and specific competences:

Applicants to the PhD position must have a relevant Master’s degree in Biology, Agronomy or Horticulture. Competences in physiological analysis (photosynthesis, chlorophyll fluorescence) and analytical skills (metabolite analysis), statistical data analysis and an interest in academia to industry collaboration is needed. Knowledge about QTL analysis is beneficial.

Place of employment and place of work:

The place of employment is Aarhus University and the place of work is at the Team Plant, Food and Climate at Department of Food Science ( During the PhD period, 3-6 months will be spent abroad. The project is associated with the AU research center iClimate (


Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

Professor Carl-Otto Ottosen
Plant, Food and Climate
Department of Food Science
Aarhus University
Kirstinebjergvej 10
DK-5792 Årslev, Denmark

Phone: +45 21 22 92 08


Application procedure

Before you apply

Information and attachments:

Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills:

The English language requirement at Graduates School of Science and Technology is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”).

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” is documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test, minimum score: 560 (paper-based test) or 83 (internet-based test). The paper-based test must have a “total score”. From August call 2019, GSST no longer accepts the paper-based test.
    Aarhus University does not accept the TOEFL ITP test. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935. You must request that the test centre send your test results to Aarhus University, in order to enable verification of your test results.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate  with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, or United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at Aarhus University for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section” Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants able to document that English was the language of instruction during the whole period of their Bachelor’s and/or Master’s programme. This must be documented by uploading an official document from the institution stating this under “language skills documentation”. The onus is on the applicant to provide this information as GSST will not pursue information regarding language of instruction for any programmes or institutions.

 The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to
Choose August 2018 Call with deadline 1 August 2018 at 11.59 PM MET.
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme ‘Food Science’

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: "RobuCrop - Robust wheat for the future”
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

Please note that all information in the application must be in Danish or English.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

  • One reference (template for references)
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Transcripts and diploma(s)
  • Project description (½-4 pages). For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. When - as here - you apply for a specific project, please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found.  Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.
  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed. The e-mail will also include a link to the application – GSST urges you to check that all mandatory data, marked with an asterisk (*), is registered correctly and all attached files are readable. In case of significant errors, you should reply to the confirmation e-mail with the correct details before the application deadline.

GSST reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSST application guide here.  

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.
  • The project will only be initiated if final funding (from GSST/the faculty) is secured.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.