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PhD candidate in plant breeding and phytopathology (100%)

Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)
Crop Sciences
Closing Date
WorkplaceFrick, Swiss Mittelland, Switzerland
Duration3 years
Occupation rate100%
StartApril 1, 2018 (or upon agreement)

The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) is an independent, non-profit, research institute with the aim of advancing cutting-edge science in the field of organic agriculture. FiBL’s research team works together with farmers to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions to boost agricultural productivity while never losing sight of environmental, health and socio-economic impacts. Alongside practical research, FiBL gives high priority to transferring knowledge into agricultural practice through advisory work, training and conferences. FiBL has offices in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France and Brussels (FiBL Europe) and numerous projects and initiatives in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa.


Lifecycle and control of Colletotrichum lupini , the causal agent of anthracnose, in white lupin breeding

The overall goal of the PhD project is to identify cultivars of white lupin ( Lupinus albus L.) with resistance against the seed-borne pathogen Colletotrichum lupini , the causal agent of anthracnose. White lupin is a valuable leguminous crop grown worldwide and suitable for Swiss growing conditions. However, the anthracnose disease poses a major challenge in lupin cultivation causing substantial or near-total yield loss. Currently, there are no resistant varieties available and effective seed treatments are limited (especially for organic production systems). Thus, the main objectives of the PhD project are:

  1. To investigate the virulence and spatio-temporal dynamics of C. lupini
  2. To develop and apply screening systems to generate pre-breeding material with enhanced resistance against anthracnose
  3. To improve seed health by (a) identifying effective seed treatments and (b) investigating modes of action of potential microbial antagonists
The PhD candidate will be part of the FiBL programme "Breeding research on anthracnose tolerance and intercropping of lupin". S/he will be located at the Plant Breeding group of FiBL in Frick and enrolled in the doctoral programme of the Institute of Phytomedicine (Prof. Ralf Vögele) at Hohenheim University.


A successful applicant will have a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Agricultural Sciences or related fields. Experiences with design and statistical analysis of pot or field experiments are mandatory. Strongly advantageous are competencies in phytopathology, molecular biology and seed treatment methodologies. Further competencies include excellent organisation and communication skills, proficiency in written and oral English, high self-motivation and the ability to work both independently and as a team player in a multi-disciplinary, international research environment.


Applications with a letter describing your background and motivation, the CV (incl. publication list), two reference letters and copies of certificates should be submitted electronically until February 28, 2018 to stefan.williner(at)fibl.org.
Phone+41 (0)62 865 0476


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and reference  JobID 38605.