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Plant Production PhD Student Position @ UGent Belgium

Plant Production PhD Student Position @ UGent Belgium

Plant Production PhD Student Position @ UGent Belgium: Established in 1817 by King William I of the Netherlands, Ghent University (Dutch: Universiteit Gent, abbreviated as UGent) is a public research university located in Ghent, Belgium. After the Belgian revolution of 1830, the newly formed Belgian state began to administer the university. In 1930, it became the first Dutch-speaking university in Belgium—French having been the academic language up to that point. In 1991, the university was granted major autonomy and changed its name from State University of Ghent (Dutch: Rijksuniversiteit Gent, abbreviated as RUG) to its current designation. It is one of the largest Flemish universities, consisting of 41,000 students and 9,000 staff members.

Plant Production PhD Student Position @ UGent Belgium

PhD student

Last application date: Dec 31, 2016 15:46

Department: LA02 – Department of Plant production

Contract: Limited duration

Degree: MSc-diploma Agronomy or Biology

Occupancy rate: 100%

Vacancy Type: Research staff

Job description

Cocoa is the basic ingredient of the famous Belgian chocolate. Because of the current low agricultural yield (450 kg of dry cocoa beans per ha per year as opposed to a potential yield of 2000 kg per ha per year), cocoa cultivation is no longer a profitable activity. As a result, many cocoa smallholders leave the sector, despite a growing demand on the world market. Low yield is partly due to inadequate pollination: in current plantations, only 5 % of cocoa flowers is effectively pollinated. Since manual pollination is too labor intensive, strategies that increase natural pollinator populations (Fam: Ceratopogonidae) are probably more efficient.

The PhD-research thus aims at studying i) factors that increase attractancy of cocoa flowers for pollinators; ii) the possibility to increase pollination intensity by releasing pollinators raised by mass breeding in the field at specific periods (flowering peaks); iii) crop management practices (sowing of annual, flowering plants, introduction of rotting plant material in the field, enhancement of composting process, etc.) to increase pollinator breeding sites and population size; iv) cocoa phenology in relation to increased pollination intensity (mass-breeding –> shorter pollination season –> possibility to deflower trees after pollination season –> less energy geared towards development of young cocoa fruits (cherelles) that otherwise would wilt).

Profile of the candidate

  • MSc-diploma Agronomy or Biology obtained at an EU University.
  • Good knowledge of French as well as good reporting skills in English are required.
  • Candidates must be willing to frequently travel to Ivory Coast.

How to apply

Interested candidates should contact the promotors by email. The candidates will, , under guidance of the promotors, write a PhD research proposal to be submitted to FWO (February 2017), BOF (May 2017) and/or a IWT Baekeland mandate (September 2017)

Prof. dr. ir. Guy Smagghe (Guy.Smagghe@UGent.be)
Laboratory of Agrozoology, Department of Crop Protection

Prof. dr. ir. Patrick Van Damme (Patrick.VanDamme@UGent.be) & dr. ir. Wouter Vanhove (Wouter.Vanhove@ugent.be) Laboratory of Tropical and Subtropical Agronomy and Ethnobotany, Department of Plant Production


Plant Production PhD Student Position @ UGent Belgium

View Original Notification: http://www.ugent.be/en/work/vacancies/scientific/phd-student-p8t7r


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