SASA MSc Plant Pathology Bursaries

Original Text: To promote innovation in South African sugarcane agriculture, the South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI) hosts a dynamic post-graduate programme on the SASRI campus in Mount Edgecome, KwaZulu-Natal. The research is conducted under the supervision of SASRI scientists who are affiliated with several leading South African universities, including the University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Pretoria, and University of the Free State and Stellenbosch University.

Background of MSc Plant Breeding Project:

In the first stage field evaluation in sugarcane breeding at SASRI, the genotypes within family plots are planted using tram-line plot configuration. Tramline plot configuration is when two adjacent rows are planted followed by an unplanted row. The unplanted row is used to provide easy access to the individual genotypes plots during yield measurements, disease inspections, eldana damage assessment and final genotype evaluation for selection and advancement. However, the unplanted row provides extra space for vigorous genotypes to exploit and grow larger. The effect on genotypes of the extra space provided by the unplanted row is not known. Further, if genotypes react differently when provided with extra space, the results of yield measurements may also vary and not be correlated to the results obtained when the genotypes are planted under normal commercial planting. In normal commercial planting, there is no tramline and continuous rows are planted. If the bias is significant, the tramline may result is selection of a significant proportion of genotypes that would not possess high yield under normal planting as is practiced during commercial planting. Understanding the impact of plot configurations on genetic and breeding parameters will increase accuracy of data and selection in the first stage of sugarcane breeding in South Africa.

Objectives of the Project:

The objectives of this study are to determine the genetic and breeding parameters for yield, quality, pest and disease traits under tramline and commercial planting plot configurations, determine phenotypic and genetic correlations under tramline and commercial plot configurations and evaluate implication on family evaluation, estimates of breeding values and field selection. The results from this study will be used to optimise the first stage of SASRI sugarcane breeding programmes.

The ideal candidate must have:

  • BSc or BSc Hons in Plant Breeding, Genetics, Crop Science, Horticulture and Agronomy with a minor in Statistics.
  • Strong academic background in the fields of genetics, plant breeding, quantitative genetics and statistics.
  • Good knowledge and understanding of statistical data analysis using statistical software and experimental design is essential. However, further practical training will be provided.
  • Possess critical thinking and analytical skills as well as the ability to work in a diverse team.

What the Bursary Offers:

This post-graduate bursary offers tuition fees and board and lodging on site at our Sugarcane Research Institute in Mount Edgecombe. The successful candidate will be based at SASRI (Mount Edgecombe) and will register with one of the South African Universities

The ideal candidate will have the following competencies:

Ability

  • Critically review scientific literature
  • Write a scientific research paper
  • Analyse data and provide recommendations

Experience

  • Analyising data and providing recommendations
  • Preparing and presenting a research proposal
  • Working with field trials

Knowledge

  • Plant Breeding or Genetics at Honours level
  • Statistical research methods applicable to Plant Breeding or Genetics research

How to apply? (details about the employer and the stipend to be paid to successful candidates)

To apply for this masters bursaries at SASA CLICK HERE

About The Employer

The South African Sugar Association (SASA) provides a diverse range of highly specialised services to the South African sugar industry and our activities are funded in the main by the sugarcane growers and sugar milling companies. Our mission is to provide specialist services that enhance the profitability, global competitiveness and sustainability of the South African sugar industry.

Employer & Job Benefits
  • Our highly sought after post-graduate bursary / research programme offers tuition fees
  • board and lodging on site at our Sugarcane Research Institute in Mount Edgecombe together with a monthly stipend of R5000 and numerous other benefits.

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