Lucky and resilient: Genomic improvement of cold tolerance in red and white clover

Vacancy details:

Supervisor: Dr Jose De Vega
Co-supervisor: Prof Anthony Hall
Reference: DEVEGA_E24CASE
Start date: 01 October 2024
Application deadline: 20 November 2023
Funding 4-year Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) CASE PhD funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and CASE Partner Germinal.

Clovers, particularly Trifolium pratense and T. repens, are becoming increasingly popular for use in forage cropping, nitrogen fixation, and sustainable farming practices. 

They can promote sustainable agriculture, improve soil health, and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and nutrient runoff. Clovers have been used for green manure since ancient times and have adapted to various conditions found in temperate latitudes. However, their cultivation in the UK can be challenging due to their low persistence and survival in winter compared to other forage legumes.

To make these clover species more competitive for producers and enhance their persistence, a PhD project aims to contribute to a healthier planet and support regional food security. The project is a collaboration between the Earlham Institute, the breeding company Germinal, and the IBERS Institute

This project will investigate genetic structural variation, such as chromosomal rearrangements, copy-number variants, exchanges between subgenomes, and exotic introgressions in the red and white clover genomes.

The student will develop skills in data science and advance bioinformatics by conducting large-scale comparative genomics and pan-genomic computational experiments using cutting-edge long-read sequencing technologies. They will also acquire core scientific skills in experimental design, statistical analysis, and plant sciences. Additionally, the student will be able to complete a three-month internship in commercial breeding and further engage with our other collaborators in Europe.

The student will be part of a cohort of PhD students working in genomics and bioinformatics at Earlham Institute. 

This research institute is located in the Norwich Research Park and focuses on exploring biodiversity through the application of computational science and biotechnology, boasting top-class sequencing and computing platforms.

This project aligns with the Institute’s BBSRC-funded Strategic Programme Decoding Biodiversity, providing further access to resources, mentorship, and expertise.

Further Reading:


Further Information:

Application deadline: Monday 20 November 2023 (23:59 i.e.,midnight).

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on 23, 24 or 25 January 2024.

Visit the NRPDTP website for further information on eligibility and how to apply.

Our partners value diverse and inclusive work environments that are positive and supportive. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.

This project is awarded with a 4-year Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) PhD studentship.

The studentship includes payment of tuition fees (directly to the University), a stipend to cover living expenses (2023/4 stipend rate: £18,622), and a Research Training Support Grant of £5,000pa for each year of the studentship.

Entry requirments:
At least UK equivalence Bachelors (Honours) 2:1 or UK equivalence Master's degree. English Language requirement (Faculty of Science equivalent: IELTS 6.5 overall, 6 in each category).


De Vega Group

Exploring crop diversity and evolution to drive improvement