ILRI Msc Graduate Fellowship 2020

ILRI Msc Graduate Fellowship

ILRI Msc Graduate Fellowship 2020

Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Duration: 6 months

Deadline: June 30, 2020

Summary: International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is recruiting MSc students with a background in Plant Science, Biological Sciences, or related fields who are done with coursework and are ready to start their thesis to work with them for a duration of 6 months on the project Genetic diversity study and GWAS in a Napier grass (Cenchrus purpureus) collections in Sub Sahara Africa.

Details: The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit an MSc student to focus on identification of molecular markers suitable for marker-assisted selection of Napier grass. The overall goal of this project is to develop a genomics database for Napier grass; thereby enabling breeders to apply advanced plant breeding procedures such as genomic selection and marker-assisted breeding in their projects.

ILRI works to improve food and nutritional security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock. It is the only one of 15 CGIAR research centres dedicated entirely to animal agriculture research for the developing world. Co-hosted by Kenya and Ethiopia, it has regional or country offices and projects in East, South and Southeast Asia as well as Central, East, Southern and West Africa.

About project- Genetic diversity study and GWAS in a Napier grass (Cenchrus purpureus) collections in Sub Sahara Africa.

Feeds and Forage Development program aims to provide options to: increase the quantity and quality of feed resources to improve livestock productivity in order to meet the growing demand for animal-source food; enhance profitability by reducing feed costs; increase income, employment and livelihoods from feed/fodder value chains and reduce labour/drudgery (especially for women); and reduce the environmental impact of feed.

Napier grass (Cenchrus purpureus syn. Pennisetum purpureum L.), is one of the most important tropical forage grasses known for its high biomass yield, year-round availability under irrigated conditions, and resistance to most pests and diseases. The ILRI Genebank holds over 100 accessions and progeny seeds produced naturally from different accessions. However, little information exists on the amount of diversity held in this collection and how this relates to collections held in other genebanks. Generating more information and understanding the diversity in the collection, in the progeny and in accessions sourced from other genebanks, for germplasm enhancement will enhance the conservation and utilization of the genetic resources. Thus, the graduate fellow will work together with ILRI scientists to assess the genetic diversity in the collections and progeny plants through genotyping and phenotypic characterization.

Job roles:

  1. Literature survey on “Progresses in genetic diversity & molecular breeding in Napier grass”
  2. Isolate DNA from Napier grass and barcode DNA accessions for long term storage
  3. Apply R packages for GWAS analysis and phylogenetics (Gapit, PLINK & ape etc.)
  4. Develop skills in Linux basics (handling fq files, alignment & variant calling)
  5. Use and optimize oxford nanopore technology at FFD and National Institute
  6. Data analysis and write-up (at least 1 poster and 1 peer-reviewed journal publication)


  1. Completed MSc course work in Plant Science, Biological Sciences, or a related field and ready to start his/her thesis project.
  2. Degree in Plant Science, Biological Sciences, or a related field
  3. Demonstrated experience working in molecular genetics, quantitative genetics or bioinformatics
  4. Good working knowledge of MS Office packages
  5. Experience contributing to writing reports and journal publications
  6. An effective and energetic team player with the ability to work in a multidisciplinary and multi-cultural environment
  7. Ability to work independently, multi-task and meet tight deadlines
  8. Proficiency with written and spoken English


ILRI will offer;

  • a stipend to cover living expenses in the project location;
  • medical insurance and
  • cover research expenses.

To apply

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