Seed yield for the emerging market of Amenity grass seed production in Wales

Seed yield for the emerging market of Amenity grass seed production in Wales

Aberystwyth University, Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences

Project ID: AUM40002

Annual Stipend: £11,586

Application Deadline: 30/09/2019

Robust seed yield is a key trait to the commercial success of amenity grass varieties. Seed yield is complex and resource consuming to characterise in breeding. An ideal scenario would be to have genomic selection capabilities for seed yield to apply positive selection for these traits as a routine measure in amenity grass breeding.

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the potential to transfer genomic selection capabilities for seed yield in agricultural grass breeding into IBERS amenity breeding programs. The project will include characterisation of seed yield sub-traits including harvested seed yield, number of reproductive tillers, head length, spikelet number, seed set, shedding and the number and size of seed produced. Germplasm to be characterised will include the Agricultural x Amenity grass mapping population and breeding populations. The aim within the project duration would be to determine the genomic estimated breeding values of the parents and first generations of the Amenity breeding populations for seed yield subtraits. This will not only provide the student with valuable training in practical plant breeding, but will also empirical evidence of a novel scientific application in breeding for publications in high impact journals.

The prospective applicant should have a minimum of 2:1 in a relevant degree or equivalent experience, and be available to take up the studentship (not later than October 2019). For the right candidate a summer work placement with the breeding team may be offered prior to commencement of the MPhil program. The project is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) through the European Union’s Convergence programme administered by the Welsh Government. KESS II MPhil scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners.

Value of Award: A stipend of £11,586 (or pro-rata part time). Each scholarship has an additional budget for travel, equipment/consumables and training to support your research. KESS II MPhil Scholarship holders do not pay fees.

Length: Full-time for 1 year, or 50% time for two years. (Thesis must be submitted 3 months after the funded study period.)

Training: The achievement of a Postgraduate Skills Development Award (PSDA) is compulsory for each KESS II scholar (The PSDA is based on a 30 credit award, which is an additional award to the MPhil).

Eligibility: To be eligible to apply for a KESS II award, you must be resident, upon starting the scholarship, in the Convergence Area of Wales and you must be able to take paid employment in the Convergence area on completion of the scholarship.

The Convergence Area means the following counties of Wales:

Isle of Anglesey
Neath Port Talbot
Rhondda Cynon Taff

To apply, please submit the following to the Postgraduate Admissions Office (address below) by 30th September 2019

  1. Completed Postgraduate Application Form (this can be done online, by email or paper).
  2. Two completed Postgraduate Reference Forms (completed scanned forms to be emailed directly from your referees to, using a work email address). Application and reference forms may be downloaded from
  3. Completed KESS II Participant proposal form including a personal statement describing why you are a good candidate for this research studentship. KESS II application forms are available to download at the link below Please put the reference number AUM40001 in the top right hand box of the application form.

Address for applications:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Recruitment & Admissions
Student Welcome Centre
Aberystwyth University
SY23 3DD

Quote Reference AUM40002

Closing date for applications: 30/09/2019