Post Doctoral Fellow Level 1 (PD1) in Tree Breeding and Genomics for Disease Tolerance (Ref: 1054)

    Job Summary

    Indicative duration of which is 31 months, subject to contract

    Crops, Environment and Land Use Research Centre, Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, R93 XE12

    Basic Function:
    An excellent opportunity for the successful candidate to contribute to the AshforFuture project, funded by DAFM and DAERA, has become available in Teagasc. This exciting collaborative initiative aims to conserve and future-proof ash trees across the island of Ireland, involving three research performing organizations (RPOs) and five industry/non-funded partners. The role will primarily focus on:
    1) developing ash populations tolerant to dieback through phenotypic and genetic assessments,
    2) evaluating silvicultural systems such as natural regeneration and mixtures in the context of ash dieback,
    3) preparing manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication, and
    4) participating in project meetings, dissemination activities, and reporting. Candidates with experience in plant breeding, genetics, and genomic selection for disease tolerance would be advantageous.

    Teagasc, the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority, undertakes the national land-use research, teaching and advisory activities. Our mission is to support science-based innovation in the agri-food sector and the broader bio-economy that underpins competitiveness and sustainability. The Forestry Development department provides an integrated advisory, research and training programme dedicated on supporting the needs of the farm forestry sector. Our tree improvement research programme aims to enhance the productivity and resilience of several important native and non-native forestry tree species, which are continuously expanding. Teagasc continues to invest in novel breeding techniques to underpin its existing tree and environmental sciences research programme.

    Teagasc has state-of-the-art research facilities in its six research centres. The project primarily utilizes Teagasc Oak Park and Ashtown research facilities, which includes fully furnished labs for molecular and plant pathology research, glasshouses and polytunnels dedicated to forestry research to grow plants, germinate seedlings, conduct screening experiments and house trees to establish indoor seed orchards.

    The overarching goal of AshforFuture project is to conserve and restore ash as a native and commercial forest tree species on the island of Ireland. The spread of ash dieback disease, caused by the invasive fungal pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, has posed a grave threat to ash trees throughout Europe. Despite its significant socio-economic and ecological importance, ash dieback is wreaking havoc on landscape ecosystems like hedgerows and woodlands. Additionally, it's causing distress for Hurley manufacturers who struggle to obtain high-quality timber, a sector valued at €10 million in the Irish economy.

    Research indicates that approximately 1-3% of ash trees exhibit a higher tolerance to ash dieback disease. Teagasc's Ash breeding programme is dedicated to conserving and restoring ash trees by employing an interdisciplinary approach across Ireland to identify, monitor, select, and breed disease-tolerant ash genotypes. The AshforFuture project enhances this effort through four distinct work-packages: AshComm, focused on stakeholder communication and knowledge transfer; AshGen, aiming to identify and propagate tolerant ash trees and develop genetic tools for validation; AshPath, investigating the interaction between H. fraxineus and ash trees and assessing the pathogen's variability and virulence; and AshSilva, conducting field trials to evaluate mixed-species plantings' impact on ash trees compared to monocultures. By bringing together multidisciplinary teams, the project aims to provide a comprehensive approach to address the challenges facing ash trees and their ecosystems.

    Background to Teagasc Post-Doctoral Programme:
    The Teagasc post-doctoral programme provides training and development opportunities for early career scientists that enhances their experience of learning and equips them with the necessary skills for the next stage of their chosen career in research. Appointees to a Teagasc Post-Doctoral Fellowship will be required to undertake a Level 9 Professional Diploma in Researcher Development delivered by University College Dublin (UCD).

    This professional diploma is a flexible, modular programme which embraces a blended learning approach to align with the Post-Doctoral Fellow's role in Teagasc. It is designed to develop competencies and transferable skills in research, professionalism, communication and career development. The majority of the programme is delivered online with the remaining elements delivered in-person at Teagasc locations. This blended approach affords the Post-Doctoral Fellow the opportunity to meet and network with other Teagasc colleagues. During the course of the diploma Post-Doctoral Fellows will have access to a full range of supports including the UCD library, writing centre and careers centre.

    This is a research focused training role, the primary purpose of which is to provide early career scientists with the opportunity to develop their research skills and competencies.

    The Post-Doctoral Fellow will, while working in conjunction with senior research staff, gain insight and experience into a variety of areas including the processes of project and budgetary management, publishing in peer-reviewed academic journals, writing grant applications, and attracting external funding; the development of active collaboration with relevant national and international research communities; the development of communication and presentation skills, leadership and management skills, and overall career development.

    Modules will be conducted under the supervision and direction of the Project Leader or other designated manager in conjunction with the Head of Department.

    A detailed job specification can be accessed on our website at

    To apply interested applicants are required to set up their profile on TOPJobs (, the Teagasc recruitment portal.

    Find out more about our recruitment process on

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