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Ph.D. Education in Genetics and Biotechnology

Vision and Objective of the Research Education

The Department of Genetics and Biotechnology (GBI) aims to provide a Ph.D. degree in Genetics and Biotechnology of the highest international standard. This requires an equally high standard of the Ph.D. student, the supervisor(s), and the work environment. We expect completion of the degree within the nominal 3 years and, in return, offer good career possibilities after the degree has been completed. GBI considers the Ph.D. education programme to be an integral part of its research.

Introduction to GBI

At GBI we investigate the underlying genetic and physiological background for traits in animals and plants, and develop and implement new methods and strategies in farm animal breeding and plant improvement. New molecular methods are developed and implemented in the search for effects of environmental parameters and stressors on production, health, fertility and product quality in farm animal and plant production. We furthermore investigate and implement new methods in statistical genetics, biostatistics and bioinformatics.

The department is involved in coordinating the national efforts to protect genetic resources in Danish farm animals.

The department’s knowledge is furthermore used within general agricultural research together with an advisory function to the authorities as well as within general biology and research in human medicine. Using pigs as models for human diseases is an important research area.

GBI has approx. 160 employees, out of which 110 are scientists including about 25 Ph.D. students, while the remaining employees are laboratory technicians and administrative staff. The department is located at Foulum in North-Central Jutland (animal genetics and biotechnology as well as statistics), Flakkebjerg on Zealand about 1 hours drive from Copenhagen (plant genetics and biotechnology) and on the University of Copenhagen Life Sciences campus in central Copenhagen.

National and International Cooperation

GBI has broad research cooperation with other Danish universities and research institutions. In addition to this, at the national level, GBI particularly cooperates with the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and the Danish Ministry of the Environment and their affiliated units (e.g. the Danish Plant Directorate, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, the Directorate for Food, Fisheries and Agri Business, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency).

GBI also has numerous contacts and contracts with organizations, private as well as cooperative, working with cattle, pig and mink as well as with seeds and grain

At the international level, GBI cooperates with many universities and research institutions in Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America. At present, the department participates in a number of EU projects. Moreover, the expertise of the department is utilized through cooperation with Danish authorities, Danish and foreign companies and supranational institutions such as the EU, FAO, WHO and DANIDA

As a result of the many and varied outside contracts, GBI receives an exceptionally high number of external grants.

Working Environment

The department focuses very much on ensuring a good working environment. Efforts are made to ensure good management and on improving the competence of the employees. Staff satisfaction surveys are carried out, just as yearly staff development meetings between employer and employee. These surveys and meetings also include master and Ph.D. students. A fine-meshed safety structure based on the safety of the individual person is established whether you work in the laboratory, greenhouses or in the field (field, livestock buildings, industrial companies, etc.).

Facilities and Services

The department has modern research and experimental facilities. All three sites, Foulum, Flakkebjerg and Copenhagen, have well-equipped laboratories, offices, meeting rooms, lecture theatres, library, and cafeteria. In addition there are modern greenhouses and animal housing and experimental facilities. The department has its own IT and workshop services.

Ph.D. Courses Offered

A number of Ph.D. courses are being set up at the department. In addition to this, joint courses for DJF Ph.D. students will be established in particular in cooperation with DJF’s Ph.D. School. Further information can be obtained by contacting the departmental Ph.D. Coordinator.

Quality Safeguards

GBI is striving to ensure the quality of the Ph.D. education through special courses for supervisors, extended visits abroad as part of the study programme, networking, establishing a course programme at the highest international level and a continuous development of an inspiring professional and social environment for the Ph.D. students.

Management and Connection to DJF/AU

The Ph.D. education in Genetics and Biotechnology is based in the Department of Genetics and Biotechnology at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences (DJF), University of Aarhus. Together with similar Ph.D. education programmes at the other DJF departments it represents DJF’s Ph.D. School, which works as an umbrella for the Ph.D. education programmes with a view to ensure the education programmes and the quality in supervision, Ph.D. courses, completion of the studies, coordination across departments, faculties and other universities. The responsibility for supervision and the educational quality rests ultimately with GBI, which strengthens the professional connection and ensures support for the individual Ph.D. student.

The Ph.D. education programme is run by a Ph.D. Coordinator, who has the task of establishing, maintaining and developing the programme. In this work the Coordinator will receive advice from a Ph.D. education committee, which consists of the Coordinator, two scientists with experience in Ph.D. supervision, and two Ph.D. students. The members of the committee are appointed by the Research Director at GBI for a period of 2 years, for Ph.D. students, however, for only 1 year at a time.

Admission Requirements

A Master’s degree in natural science or agricultural science from a Danish university or a foreign university. For particulars, contact the Ph.D. Coordinator.

Contact and Further Information

Ph.D. Coordinator Professor Ian Max Møller ( info@agrsci.org ).

Secretary: Jette Laursen ( jette.laursen@agrsci.org ).

Further information: www.agrsci.dk or www.agrsci.org