15 PhD positions available in “MiRA”, an Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020

15 PhD positions are available at different research institutions and companies in Europe, participating in the Marie Curie ITN “Microbe-induced Resistance to Agricultural pests” (MiRA). All positions are open from April 1st 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter. Deadline for applications is January 14th 2018.

Plants are intimately associated with a diversity of beneficial microorganisms in their root zone, some of which can enhance the plant’s resistance to insect pests. Thus, the use of Microbe-induced Resistance (MiR) to reduce pest losses in agriculture has emerged as a promising possibility to improve crop resilience and reduce use of harmful pesticides. European companies have therefore started to develop and market beneficial microbes. However, MiR appears to be strongly context dependent, with reduced benefits under certain biotic and abiotic conditions and in some crop varieties. Further, it is a challenge to deliver and ensure stable associations of beneficial microbes and plants, and avoid undesired effects on beneficial insects. Thus we absolutely must improve our understanding of MiR mechanisms and context-dependency, in order to improve context stability of MiR and promote the use of MiR for crop protection. The MiRA project will train early stage researchers in basic and applied research on context-dependency of MiR, mechanisms, and impacts on plant performance and other biocontrol organisms, and use this understanding to improve our ability to predict the effectiveness of MiR under different conditions, to select plant and microbial strains with improved context-stability, and to develop better methods for the formulation of microbial inoculants and their application in agriculture. Finally, we will analyse economic prospects and constraints for MiR development and use. We have assembled a consortium of academic institutions and companies, including microbial inoculant producers and agricultural advisors. Our ESRs will be trained within this multi-sectoral interdisciplinary network for a future career in research, product and service development in European horticulture and agriculture, pushing boundaries in European research and innovation. Read more about MiRA at or .

General requirements for all ESR positions

At the time of commencement, it is required that the candidates have not been awarded a doctorate degree and are within the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers. Furthermore, the candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the enrollment country for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account. Candidates are required to spend part of their project period at other institutions in the the MiRA consortium on secondments, see details at individual posts.

More information about the positions can be found via:

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