Application for position as a phd student

Application for position as a phd student

18MARCH 2010

8830 TJELE

Dear Dr Bernd Wollenweber / PhD Selection Committee:


I am writing in response to your advertisement for the PhD position in Crop Sciences entitled Tolerance to heat and drought stress in wheat genotypes at Aarhus University, as advertised on the portal of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences. I am a Ghanaian national, presently an MSc student in Crop Improvement at the University of Nottingham in the UK, and will complete my degree in September 2010. I respectfully submit this letter of application, for I am confident that my training and interest in the subject area make me well qualified to meet the expectations of your renowned institution.

My MSc Course encompasses a wide range of Crop Science modules including modules in agronomy, crop physiology and genetics as well as modules in conventional breeding technologies and biotechnology. Of particular interest to me is the Resource Capture by Crops module. This course has granted me the opportunity to appreciate the key processes by which crop communitiescapture and use physical resources, principally solar radiation water and nutrients. Typically, I have been exposed to the relative performance of contrasting species and different vegetation systems in terms of their efficiencies in capturing and converting resources into biomass and yield. This experience has introduced me to the physiological and physical processes that control the productivity of managed and natural plant communities and how the knowledge of these processes can be applied in contrasting environments and species. To contribute to the understanding of concepts and principles gained in the Resource Capture by Crops module, is a follow up module called Crop Research Techniques which I am currently taking.This offers hands-on practical experience and has introduced me to important techniques for crop research with emphasis on resource capture and utilisation by plant communities. The module details principles of measurement, data acquisition, handling and interpretation, plant growth analysis, sampling and analysis of soils, weather and microclimate variables including solar radiation, temperature, and humidity. In addition to the research and analytical skills I have gained, I have also acquired the skills and the knowledge of using modern state of the art instrumentation and techniques to quantify resource capture by crops.

At present, I am working on my MSc research project entitled: Resource Use Efficiency and Resilience of Ancient Wheat Species. My research considers whether three ‘ancient wheat species', spelt (Triticum spelta L.), emmer (Triticum dicoccum) and einkorn (Triticum monococcum L.) are more adapted to hostile environments than modern bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) based on their physiological characteristics and comparative radiation use efficiencies. This research is from the background that a combination of early domestication of crop plants and modern plant breeding has led to reduced genetic diversity in crop species compared to their wild progenitors making them more susceptible to biotic and abiotic stresses. This narrow gene pool makes it difficult to select for crop varieties that perform well in harsh environments. Landraces and progenitors of modern genotypes are said to provide much greater genetic diversity than modern cultivated varieties. I am therefore working on a field experiment analysing and comparing mainly the canopy characteristics and the radiation use efficiency and biomass partitioning of the three ancient wheat species with that of the bread making wheat. The long term goal is that desirable traits may be identified from the progenitors which could be introgressed into the cultivated bread making wheat. My undergraduate dissertation albeit being Animal Science related also introduced me to the tenets of research through rigorous data collection and analysis procedures.

Coming from a tropical region, where the most limiting factor of crop production is water, I have always been very interested in the impacts of drought and water relations of crops. This PhD project being offered by your institution is even more fascinating for me because, if sustainable crop production and food security is to be achieved in the world in the face of current climate change and escalating population, the production of wheat production will have to be adapted to new climatic conditions and environmental pressures. Pursuing a PhD at Aarhus University with its broad-reaching curriculum and cutting-edge research facilities on this particular topic is a unique privilege that will make me ready for high quality research to fulfil my long term career goal. I am convinced that I will meet the high standards set by the University and make you proud of the contribution I will make to the field of study.

I am a professional teacher with considerable secondary school teaching experience in Agricultural science. This experience has introduced me to the pleasures of leading class discussions and the challenges of transforming new material - some of it unfamiliar to me - into useful discussion. My six years of professional experience has provided me with a broad view, confidence and independence that is useful in assisting me in my research work. My undergraduate education and Masters Programme have been personally and academically enriching and I am determined now to advance my knowledge with a PhD. I wish to earn a PhD so that I can pursue a career in research and experience the excitement and satisfaction of being at the forefront academia. This degree offers me the opportunity to combine a lecturing/research career with being a resource person to institutions, businesses, and Government and Non-government organisations on crop physiology and agronomy related issues and policies.

It will be a pleasure to discuss this position with you in the near future or receive a favourable response from you. If you require any additional materials or information, I would be happy to supply it.

Thank you for your consideration.


Adu, Michael Osei

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