We are offering a fully funded PhD studentship to research key questions that will underpin the establishment of a genetic improvement program for small holder dairy cattle systems in Senegal.
The government of Senegal has initiated a National Program for Livestock Development (PNDE) seeking to achieve self-sufficiency in the production of animal-source foods and increase the economic vitality of the value chain by 2026. Improving the productivity and competitiveness of the livestock sector is a key component of the plan. Together with colleagues, we have recently performed trade-off analysis on different smallholder dairy cattle production systems in Senegal. We identified that indigenous Zebu by Bos Taurus crossbred animals, kept under good management, represent a promising dairy system as long as measures are put in place to ensure a year-round supply of safe animal feed. We also identified a need to establish a national dairy cattle breeding scheme aimed at providing genetically superior crossbred bulls and cows and this PhD studentship will contribute to the initial design of this scheme.
The successful applicant will: (i) analyse existing survey data to identify breeding goals; (ii) use the results of this analysis to design data collection strategies for crossbred cows in small holder systems; (iii) design of a genetic evaluation system; and (iv) use stochastic simulation to optimise the design of the breeding scheme.
This PhD-candidate will be supervised by John Hickey at The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, UK and Karen Marshall at The International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya. The candidate will be primarily based at one of the two institutes, dependent of the candidates choice, and will have an opportunity to spend periods of time at the other institutes. The student can also enrol as an ILRI Graduate Fellow. Both the supervisors and the candidate will be members of the Centre For Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health.