PhD Scholarship on Agronomy and Climate Change

Date limite: 
15 Jan 2017

One fully‐funded PhD fellowship is available for highly talented candidate to investigate the Alternate Wetting and Drying approach for water saving in rice production and climate change mitigation in Burkina‐Faso. 


The Africa Rice Center coordinates a project on “Climate‐smart rice technologies to enhance resilience of smallholder rice farmers in Burkina‐Faso”. Project implementation partners are Environmental Institute for Agricultural Research (INERA), VECO West‐Africa and Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES) at the University of Bonn in Germany. The overall objective of the project is to increase the adaptive capacity of smallholder rice farmers to the effects of climate change through the adoption of climate‐smart rice technologies. More specifically, the project’s objective is to adapt and evaluate such technologies in participatory processes with rice farmers and to facilitate large‐scale diffusion among rice farmers in Burkina‐Faso and elsewhere in West Africa. 

Rice production systems are major consumers of freshwater resources. Irrigated rice farmers must adapt to conditions of reduced water availability due to increased competition from other sectors and reduced rainfall and increased evaporation due to climate change. One way to deal with this challenge is using water‐saving regimes, such as Alternate Wetting and Drying, in their rice fields. However, this approach must be evaluated and adapted to prevailing conditions before it can be introduced at large scale. The PhD candidate will investigate the Alternate Wetting and Drying method for water saving in rice production and climate change mitigation and its potential for large‐scale adoption in Burkina‐Faso.  


A 3‐year PhD scholarship is comprehensive and will cover stipend (€ 1,250 / month for up to 36 months), research costs, tuition, international and regional travel, and insurance. The student will enroll in the PhD program at the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Bonn in Germany. The candidate will be supervised by Prof Mathias Becker of INRES and Dr Sander Zwart of AfricaRice. The candidate is expected to start no later than April 2017.


  • MSc degree with above average grades in Agronomy or closely related fields, obtained less than 5 years ago; 
  • Proven qualifications in agronomic field experimentation, water/irrigation management, the use of statistical methods and crop modelling ; 
  • Excellent analytical skills preferably demonstrated through previous experience; 
  • Good English writing skills; and 
  • Working knowledge of French for field work and day to day communication.   
  • Basic communication skills in German would be an additional advantage.


The candidate must hold a nationality from one of the 26 member states of AfricaRice. See the AfricaRice website for the full list of countries. 

Application Procedure

Candidates should submit the following documents complied in one single PDF document: 

  1. Application letter, stipulating the motivation for pursuing a PhD degree and elaborating on the candidate’s experience in relation to the requirements; 
  2. Curriculum vitae, concise and focusing on academic training, relevant work experience, publications and scientific engagement;
  3. The names, affiliations and e‐mail coordinates of two senior scientists (candidate’s thesis supervisor, main professor or current employer) as references for recommendation letters;
  4. Brief proposal of the methodology for the research, maximum 500 words and only focusing on the methodological framework and the tools required; and
  5. University certificates and academic transcripts, detailing BSc and MSc degrees. 

Candidates should address their complete application file to  

  1. Professor Dr. Mathias Becker (mathias.becker@uni‐; as well as to 
  2. Ms. Lucie Dalie ( mentioning in the subject line “Climate‐smart rice technologies – PhD application”.