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Applications invited for MSc and PhD in Orphan Crops breeding: Deadline 14 June

June 14, 2017

Enhancing training and research mobility for novel crops breeding in Africa

MoBreed (Mobility for Breeders in Africa) is an initiative of five public universities from three African regions and one university in Europe to advance knowledge on useful crops of Africa and increase scholars’ capacity in addressing food security. Partners include the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin and Ebonyi State University in Nigeria (West Africa), the Jimma University of Ethiopia (Eastern Africa), the University of Namibia and the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa (Southern Africa) and Montpellier SupAgro in France.

MoBreed is funded by the Intra-Africa Program of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Commission.  The consortium mainly intends to:

  • produce 10 high profile plant breeders (PhD holders) that will address current and future challenges related to climate change and agriculture with focus on at least 10 promising underutilized plant species of Africa,
  • train a new generation of 38 scientists (M.Sc. holders) and 6 academic staff with strong capacity to increase knowledge and prospects on the selected orphan crops used in Africa for food and nutrition security and the crop production and seed industry.
  • harmonize seven MSc and six PhD training programmes and research agenda on the use of neglected and underutilized crops to increase resilience of food production systems.

MoBreed, as part of the curriculum and professional mobility of academic staff and students of Master and PhD levels in plant breeding and seed biotechnology, offers a new approach that frontally addresses the lack of human resources to advance knowledge on orphan crops, also known as underutilized species of Africa.

Our research aims at increasing quality information on the use and conservation of neglected and underutilized species (NUS) and crop wild relatives (CWR) in Africa, specifically food crops such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, root and tubers, and cereals. Of paramount importance is the use of genetic diversity and the development of cultivars for improved yield in African agriculture. Our investigation and expertise revolve around all key areas of germplasm collections and uses, modern plant genetics and breeding, plant genomics and biotechnology. We focus our research on useful resources of tropical Africa, recognized by the African Orphan Crop Consortium (AOCC) as priority crops. Other potential food crops not listed by AOCC are also included in our investigation. We value collaboration with seed companies and private enterprises involved in cultivar development and share the hope that the seed industry in Africa will expand as new cultivars are developed from indigenous genetic resources adapted to local ecological conditions.

Programs and courses of the consortium are available at

MoBreed fosters diversity and gender equity at the work place. Therefore, women and persons from underprivileged groups are especially encouraged to apply. For more information visit


June 14, 2017
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