The RGE-FABI Tree Health Programme (THP) was established as a co-operative venture between FABI and the Indonesian-based forestry company RGE, to enhance knowledge relating to the health of plantation trees in Indonesia. This Programme has been exceptionally successful leading to outstanding research products, solutions to practical tree - health problems, as well as student education. In 2024, the Programme will enter a second five-year term, providing research opportunities for a number of Indonesian and South African PhD students.
The RGE-FABI THP currently has vacancies for two PhD student projects. These research projects will focus on the identification, and a fundamental understanding, of tree pathogens and pests in Indonesian plantations. The successful candidates will conduct their fieldwork in Indonesia, while the laboratory research will be based at FABI in South Africa. Other than providing a superb opportunity to conduct fundamental biological research, the students will gain substantial experience working in a dynamic international environment in one of the most interesting and rapidly developing regions of the world.
The successful candidates must have completed an MSc degree in Molecular Biology, Plant Sciences, Plant Pathology, Microbiology, Entomology, or a related field. Proven experience and a passion for using DNA-based techniques are essential. These could, for example, include DNA extraction and sequencing, molecular diagnostics, phylogenetics, and population genetics. An interest in working in a strongly international environment, including in the field and with scientists from diverse countries will be an important consideration in the selection of successful candidates.
Value of bursaries
A comprehensive bursary, consistent with competitive levels set out by the National Research Foundation (NRF, South Africa) for up to five years, with reasonable adjustment possible depending on progress, will be provided. Student registration fees and all travel and subsistence costs outside South Africa (based on two visits to Indonesia per annum) will also be covered.
Projects are set to begin in early 2024 and the first round of selection will take place on the 1st December 2023. Applications, currently open, will remain so until successful candidates have been found.