Research Fellowships – MSc and PhD under AGG Project

Description of the topic

The Accelerating Genetic Gains in Maize and Wheat for Improved Livelihoods (AGG) project aims to accelerate the development and delivery of more productive, climate-resilient, gender-responsive, market-demanded, and nutritious maize and wheat varieties in support of sustainable agricultural transformation in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia (SA). The project will:

  1. support the CIMMYT maize and wheat -- and the IITA maize -- breeding programs in optimizing their cultivar development pipelines, management approaches and breeding technologies to accelerate genetic gains; and
  2. support the modernization of breeding by national agricultural research and extension system (NARS) partners in SSA and SA.


Capacity building is undertaken as part of the project through different project objectives. The AGG project will provide research fellowships to graduate students (MSc and PhD) to selected graduate students to conduct their research with AGG project scientists at CIMMYT and IITA. The opportunities will be published at the CIMMYT Academy at


To qualify, interested students should meet the following criteria:

  1. Be enrolled in a university
  2. Have funds for travel to and from CIMMYT or IITA research stations, stipend and living costs
  3. Have health insurance

Below are the general research areas which students can apply for.

Research Topics:

  1. Genomic selection: Incorporating pedigree and G x E interactions under optimum and stress conditions
  2. Selection indices: Applications in multi-location and multi-trait data analysis for varietal selection
  3. G x E interaction: Analysis and optimization of testing schemes for maize breeding programs
  4. Evaluation of Methods and Strategies for Parental Selection
    1. Bayesian Decision theory, Optimal Candidate Selection (OCS) and Cross Selection
    2. Parental contribution in multi-parental crosses
  5. Regional On-Farm Trials: Improvement Using Environmental Data
    1. Identification of environmental parameters
    2. Multivariate, Mixed and Bayesian models for analysis
  6. Seed production research (optimizing seed yield in commercial seed production, developing and validating fake seed detection and tracking methods)
  7. Mechanisms of water use in drying soil conditions under different vapor pressure deficits in drought and heat stress.
  8. Screening of IITA elite early and extra-early maize populations and local accessions from Coastal and Sahel regions of West Africa under artificial fall armyworm infestation.
  9. Understanding of diagnosis, distribution, and diversity of ear rot pathogens of maize in eastern Africa.

Please contact the student research coordinators via email for more information.

  1. Dr. Dan Makumbi (
  2. Dr. Biswanath Das (
  3. Dr. Cosmos Magorokosho (
  4. Dr. Abebe Menkir (