Skip To Content

Athabasca University

Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistantship

February 09, 2015

Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistantship


Environmental and Life Sciences Program


Trent University



Title: Interseeding cover crops in grain corn for improving soil health

Supervisor:  Dr. Mehdi Sharifi, Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Sustainable Agriculture, Environmental and Resource Studies Program, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario 

Location: Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario

Project: Interseeding cover crops in corn offers an opportunity to enhance soil health parameters, improve nutrient use efficiency, reduce soil erosion and consequently contribute to long-term profitability of corn production in Ontario. There is limited information on choices of cover crops, seeding strategies, soil health and economic benefits of interseeding cover crops in grain corn production. The overall objective of this project is to assess the contribution of interseeding cover crops to long-term profitability of corn production in Ontario through their effects on soil health, nitrogen (N) use efficiency, and residual soil nitrate reduction at harvest. Three new corn trials will be established at three sites with different soil properties and corn heat units. These sites include Trent University Sustainable Agriculture Experimental Farm, and University of Guelph Experimental Farms at Elora and Ridgetown. The final outcome of the project would be ranking of the interseeding cover crop treatments in terms of establishment, biomass production, competitiveness with grain corn, and effects on sensitive indicators of soil health and residual soil nitrate at harvest. The soil health and soil nitrate reduction benefits will be linked with long-term profitability. The interseeder technology will be tested for effective integration of cover crops into corn stands. This is a three-year project funded by Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO). 


An MSc degree in Agriculture, Soil Science, Agronomy, Environmental Sciences, Biology or related disciplines with a min.of 85-89% on last 10 full university credits (A average). Preference will be given to Canadian Citizen and Permanent Residents of Canada

Desired start date: May 2015

Application deadline: March 15, 2015 or until a qualified candidate is found 

Stipend:  As per university funding levels ($21000/yr for three years)

To Apply:  Please submit a cover letter that includes a brief summary of your research experience/interests/goals, CV, unofficial transcripts, and names of 2 academic references to: Dr. Mehdi Sharifi, Ph: 705-7481011 ext. 7954; Fax: 705-748-1569;



Students will also be required to apply to the Environmental & Life Sciences graduate program through Trent University at .


Graduate Program Information:

For additional information please contact Linda Cardwell at or visit Trent University graduate studies website at

Updated February 26 2015 by FST Technical Staff

AU, CANADA'S OPEN UNIVERSITY, is an internationally recognized leader in online and distance learning.