Are you that enthusiastic and highly motivated PhD student that wants to work on the link between flowering time, plant architecture and yield in barley? Then read on!

In temperate cereals yield is determined by a delegate balance between the moment of flowering, seed weight and seed and side branch (tiller) number. These yield components are controlled by architecture genes that regulate tiller- and seed outgrowth, and the flowering time genes which control the timing of this growth. All these traits are seemingly unconnected, but recent evidence indicates that the same genes and regulatory modules control both the flowering time and the outgrowth of seeds and tillers, but importantly, contributing in an opposite manner to yield.

Such negative correlations between yield components make improvement of yield difficult. An optimal balance between flowering time, and seed and tiller numbers is thus essential to maximize yield. This requires knowledge-based breeding strategies, aiming to increase yield through manipulation of flowering time, and different plant architectural traits.

Your role in the team is to unravel the molecular and genetic bases that underlie the trade-off between key yield components in temperate cereals, barley and wheat. You will investigate how flowering time, and seed and tiller numbers are connected at the molecular level. In addition, you will study the effect of natural variation in key regulators on the molecular networks. For this you will use a scale of known molecular techniques and develop state-of-the art omics tools to study protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions of key yield controlling transcriptional regulators.

We ask

The ideal candidate should have:

  • M.Sc. degree in either plant molecular biology, genetics or relate fields
  • Interest and passion for studying molecular networks that control plant development
  • A team player
  • Excellent interpersonal skills (communication, presentation)
  • For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. 
  • Knowledge of state-of the art molecular techniques
  • Strong background in bioinformatics, molecular biology and/or genetics
  • Interest in developing and implementing new technologies
  • Experience with cereal crops such as barley and wheat is a plus

We offer

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our  Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • study leave and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.443,- per month rising to € 3.122,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “ Best University ” in the Netherlands for the 17th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research’s International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR.

More information

Do you want more information?
For more information about this function, please contact Wilma van Esse, project leader, by e-mail

For more information about the procedure, please contact Ine van ‘t Land, corporate recruiter via

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly by uploading your CV and motivation letter, using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including up and until June 6st, 2022. 

We are

Wageningen University & Research
The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 6.800 employees and 12.900 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named the best university of the Netherlands by students for the 17th time in a row.

The Laboratory of Molecular Biology
The Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the Wageningen University is part of the newly formed cluster Plant Developmental Biology (PDB). The research of PDB focuses on plant development potentially in response to the biotic and abiotic environment. PDB brings together a group of highly motivated and international scientist with a broad spectrum of expertise that study plant development at various levels ranging from molecular interactions and signaling, cellular dynamics, stem cell development till organ formation and the response of plants to their environment. The team carries out fundamental research with potential impact on societal challenges and knowledge implementation in crops.

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