Would you like to contribute to a resilient and sustainable future for the sandy-soil landscapes of the Netherlands? Would you like to quantify how natural landscapes function based on patterns of soil suitability and water availability, and explore how this knowledge can support sustainable land use in a changing climate? Then this PhD position is the perfect fit for you!

This 4-year fully funded PhD position is part of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) grant “NAT: Nature-based approaches for climate-robust, sustainable and productive sandy-soil landscapes” carried out in collaboration with several academic institutions and other stakeholders in the Netherlands.

Recent extreme weather events have clearly shown that intensive agricultural use, drainage-focused water management, and groundwater extraction endangers present and future agricultural production and environmental quality in the sandy-soil landscapes of the Netherlands. These are especially vulnerable to climate-change and over-exploitation as fresh-water supply is limited and soils drain fast. Hence, there is an urgent need for a radical paradigm shift to secure future socio-ecological and socio-economic functioning of these landscapes.

The advertised position is part of a large interdisciplinary research project that develops new propositions for a climate-robust and sustainable (i.e. circular) use of the sandy-soil landscapes of the Netherlands. As PhD candidate focusing on the biogeophysical landscape aspects, you will: 1) Develop a spatially explicit model to quantitatively reconstruct natural functioning of soil-water-land use systems; 2) Investigate how land-use and water management changed the soil-water dynamics, including interactions and feedbacks; 3) Investigate how the soil-water-land use system is affected by climate change, and 4) Use the acquired understanding to evaluate and design landscape regeneration approaches.

Throughout the project you will collaborate with researchers from other domains and a wide range of stakeholders. The research is embedded within the Soil Geography and Landscape group, which is led by Prof. dr Jakob Wallinga. You will be co-supervised by Dr. Jasper Candel and Dr. Annegret Larsen.

We ask

You have

  • a successfully completed MSc degree in physical geography, soil science, hydrology, environmental science, or a related field;
  • prior experience with, or demonstrable interest in, Dutch water and/or agricultural systems;
  • a keen interest, and preferably proven ability, to quantitatively study soil-water-land use systems and feedbacks at landscape scale;
  • Interest and ability for collaborating with scientists from other disciplines and stakeholders;
  • Excellent organizational and communicating skills;

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language.

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 € 2.541,- per month rising to € 3.247,- 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

For more information about this position, please contact Jakob Wallinga, project leader, +31 317 484040, Jakob.wallinga@wur.nl or Jasper Candel, supervisor, +31 317 482038 or jasper.candel@wur.nl.

For more information about the procedure, please contact Edgar Tijhuis, email edgar.tijhuis@wur.nl, Recruiter or Joke Cobben, email joke.cobben@wur.nl. 

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 September 15, 2022. We plan to schedule the first job interviews on Thursday September 29, 2022. The preferred starting date for this position is November 1, 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, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

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