Vacancy PhD plant toxins:

Do you consider safe food as one of the great challenges of our era? Are you interested in the effects of climate change on food and feed safety? Are you eager to take on the challenge of improving analytical techniques in the field of plant toxins in food and feed using state-of-the-art measurement systems such as LC-(HR)MS? This might be the next step for you! The Natural Toxins team of Wageningen Food Safety Research (WFSR) is looking for an ambitious PhD candidate on plant toxins.

In the PhD project “Searching for new emerging plant toxins” you will:

  • Develop analytical strategies to structurally annotate plant toxins using the newest available high end Mass Spectrometry techniques
  • Develop a database with profiles of plant toxins (by screening a variety of plant species) to identify possible new emerging food or feed safety issues
  • Develop a workflow for identifying compounds when no analytical standards are available
  • Publish the results of your research in scientific journals and present them at international conferences

Climate change, the reduced use of plant protection products and the global sourcing of food and feed ingredients are significantly altering the global distribution of weed plants and their toxic metabolites. Plants can – due to stress – produce more toxins and toxin-producing plants can also become more widely distributed. In this changing scenario, emerging plant toxins can enter the food and feed chain causing the food produced to be unsafe for consumption.

To monitor this potential food safety hazard, you will develop mass spectrometric strategies to annotate plant toxins. You will build a comprehensive database of (emerging) plant toxins that can be used to screen food. The results obtained will enable better informed actions to prevent and address food safety issues that may arise from emerging plant toxins.

The PhD project is a collaboration between the team Natural Toxins at Wageningen Food Safety Research and the Chair group of Organic Chemistry at Wageningen University.

We ask

  • You have a successfully completed MSc in (bio)analytical chemistry, food chemistry, food safety or related area
  • Complementary to or as a part of your MSc, you have a strong interest and demonstrable skills in analytical chemistry, preferably High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry. You preferably have knowledge of instrumental residue analysis of (plant) toxins
  • The enthusiasm to further develop your knowledge and experience in instrumental plant toxins analysis and research
  • You to have excellent communication skills, both in speech and writing
  • You to like to work in a multidisciplinary setting
  • You work in a critical, accurate and efficient way
  • Fulfillment of all admission criteria to start a PhD in Wageningen.

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognized 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:

  • 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 hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • 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 4%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will of course 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 € 2.511,- per month rising to € 3.209,- in the fourth year for a full-time working week of 36 hours, in accordance with the CLA Wageningen Research (scale P0).
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.

More information

For more information about this position, please contact Linda Stolker, Team leader of The Natural Toxins team, telephone +31 317-480390, or by e-mail

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly 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 open till January 15, 2023. We look forward for your application with a motivational letter and your resume. At this stage we don’t require any other documents.
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.

Wageningen University & Research The mission of Wageningen University and 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 and 13.200 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 Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020. Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus! We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.

Apply now

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