Are you that researcher that likes to optimize the production of high quality fresh tomatoes in vertical farms based on understanding of physiological mechanisms. The chair group Horticulture and Product Physiology of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is offering a PhD position which is the opportunity you are looking for.

You will conduct experiments in climate controlled rooms aiming to increase our understanding of physiological responses of tomato in vertical farms. You will investigate the response of growth, development and quality of tomato to growth conditions  in a vertical farm (light, temperature, fertilizers) and study the physiological mechanisms leading to these responses.

This research project is funded by the  Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research’s (FFAR) Precision Indoor Plants (PIP) consortium. In this project we collaborate closely with the University of Florida (Dr. Denise Tieman) and California  (Dr. Robert Jinkerson ). The overall project goal is to define and enhance the physical and genetic traits in tomatoes that affect flavor and that can make them suitable for controlled environments. The role of Wageningen University in this project is to optimize the growth conditions

Function Requirements

    An MSc degree in Plant Sciences, Plant Biology or a related discipline;

    Proven experience with physiological research on whole plants and/or crops 

    Proven experience with setting up and conducting experiments with crops in controlled environment agriculture

    A proven ability to think conceptually;

    You are a problem solver and a result-driven team player with creative ideas 

    You are strong in project management 

    You have excellent communication skills and you like to communicate with stake holders

    You have a very good proficiency in English (both oral and written).

Working conditions

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

    sabbatical leave, 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 12 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 18th 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.

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. For instance under the “30% rule”, certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.

Contact information

For more information about this function you can contact Prof. dr Leo Marcelis, e-mail: or dr Ep Heuvelink,

For more information about the procedure, please contact

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 is open up to and including 19 December 2022.

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. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.


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.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

The chair group Horticulture & Product Physiology

The chair group Horticulture and Product Physiology conducts high impact research and educates students providing the scientific basis required to answer questions that are of utmost importance for sustainable crop production and product quality in horticulture.

The research focus is on how physiological processes in crops, plants and plant organs interact with the abiotic environment and how this affects crop production and product quality. Questions arising from horticultural practice are translated into fundamental research topics, aiming to explain mechanisms. The research and education contribute to sustainably feeding the World with healthy high-quality products.

The chair group is an international team consisting of 18 permanent staff members, about 35 PhD candidates and postdocs and a number of guest researchers. Each year about 40 MSc students conduct their thesis study (a 6-month research) at our group. We organize and participate in a variety of courses for BSc and MSc students to transfer knowledge on horticulture (pre- and post harvest), environmental physiology and product quality.


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