Postdoc Chemical Ecology Of Mealybug Parasitoids – NIOO-KNAW – Wageningen:

What you will be doing
You will work in a project titled “Smart parasitoids: effective biological control”, which aims to reduce the reliance on pesticides in ornamental greenhouse crops by improving biological control. You will work with a study system of mealybugs as pest insects and parasitoid wasps as biocontrol agents.

In this project, we aim to enhance the effectiveness of these parasitoids by providing them with information on the presence of pest insects through learning. Together with private/industrial partners (in biological control) and ornamental crop growers, we are developing an application that automatically trains parasitoids in the greenhouse. 

What you will be contributing
As the postdoc on the project, you will connect chemical ecology with parasitoid behavior, tailored to biological control practice.

Your tasks comprise: 
•    Collect insect extracts and/or headspace and work with NIOO-technicians in the chemistry lab to process these samples (using GC-QTOF);
•    Perform chemical analyses to identify candidate compounds that influence behavior of parasitoid wasps;
•    Collaborate with the project-technician and PI to design and perform behavioral experiments with parasitoid wasps using laboratory assays and experimental greenhouses;
•    Participate in experiments on parasitoid behavior and effectiveness in commercial greenhouses;
•    Collaborate with stakeholders in the field of biological control and with Dutch growers of ornamental greenhouse crops;
•    Present your work at (inter)national meetings and publish scientific articles;
•    Supervise technical (MBO, HBO) and MSc students.

Job requirements
•    A PhD degree in chemical ecology;
•    Demonstrable experience in analyses of chemical data (volatile organic compounds);
•    Experience with insects (biological control systems and/or behavioral experiments) will be of added value;
•    Good organisational skills;
•    Capacity to connect with people outside academia;
•    Language skills: fluency in spoken and written English is required. 

What we offer
You will be part of the Terrestrial Ecology department at NIOO-KNAW in Wageningen. The position is 0.8-1.0 fte (30.4-38 hours/week), initially for 1 year, and can be extended to a maximum of 1.5 years total (based on go/-no-go project decision and upon satisfactory performance). Preferred starting date March 2023.

Depending on education and experience the minimum salary is €3,557.00 and the maximum salary is € 4,670.00 gross per month for a full-time appointment (scale 10 cao Nederlandse Universiteiten/KNAW). This is exclusive of 8% vacation allowance, 8.3% year-end bonus, travel allowance, internet allowance, home working allowance and pension accrual with ABP.

The KNAW offers its staff an excellent package of secondary benefits. A package that meets the different needs of employees depending on their stage of life, lifestyle or career ambitions. For example, by working an extra two hours a week, it is possible to increase the number of days off from 29 to 41 days a year (with full-time employment). 
For a complete overview of the terms of employment, please refer to the web page: werken bij de KNAW.

For more information
Please contact Dr. Jetske de Boer:; +31 6 34073696.

Application Procedure 
In your application, in English, please include a cover letter indicating your motivation and relevant experience, a CV, and two professional referees (name, address, telephone & email). Deadline for applications is 22-1-2023.

About NIOO
The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) is a top research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). NIOO-KNAW focuses on fundamental and strategic research on individual organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems.
Diversity & Inclusion
The KNAW considers a working environment in which everyone feels welcome and appreciated of great importance. A working environment in which attention is paid to individual quality and where development opportunities are paramount. Together we strive for an inclusive culture in which we embrace differences.

We would therefore like to invite candidates who want to contribute to this through their background and experience. In the event of equal suitability, preference will be given to the candidate who thus enhances diversity within the Academy.


Deadline for applications is 22-1-2023.

Leave a Reply