Are you interested in understanding of how crop diversity can be used to manage size and composition of the weed flora? Then we might have the perfect opportunity for you at Wageningen University & Research to start your PhD research.

You will contribute to finding more ecological alternatives  for the currently chemical control of weeds of which is known to have serious negative environmental and health effects. Your duties and responsibilities include:

collecting information on how crops have differential influences on various weed species, specifically through their competitiveness and the direct control options they are offering, explore how crop rotation shapes the weed species community, with the use of a multi-species weed trait-based population model, Publication of results in high impact journals, Contribution to teaching is welcomed.

We ask

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with the following qualifications:

  •     An MSc degree in plant science, agronomy, biology, ecology or related discipline;
  •     Experience with quantitative modelling methods (modelling, systems analysis) and field experimentation;
  •     Interest in sustainable crop production and biodiversity, as well as in fundamental questions in the domain of crop-weed interactions;
  •     Ability to think, express, write and communicate scientifically;
  •     Affinity to work within a larger multi-disciplinary project, and you have strong project/time management 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. More information can be found here.

We offer

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 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 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.

More information

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Lammert Bastiaans (, Prof. Niels Anten ( and Dr. Merel Hofmeijer    (

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 listed up to and including 6 February 2023. We hope to schedule the first job interviews soon after this closing date.

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.

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. 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 project:

Crop diversification in space and time offers various means to add to the management of weed populations, though a quantitative appraisel of these contributions is often lacking. In this project these two axes of diversification are combined having  intercropping (spatial diversity) linked to crop rotations (temporal diversity) in a long-term systems experiment conducted at an unprecedented temporal and spatial scale. Intercropping may help manage weeds e.g. through more effective competition or greater faunal diversity leading to more effective seed predation. Through crop rotation, differences in growing season, weed suppresiveness and direct control options between crops are exploited

The results of this PhD project will generate a better understanding of how crop diversity in space (strip cropping) and time (number, order and frequency of crops in a rotation) can be used to manage size and composition of the weed flora. The research involves a combination of simulation modelling and experimentation

This project constitutes a collaboration between the Crop & Weed Ecology Group (where you will be placed) and the Farming Systems Ecology group (FSE) of Wageningen University, Plant Sciences. You will strengthen our work on crop-weed interactions and population modelling, in the context of agroecosystem functioning, by contributing to team meetings and collegial engagement within our team.

Apply now

End date Mon 6 February 2023

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