Are you passionate about addressing global water and sustainability challenges? Do you have a keen interest in working with large-scale numerical models? Are you looking for an exciting opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research? Then we have the perfect opportunity for you!

The Water System and Global Change Group at Wageningen University and Research is seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate to join our team for a full time position spanning 4 years.This role involves global-scale hydrology and water resources modelling and application to study issues related to the water-food-environment nexus.

As part of the GROW project team, funded by the ERC Starting Grant, you will help quantify the availability of global groundwater for sustainable use and assess whether this is sufficient to maintain current and future required crop production to support global food demands. Specifically, you will focus on the impacts of current and future climate and socio-economic development on crop water requirements and the trade-off between water usage for crop production and the environment.

To achieve this, you will contribute to the development of our in-house global-scale hydrological model VIC-WUR by coupling it to the crop model WOFOST. Your work will involve studying the contribution of groundwater to crop production under different climate and socio-economic conditions, as well as examining the impacts of groundwater overuse on freshwater resources.

Additionally, you will investigate the trade-offs between sustainable groundwater use and crop production needed to meet global food demands. You will also develop water use scenarios that aim to promote sustainable groundwater use worldwide while ensuring sufficient crop production.

We are looking for candidates who have experience in programming (preferably Python) and a background in hydrology or a related field and/or crop growth modelling. In this role, you will work closely with other PhDs and Postdocs within the GROW project team.

You will also be part of the Water Systems and Global Change group at Wageningen University, which studies the impact of future climate change on the global water cycle and its effects on water usage for food, energy, and the environment. As a PhD candidate in our group, you will join the PhD program of the WIMEK graduate school. This is a unique opportunity to work on cutting-edge research in a dynamic and supportive team, while also contributing to global sustainability efforts.

Your qualities

To be successful in this role, we are looking for candidates with the following qualifications and skills:

  • A completed (or about to be completed) MSc degree in hydrology, environmental sciences, earth sciences, or a related field;
  • Passion for working on global water and sustainability challenges;
  • Demonstrated enthusiasm for working with large datasets and large-scale numerical modelling in context of global change;
  • Affinity for working with numerical modelling, preferably on High-Performance Computing platforms;
  • Affinity or willingness to learn about crop growth modelling;
  • Experience in scripting and programming, preferably in Python, R, and/or C;
  • Ability to work effectively in multidisciplinary teams;
  • Meet all the entry requirements of the  WUR PhD programme;
  • Fluency in English, both written and spoken;

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 you:

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;
  • 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.

Do you want more information? For more information about this position, please contact dr. ir. Inge de Graaf (PI of GROW), by telephone: 0317 48619 or by e-mail:,  or prof. Fulco Ludwig (Chair holder) by e-mail: For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, Corporate Recruiter, 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 listed up to and including 10th July 2023. We hope to schedule the first job interviews in the first week of August.

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 & 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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