Can you imagine a future with autonomous crop production systems that provide sustainable and nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables on demand? Are you enthusiastic about working in an interdisciplinary team, exploring the future of food production? Then we may be looking for you!

The chair group Horticulture and Product Physiology is looking for a PhD researcher to join their team in exploring the future of controlled environment cultivations. This research project is part of the 4TU.Redesign consortium. The aim of the 4TU.Redesign programme is to develop the next-generation food system by linking local consumer wishes in a smart way with local production of fruits and vegetables in protected environments thereby increasing appeal, robustness, variety, and continuity.

The 4TU-cooperation brings together policy, engineering, behavioural and plant sciences, providing the capacity to develop a ‘total solution’, i.e. a complete system which can be tuned to each city. Within this cooperation, the chair group Horticulture and Product Physiology focuses on Dutch controlled environment agriculture (greenhouses and vertical farms), where novel methodologies to grow fruits and vegetables autonomously, locally and on-demand, will be developed.

In this project, you will explore future cultivation scenarios, identify strategies for managing resources efficiently throughout the year and develop an intelligent decision-support system for crop selection and nutritional optimization. Your work will be instrumental in shaping the future of controlled environment cultivations, contributing to sustainable and cutting-edge food production.

Your qualities We are looking for result-driven team player. We ask for:

  • An MSc degree degree in Plant Sciences, Biosystems Engineering,  or a related discipline;
  • Being capable to operate in an international and highly multi-disciplinary environment.
  • A strong affinity with conceptualizing, quantifying and big-picture thinking.
  • Excellent communication skills as well as good proficiency in English (both oral and written).

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.

We offer you 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.

Do you want more information? For more information about this position, please contact Nastassia Vilfan (assistant professor, Nastassia.Vilfan@wur.nl), Cristina Zepeda (assistant professor, Cristina.Zepeda@wur.nl) or Leo Marcelis (Chair Horticulture and Product Physiology, leo.marcelis@wur.nl
For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, Corporate Recruiter, by email : vacaturemeldingen.psg@wur.nl

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 28 August 2023.  Job interviews are planned for 12 September

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.

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 contributes to sustainably feeding the World with healthy high-quality products. The chair group is an international team consisting of 20 staff members, about 45 PhD candidates and postdocs and a number of guest researchers.

Each year about 50 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.

Apply now

End date: Mon 28 August 2023

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