Do you hold a PhD in soil science, biogeochemistry, ecology, microbial ecology or a related field? Are you a highly motivated researcher? Are you eager to capitalise on your PhD skills and develop new ones to contribute to furthering fundamental understanding of the climate resilience of soil carbon cycling in a highly agronomically relevant context? Then this could be the ideal opportunity for you!

The Soil Biology Group at Wageningen University and Research is seeking a postdoctoral researcher to join their team and investigate the effects of agroforestry management on soil carbon cycling and its sensitivity to climate warming and drought. Agroforestry has emerged as a potential adaptation strategy of farms against climate change. It is often argued to increase soil carbon, improve nutrient cycling and promote soil biodiversity.

However, large disparities between sites and conditions can be observed in the literature, and the mechanisms supporting all the potential benefits of agroforestry remain very poorly understood and rarely thoroughly investigated. This project aims to improve our understanding of the effects of agroforestry management on soil carbon cycling and its sensitivity to climate warming and drought.

You will work here: As a postdoctoral researcher, you will work under the supervision of, and in close collaboration with, dr. Marie Zwetsloot and dr. Gabriel Moinet, at the interface of their research expertise in plant and root ecology (dr. Marie Zwetlsoot) and soil carbon and nutrient cycling (dr. Gabriel Moinet) to study interactions between plant organic matter inputs and soil biochemical processes at agroforestry sites in response to climate change.

A large part of your mission will be to design and conduct field experiments at a range of agroforestry sites in commercial farms (at least in France and the Netherlands) and will design and execute controlled laboratory studies manipulating warming and drought in mesocosms combining both plants and soil from agroforestry and control sites.

Your duties and responsibilities include:

  • Contribute to designing a coherent set of field and laboratory experiments addressing the main objective;
  • Collect, manage and analyze the data;
  • Coordinate communication with the farmers for site access and logistics;
  • Write high quality peer-reviewed scientific articles in reputable journals.

Your qualities The ideal candidate must possess:

  • Strong statistical analytical skills and proficiency with the R software
  • Strong theoretical understanding of soil carbon and nutrient dynamics in relation to land use and farm management practices, and to soil microbes and to plants
  • Ability and eagerness to work independently and as part of a team
  • Ability and eagerness to work both in the field and in the laboratory
  • Hands on experience in soil sampling and analyses, preferably including root sampling and analyses
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English. 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.
  • Oral proficiency in French is a bonus (as at least some of the field work will be conducted in France)

You can see that there are plenty of challenges ahead of you. These challenges can also be seen as development opportunities. So if you do not yet have the track-record required in the vacancy, but do have solid work experience, we would also like to invite you to apply.

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, 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 of course receive a good salary. Depending on your experience, we offer a competitive gross salary of between € 3226 and € 5090 for a full-time working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale 10). Additionally, a contract for 0.8 FTE can be discussed. Initially, we offer you a two-year contract, which can be extended to one more year if there is mutual enthusiasm.

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. 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. Gabriel Moinet, by email: For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, Corporate Recruiter, by email :

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 4 September 2023. We hope to schedule the job interviews between 18 and 22 September 2023. Ideal start date of the project is 1 November 2023 (negotiable).

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.

About the Soil Biology Group : The Soil Biology Group blends expertise from the soil, plant and ecological sciences to strengthen cutting edge research and education in the areas of Fertile Soils; Soils in a Changing Climate; Functional Soil Biodiversity and Soil Biological Indicators and Land Management.

We have four core themes in which we focus our research. The Soil Biology Group is supported by four laboratories, including; a soil biology lab, microscopy lab, microbiology lab and molecular ecology lab. We also work in close collaboration with soil chemistry laboratories and with a soil physics lab.

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