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PhD candidate position in the Soil Biology group of Wageningen University

The PhD candidate will work within the recently granted "Circular Agronomics" European H2020 project, which aims to improve carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and …

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Droevendaalsesteeg, Wageningen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur


The PhD candidate will work within the recently granted "Circular Agronomics" European H2020 project, which aims to improve carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) cycling within the European Agri-food system, thereby contributing to a future more sustainable and circular economy.
The PhD candidate will study the relation between functional diversity of soil biota and the closing of elemental cycles, within the context of the circular economy. In particular, the PhD candidate will study in a series of experiments how various biosolids produced in the food- and livestock- production chains can best be returned to the soil in order to (i) maintain or improve soil C stocks; (ii) increase N and P recycling; and (iii) minimize greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
In a series of (field and laboratory) experiments, diversity of both plant (grass species) and faunal (earthworm species) diversity will be manipulated following a trait-based approach. Subsequently, the performance of these systems in terms of elemental cycling will be quantified using advanced analysis of N, C and P pools and fluxes (including GHG emissions). These results will be linked to functional diversity of the soil community in order to mechanistically understand the relations between biodiversity and sustainability. Ultimately, this knowledge will contribute to designing the sustainable agriculture of the future.
The research will be done in close cooperation with various groups across Europe that will do related experimental work; will provide the biosolids; or will use the results for Life Cycle Analysis modelling. Supervisors (envisaged promotors) are Prof. Jan Willem van Groenigen and Prof. Rachel Creamer.


Applicants for this PhD candidate position should hold a master degree in soil science, soil ecology and/or agronomy, with a strong soil-related experimental background. Especially experience in quantifying nutrient cycling, GHG emissions and/or functional biodiversity (trait-based approaches) are appreciated. Applicants should be strongly interested in the role of agriculture in the circular economy and should be able to work within the context of an international, multidisciplinary project. Excellent communication and writing skills are considered important assets.


The Soil Biology group offers an exciting research environment with fruitful interactions between researchers and students. We offer you a full-time (38 hours), temporary position for a period of 18 months with extension of 30 months after successful evaluation. Gross salary per month € 2,222 in the first year rising up to € 2,840 per month in the fourth year.

Additional information

For more information about this position please contact Prof. dr.ir. Jan Willem van Groenigen (janwillem.vangroenigen@wur.nl; +31-317-484784).

You can apply up and until June 20, 2018.
For this position you can only apply on line: www.wageningenur.nl/career

Don't email directly to the people mentioned above but use the website to apply.