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PhD Disease ecology in agricultural crops

The focus of this position is to quantify the importance of mechanisms contributing to the disease suppressive effect of intercropping. For example, …

ongeveer 2 maanden geleden


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


The focus of this position is to quantify the importance of mechanisms contributing to the disease suppressive effect of intercropping. For example, intercropping may alter the microclimate and the dispersal of the pathogen in the field or induce defenses in intercropped species in response to competition. Field experiments will be conducted to collect measurements under various conditions and crop configurations. Potato will be used as a focal crop and Phytophthora infestans (the causal agent of late blight) as a focal pathogen given the economic importance of potato and the importance of sustainable control options for late blight. Modelling will be used to quantify the importance of the hypothesized mechanisms.

The study requires experimentation skills as well as modelling skills. Within Synergia's T4E concept, the research will be conducted in collaboration with the partners that focus on the technological, societal and applied aspects of the project. The suitable candidate therefore has knowledge on ecology, epidemiology or plant science, is creative, has a strong background (both theory and applications) in modelling and experimentation, and (s)he has good communicative skills enabling him/her to engage with group and project members.
Furthermore, the suitable candidate has strong project/time management skills enabling him/her to engage efficiently with team members, to deliver intermediate and end products. Contribution to teaching is welcomed.

The candidate will strengthen our work on plant-plant interactions and spatial ecology by contributing to team meetings and collegial engagement within our team. We expect the candidate to aim for publication of results in high impact journals and to finalise a PhD thesis within four years.


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

  • An MSc degree in a relevant field, including: ecology, plant/crop sciences or epidemiology.
  • Clear affinity and experience with experimental and quantitative modelling techniques.
  • Affinity to work within a larger multi-disciplinary project.
  • Good oral and written communication in English. This position requires an excellent English language proficiency (a mininum of CEFR C1 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page.


In principle this is a 4-year PhD position. We offer you a temporary contract for 1 year which will be extended with another three years if you perform well.
Gross salary per month: from € 2395-, in the first year- up to € 3061,- in year 4 based on full time employment. A part time employment is also possible. The position preferably starts December 2020 but the starting date is negotiable.

In addition we offer:
  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • a flexible working time;
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented;
  • use the sports facilities on campus.
Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for own initiative in a learning environment. We offer a versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

Additional information

Additional information about this project can be obtained from Prof. Niels Anten (niels.anten@wur.nl) and Dr. Bob Douma (bob.douma@wur.nl)

Please upload your application (motivation letter and curriculum vitae) via the "apply now" button in the vacancy text on the WUR.nl website. Do not email your application.
You can apply up to and including October 25, 2020. We have extended the date with two weeks.
If you already applied between 04-09-2020 - 11-10-2020 your do not have to apply agian.

Candidates that are selected for the interview stage will be asked to give a short presentation on research background and their views on the project.