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PhD position 'Modelling spread of bacteria between farm animals to assess the effect of new control measures'

This PhD position is part of a One Health European Joint Project in which Wageningen University, Wageningen Bioveterinary Research, Wageningen Livestock …

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


This PhD position is part of a One Health European Joint Project in which Wageningen University, Wageningen Bioveterinary Research, Wageningen Livestock Research and Wageningen Economic Research participate, as well as counterparts in France and other EU members states. The project is aimed at obtaining a better understanding of 'indirect' transmission of bacteria through the environment between animals. Indirect transmission refers to transmission without direct contact between the groups of animals involved, a form of transmission important to most infectious agents in livestock including bacteria such as Campylobacter and viruses such as Avian Influenza. Because the underlying pathways of indirect transmission are only partly understood it is difficult to control and therefore responsible for most of the outbreaks in livestock. The European project is aiming in particular to developing new approaches to control the spread of zoonotic infections (i.e. infections in animals that transmit to humans) such as Salmonella and Campylobacter. The work conducted by the Wageningen University & Research partners within this project is aimed at developing a basis for designing improved biosecurity and hygiene strategies in particular against the transmission of Campylobacter between poultry flocks. Considering the importance of Campylobacter in terms of human infections in the Netherlands and elsewhere, and the expected insights pertaining to a wider set of indirect transmission problems in livestock, this research is of great social and economic importance. Poultry is considered as the main source of Campylobacter infections in humans. New European regulation since January 2018 enforces the use of 'process hygiene criteria' (PHC) to reduce the occurrence of Campylobacter in poultry. This enhances the urgency of developing control measures that, in particular, can prevent the transmission of Campylobacter between broiler flocks. In its role of National Reference Lab for Campylobacter, WBVR is a partner in the implementation of the PHC in Dutch poultry sector.

We are looking for a PhD student that will develop and validate mathematical models of indirect transmission using new experimental data for Campylobacter transmission between chickens, and use these models to assess the effect of possible new control measures. Furher data that may be analysed by the student will be from experiments on Salmonella between pigs planned by the French partners in European project.


MSc diploma with an interest in mathematical modelling in biology, the degree could be either in Biology or another natural science, Animal Science or Veterinary Medicine. Candidates with experience in applied modelling are especially encouraged to apply.


The PhD student will be employed by Wageningen University and based at Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR) in Lelystad, The Netherlands. The student will participate in the One Health European Joint Project 'MoMIR-PPC' and will be part of the graduate school Wageningen Institute of Animal Science (WIAS)

We offer you the opportunity to obtain your PhD in 4 years by giving you a temporary position for a period of 1.5 years with extension of 2.5 years after successful evaluation. Gross salary per month € 2222,- in the first year rising up to € 2840,- per month in the fourth year.

We not only offer a competitive salary but also good (study) leave and a pension of the ABP Pension Fund.

Additional information

Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from:
Prof.dr.ir. M.C.M. de Jong
Telephone number: +31 (0) 317 48 20 12
E-mail address: mart.dejong@wur.nl
Dr. T. Hagenaars
Telephone number: +31 (0) 320 23 83 98
E-mail address: Thomas.Hagenaars@wur.nl
You can apply online at www.wur.nl/en/Jobs/Vacancies.htm until the 9th of June 2018.