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PhD position 'The contribution of solar parks to insect biodiversity and ecosystem services'

Do you have a passion for doing biodiversity research? Are you interested to find out how the energy transition and biodiversity conservation could go hand in …

3 maanden geleden


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


Do you have a passion for doing biodiversity research? Are you interested to find out how the energy transition and biodiversity conservation could go hand in hand? Do you want to contribute scientifically to more biodiversity-friendly solar parks? Then we invite you to apply for a PhD position in our team!

Climate change and biodiversity loss threaten human society as we know it today. To combat climate change, we need to increase renewable energy production, ideally with biodiversity benefits. Solar parks are an essential part of the energy transition, and are frequently installed on former agricultural fields with low levels of biodiversity. Taking land out of production for solar parks brings opportunities to enhance biodiversity levels. However, capitalizing on win-win situations for biodiversity and sustainable energy production requires scientific information on how solar park design, composition and management influences insect biodiversity, how this is related to delivery of ecosystem services, and what this means for cost-benefit trade-offs. A large consortium of solar-park developers, consultancies, governments and Wageningen University & Research aims to provide the scientific knowledge base for a new certification label that guarantees enhancement of biodiversity in solar parks. In this project, the candidate will focus on insect biodiversity and pollination service delivery, and will work together with other PhD candidates focussing on vertebrate and soil biodiversity. Within the project there are ample possibilities to bring in your own creative research ideas.

We are looking for a PhD candidate who is keen to perform state-of-the-art research on opportunities for biodiversity conservation of the energy transition, and who is eager to constructively interact with solar park developers and managers. Research findings will be published in leading international academic journals, but it is also important to communicate easily accessible summaries of your results to stakeholders (e.g. government, development) and media. You will also be involved in the supervision of MSc students who perform their thesis research within the framework of the project.


  • MSc in ecology, entomology, conservation biology, nature conservation or related field;
  • teamplayer;
  • experience with ecological field studies;
  • good organizational and communication skills;
  • an analytical mindset;
  • fluency in Dutch (or willingness to learn Dutch through an intensive course) is a plus;
  • experience in collaborating with partners from a variety of backgrounds is a plus


Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • study leave, and 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 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 € 2.395,- per month rising to € 3.061,- 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 16th consecutive time.

Additional information

To learn more about this position, please contact dr. T.P.M (Thijs) Fijen; tel: +31 6 2376 1035: e-mail: thijs.fijen@wur.nl

For additional information about the process please contact Edgar Tijhuis, corporate recruiter, e-mail: edgar.tijhuis@wur.nl

You can apply up to and including 20 August 2021. Interviews are planned for first half of September. Applications must be uploaded via our webpage and include (1) a cover letter summarizing your motivation to apply, (2) your CV, including the names of two references at the end of the CV. Please do not upload any other documents.

Equal opportunities employer
We are an employer that offers equal opportunities. We are happy to receive applications from all suitably qualified people regardless of race, gender, functional impairment, religion / belief, sexual orientation or age. We believe that a diverse and inclusive working environment makes us a more relevant, competitive and resilient organization. Click here to read more about working at WUR with a functional impairment.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen is a centre for research and entrepreneurship. 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. It is a historic university town of about 36,000 residents in the central Netherlands. The academic community hails from more than 100 countries, giving the town a lively, international feel. Our highly qualified team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for you and your family.

The WUR International Community page contains practical information about what we do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. And watch this video about our green bustling campus https://youtu.be/ApLORCXXhm4