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PhD position 'The ecology of insects in nature-based farming systems'

Do you have a passion for doing biodiversity research? Are you interested in the intricate relationships between wild species and their environment and how …

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 in the intricate relationships between wild species and their environment and how this affects people? Do you want to contribute scientifically to the development of more biodiversity-friendly ways to manage landscapes? Then we invite you to apply for a PhD position in our team!

Insects play a key role in the functioning of agro-ecosystems. Insects connect the crops and wild plants in agricultural landscapes with the birds, mammals and other vertebrates that rely directly or indirectly on insects for food and reproduction. Insects occur in diverse communities in which there is a dynamic balance between species that harm crop growth (pests) and species that promote crop growth (beneficials). The ongoing drive towards more sustainable, biodiversity-friendly farming practices demands a greater reliance on the beneficial insects. This requires a better understanding of the functional ecology of insect communities in nature-based farming systems.

The 'Buijtenland van Rhoon' is a 600 ha area in which farmers are developing and testing nature-based farming practices. Instead of using insecticides they are creating high-quality semi-natural habitat to promote biodiversity and the delivery of ecosystem services by insects. We are looking for a PhD candidate who is interested in revealing the impact of nature-based farm management on insects, the contribution of insects to pest control and pollination of crops, and the relation between insect abundance and farmland bird abundance. The research is part of a project that helps local farmers in their transition towards more nature-based farming practices.

We are looking for a PhD candidate who is not only keen to perform state-of-the-art research but who is also dedicated to constructively interact with local farmers and collaborators. Research findings will be published in leading international academic journals, but it is also important to communicate easily accessible summaries of your results to the (local) audiences that have to put them in practice. You will also be involved in the supervision of MSc students who perform their thesis research within the framework of the project.


  • MSc in (agro)ecology, entomology, conservation biology, biostatistics, nature conservation or related field;
  • teamplayer;
  • experience with agro-ecological studies;
  • good organizational and communication skills;
  • an analytical mindset;
  • fluency in Dutch (or willingness to learn Dutch through an intensive course);
  • 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.

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. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. 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, and other issues.

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. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

Additional information

To learn more about this position, please contact Prof. dr. D. Kleijn; tel: +31 (0)317485807; e-mail: david.kleijn@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 include (1) a cover letter summarizing your motivation to apply, (2) your CV, (3) the names of two references.