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PhD position: Water pollution and water use in agriculture in China

We are looking for The Water Systems and Global Change Group at Wageningen University is looking for a PhD researcher for a joint project with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing on "Organizing ...

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


We are looking for
The Water Systems and Global Change Group at Wageningen University is looking for a PhD researcher for a joint project with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing on "Organizing small high value-added food producers in China: Cooperation, trust, and rural development". The project is funded by the KNAW-MOST programme.

Low nutrient use efficiency in agricultural production is a major cause of water pollution in large parts of China. Nutrient losses to the environment lead to aquatic eutrophication and harmful algal blooms that may be toxic and cause problems for ecosystems. Pesticides use poses another threat to the environment and may affect the suitability of water as a resource for irrigation, aquaculture and drinking water. These water pollution problems are expected to intensify in the future when demands for food and for clean water, for human consumption, irrigation and industry, increase.

This sub-project will pay detailed attention to the interactions between agricultural production as a source of water pollution and water as a resource for agricultural production. The main objective is to contribute to securing future agricultural production while maintaining the availability and quality of water in China. A Chinese version of the Global NEWS (Nutrient Export from WaterSheds) model for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) will be used as a starting point and modified to include pesticides and removal of water for human consumption and irrigation. This model will be linked to the NUFER model calculating nutrient use efficiencies in agricultural production to calculate nutrient losses from agricultural production for scenarios reflecting (1) current trends and (2) more sustainable agricultural production. The effects of 'double high' agriculture and policies aimed at reducing synthetic fertilizer and pesticides will be analysed, as well as the effects of increased recycling of animal manure. Sustainable pathways will be identified to illustrate how agricultural production could develop without increasing pollution levels, while ensuring sufficient clean water for human consumption and irrigation.

Candidates are expected to complete a PhD dissertation within four years.


We ask
  • MSc degree or equivalent in environmental sciences
  • Preferred mother tongue: Mandarin Chinese
  • Fluency in written and spoken English
  • Strong quantitative skills
  • Strong scientific writing skills
  • Proven affinity with rural development issues in China
  • Experience with modelling of nutrient flows in agriculture, and nutrient flows from land to sea
  • Motivated to work in a team


We offer

a full-time position (38 hours), initially for 18 months after which a go/no go decision will be taken on extension with another 30 months. Gross salary per month € 2191,-- in the first year rising to € 2801,-- per month in the fourth year, for a full-time appointment. Hay-profile: Promovendus.

The PhD will be offered a course program, which can be tailored to the desires of the candidate and the research team.

Additional information

For more information on the research contact: prof dr Carolien Kroeze (Carolien.kroeze@wur.nl)

You can apply up and until 1 March, 2017
For this position you can only apply (providing an application letter, cv and list of publications) on line


Wageningen University & Research centre
Delivering a substantial contribution to the quality of life. That's our focus - each and every day. Within our domain, healthy food and living environment, we search for answers to issues affecting society - such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Of course, we don't do this alone. Every day, 6,500 people work on 'the quality of life', turning ideas into reality, on a global scale.

Could you be one of these people? We give you the space you need.

For further information about working at Wageningen UR, take a look at www.wageningenur.nl/en/Jobs.htm