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Post-doc Modelling root-shoot signals and tip burn

Are you an ambitious simulation modeler that likes to address research question on plant physiology? Do you like to contribute to gain fundamental …

4 maanden geleden


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


Are you an ambitious simulation modeler that likes to address research question on plant physiology? Do you like to contribute to gain fundamental understanding to plant physiological phenomena relevant in the context of vertical farming? Then this could be the ideal research position for you!

Vertical farming is a novel technology where plants are grown on many stacked layers with LED light. The ambition of the vertical farming industry is to warrant a secure and sustainable vegetable supply: no pesticides, no nutrient emission, only 2-4 litres water per kg produce, at least twentyfold less land use, lower food mileage, less waste and lower energy use per kg produce compared to greenhouses.

We are hiring a postdoc, who will use a Functional-Structural Plant (FSP) modelling approach to gain fundamental understanding of two plant physiological phenomena relevant in the context of vertical farming:(i) root-shoot signaling and (ii) tip-burn.

i) Plants respond to the mechanical resistance perceived by roots resulting in changes in morphology and growth. There are different hypotheses for the mechanisms behind this "long-distance signalling". Next to hormonal and electrical mechanisms, a popular hypothesis revolves around hydraulic pulses To address this hypothesis, we will assess the dose response relation between root penetration resistance and leaf elongation rates. You will develop a functional structural plant (FSP) model, using newly developed and existing modelling concepts, to narrow down candidate mechanisms for root-borne long-distance signalling, i.e. hormonal, electrical or hydraulic.
ii) Tipburn, brown necrotic edges of the leaves, is a widespread problem in the production of leafy vegetables. Tipburn is generally considered as a consequence of local calcium (Ca) deficiency. Calcium distribution in the plant is related to transpiration distribution in the plant. Functional-Structural Plant (FSP) modelling will be employed combining the representation of three-dimensional (3D) plant structure with spatially resolved photosynthesis, transpiration and Ca distribution.

Your work which focuses on simulation modelling, will be strongly linked to another post-doc who focuses on experimental approaches addressing the same questions, which will provide you with targeted high quality data for model development and validation.

You will be appointed at the Horticulture and Product Physiology group at Wageningen University. This group host an inter-disciplinary team of researchers and companies, an started a large research programme of 17 PhDs and Postdocs entitled SKY HIGH: Vertical farming, a revolution in plant production | NWO.

Do you want to know more about our work at the Horticulture and Product Physiology group? Check out our page with news, recent publications and projects.


Are you that enthusiastic simulation modeler that likes to address research question on plant physiology? We are looking for result-driven team player with creative ideas, excellent communication skills as well as good proficiency in English (both oral and written). This position requires an excellent English language proficiency.

  • You have a PhD in plant sciences and you have published some high-quality papers in peer-reviewed journals.
  • You enjoy supervising BSc, MSc and PhD students and have excellent collaboration skills.
  • You are capable to operate in an international and multi-disciplinary environment.
  • You have proven knowledge on plant physiological processes and how to create a mathematical description thereof.
  • You can develop plant models using a popular programming langue such as: Java (XL), Javascript, Python, Matlab, R, or C++.


Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially 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 compensation / 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 of course receive a good salary. We are offering an exciting and challenging position for 3 years. A challenging position with, depending on your experience, a competitive salary from a minimum of € 2.790,- to a maximum of € 4.402,- for a full working week of 38 hours in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement Wageningen University (scale 10). We offer you a temporary contract for 12 months which will be extended if you perform well.

Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with our internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for personal initiative in a learning environment. With us you get a versatile job in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere, with students and staff from over 100 countries around the world.

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 17th 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.

Additional information

Do you want more information?
For more information about this function, you can contact Prof. dr Leo Marcelis, e-mail: Leo.Marcelis@wur.nl or dr Ep Heuvelink, Ep.heuvelink@wur.nl
For more information about the procedure, please contact vacaturemeldingen.psg@wur.nl .

Do you want to apply?
This can be done directly via the application button at the vacancy on our website so that we can process your personal data with your permission.

This vacancy is will be listed up to and including 7 February 2022.

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.