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Postdoc Identification of agro-ecological crop traits for designing diversified cropping systems

Growing crops in strips has agronomic and ecological benefits. Which crop species, however, are good neighbours, which combinations should be avoided? How can …

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


Growing crops in strips has agronomic and ecological benefits. Which crop species, however, are good neighbours, which combinations should be avoided? How can we link agronomic knowledge of scientists and practitioners to ecological traits databases and support strip cropping systems design? We are looking for an enthusiastic, practice-oriented and result-driven Post-doctoral candidate to work in the framework of the multi-disciplinary Core-Organic project called 'Strip-cropping and recycling of waste for biodiverse and resoURce-Efficient intensive VEGetable production' (SureVEG), funded by NWO.

The SureVEG project is motivated by the observation that demand for organic vegetables is rising rapidly but current agronomic methods often lack attention for biodiversity and soil fertility. SureVEG sets out to develop and implement new diversified, intensive organic cropping systems using strip-cropping and fertility strategies based on combined use of plant-based soil-improvers and fertilizers for improved resilience and system sustainability, local nutrient recycling and soil carbon storage. This will be achieved by: 1) Designing and testing strip-cropping systems in vegetable producing countries at different geographical locations in Europe. 2) Developing and testing soil-improvers and fertilizers based on pre-treated organic plant residues. 3) Developing and testing smart technologies for management of strip-cropping systems. The impact will be to significantly decrease the dependency on bio-pesticides and non-organic fertilizers, enhancing the positive environmental impacts on water and soil quality and landscape biodiversity, while boosting productivity of organic vegetables. The project will be executed by 12 partners from European universities and research institutes. In the Netherlands Wageningen University collaborates with the Louis Bolk Institute.

In the post-doc project you will identify interactions between species and/or varieties, and their complementarities with respect to spatial and temporal growing patterns above and below ground, resistance to pathogens, chemical traits etc. and concerning management operations of sowing, planting, green manuring, fertilization, weeding, harvest. These interactions will be linked to ecological species traits in international databases. Ultimate aim is to design and analyse strip cropping systems. You will build on previous work that uses naive Bayesian modelling to connect qualities of interactions and traits. You will gather information through review of scientific and practice-oriented literature by the consortium and by a survey among professional and hobby growers. Next to your scientific contributions, your work will feature in our teaching, co-design workshops and farmers outreach. You will work in a team of highly motivated and engaged students, staff and farmers working on diversified systems .


  • You are highly motivated to study organic diverse cropping systems and hold a PhD degree in agro-ecology, agronomy or a related field, with experience in quantitative analysis of results. Experience in statistical modelling and/or programming is required.
  • You are output-oriented and do not get distracted by details.
  • You enjoy scientific writing in English and have high-quality examples that show this.
  • You derive joy and inspiration from working with farmers to find solutions.
  • You have a proven ability to work in diversified teams and collaborate with a range of actors in agro-ecosystems.
  • You have a drivers license valid for the Netherlands.


A challenging position for one year with, depending on your experience, a competitive salary from a minimum of € 2.709,= to a maximum of € 4.274,= gross per monthly for a full working week of 38 hours in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement Dutch Universities (scale 10).

In addition we offer:
  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • a flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave;
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented;
  • use the sports facilities on campus.
Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for own initiative in a learning environment.
We offer a versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

Additional information

For more information about this function, please contact Dr Walter Rossing, Associate Professor, telephone +31 317 481201 or by e-mail walter.rossing@wur.nl. Or Dr Dirk van Apeldoorn, University researcher, telephone +31 317 483440 or by e-mail dirk.vanapeldoorn@wur.nl.
For more information about the procedure, please contact vacaturemeldingen.psg@wur.nl.
General information about Farming Systems Ecology can be found on https://www.wur.nl/en/Research-Results/Chair-groups/Plant-Sciences/Farming-Systems-Ecology-Group.htm

This vacancy is open up to and including December 9, 2019.
You can only apply online through: www.wur.eu/career

The first job interviews will take place on 17 December 2019.