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Programmer / modeler

A programmer/modeler that wants her/his work to change people's lives and to benefit the environment.Indonesia is the largest palm oil producer in the world. …

6 maanden geleden


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


A programmer/modeler that wants her/his work to change people's lives and to benefit the environment.

Indonesia is the largest palm oil producer in the world. Increase in demand for palm oil asks for an increase in production. This can be achieved by expansion of the area under oil palm replacing forests and a variety of food and cash crops - but this is undesirable. Increase in production preferably takes place on existing oil palm plantings. To judge whether this is a promising strategy the scope for per hectare production increase has been assessed in 2018-19 by a project by Wageningen University and Research (WUR), University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL), Indonesian Oil Palm Research Institute (IOPRI) and Indonesian Agency of Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD). A crop simulation model (PALMSIM) has been developed and used to assess potential and water limited palm oil yields in the entire oil palm production area in Indonesia at a course scale. Comparing simulated yields with actual yields of large plantations and smallholder we found average yield gaps between 38 and 47 % respectively (www.yieldgap.org). As especially smallholders have large room for increase in production and associated income the current second phase of the project, with the same partners but strengthened with Indonesian NGOs and Universities, intends to demonstrate management practices at farmers' fields that actually lead to yield increase. Several paired-plot trials will be installed in six locations in Indonesia to compare business as usual with improved management. The impact of improved practices on yield is compared to the benchmark of simulated water limited potential yields in the location of the demonstration fields. To allow for learning and to assess diffusion of results of the trials, daily management data of 200 farmer fields is collected in each location and field days are organized.

In this project we need to run PALMSIM for each of the locations based on soil and weather data. PALMSIM will be used for benchmarking against actual yields and assessing whether yield increases are result of better management or just annual fluctuations in rainfall. We also need to do statistical analysis to assess to what extend the yield increases found can be attributed to the improved practices. For the above mentioned tasks we open a postdoc position, employed by and based in Plant Production Systems group in Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands. The position will require traveling to Indonesia at least twice a year. Traveling to Nebraska may also be required.


  • PhD in agronomy, meteorology or environmental sciences.
  • Experience with crop growth simulation modelling, programming in Python and in statistical analysis preferably using R.
  • Willingness to provide training of users in PALMSIM model.
  • Working with meteorological and soil data sets.
  • Fluent English. This position requires a good English language proficiency (a mininum of CEFR C2 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page.
  • Someone who loves working in an international team.
  • Capacity to work in project settings with deliverables/deadlines.
  • Capacity of writing scientific papers and project progress reports.
  • Willingness to participate in international project meetings and scientific seminars.


A motivating environment with very dedicated colleagues, many international postdocs, PhD and MSc students, numerous projects in a large variety of countries with scientific and societal partners. Our projects allow for a combination between working on scientific challenges and addressing societal issues. CAO WU A challenging position with, depending on your experience, a competitive salary from a minimum of € 3.389 to a maximum of € 3.637 per month for a full working week of 38 hours in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement Dutch Universities (scale 10.5-10.7). Funding is secured for a four year position. The position is initially for one year but can be extended depending on performance and happiness for both sides.

In addition, we offer:
  • 8% holiday allowance and 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, the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • 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 dynamic activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

Additional information

For more information about this function, please contact Maja Slingerland, Associate professor perennial crops,+31 317 483512 maja.slingerland@wur.nl
If you would like more information about the procedure, please contact psg.vacaturemeldingen@wur.nl.

General information about Plant Production Systems Group- Plant Sciences Department can be found on https://www.wur.nl/en/Research-Results/Chair-groups/Plant-Sciences/Plant-Production-Systems-Group.htm

This vacancy is open up to and including September 30, 2019.
Please apply online providing your CV and a motivation letter indicating your interest in the position and why you are the right person for this position.

The first job interviews will take place in October 2019.