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Two PhD positions: 'Insects'

We are seeking two highly motivated PhD students for the project 'Assessing the potential of insects to reduce the environmental impact of livestock production and improve livestock health and welfare in concert', funded by TTW ...

12 maanden geleden


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


We are seeking two highly motivated PhD students for the project 'Assessing the potential of insects to reduce the environmental impact of livestock production and improve livestock health and welfare in concert', funded by TTW and co-financed by three industrial partners. Feeding insects to livestock could enhance sustainable animal production. The project aims to assess the potential benefits of insect-based feeding strategies for the environmental impact of pork and poultry meat production, and for pig and broiler welfare. We will analyse the biomass and nutrient flows of black soldier fly (BSF) larvae produced on different waste streams, and assess the impact of BSF larvae provision as a foraging substrate on weaning-related health and behavioural problems in pigs and leg disorders in broilers. A scenario analysis will assess trade-offs and synergies of environmental and welfare benefits, and economic consequences of various applications of insects in livestock diets. Various groups work together on this project, with expertise in environmental impact assessment, animal behaviour and welfare, animal nutrition, entomology and animal production systems. PhD1 will focus on the environmental impact of insect rearing, and will conduct experiments assessing biomass and nutrient balances, and a scenario analysis using life cycle assessment. PhD2 will focus on welfare and health implications of live larvae as foraging supplementation for piglets and broilers.


We are looking for two enthusiastic PhD candidates. PhD1 should have a Master's degree in Animal Sciences, Biology, Plant Sciences, Environmental Sciences or a comparable scientific background. PhD2 should have a Master's degree in Animal Sciences, Biology, Veterinary Sciences or a comparable scientific background. Both PhD candidates should have a multidisciplinary interest, and demonstrated skills to conduct research. We expect the candidates to be interested in both the fundamental and applied aspects of the project, and to be able to effectively collaborate with the industrial partners involved. PhD1 should have an interest environmental sustainability of livestock systems and experience with modelling or experiments is an advantage. PhD2 should have a keen interest in animal welfare and health, experience with animal experiments (article 9 certificate) and preferably with observation and analysis of behaviour (e.g. with The Observer) and some laboratory work. Experience with handling of pigs and broilers is desirable.
The candidates should be creative, independent and have innovative ideas. They should enjoy working both independently and as part of a multidisciplinary team, and have excellent organisational (time management) and communication skills (spoken and written English, networking with academic scientists of various disciplines as well as with representatives of industrial stakeholders). The candidates should be in possession of a valid driver's license.


The PhD students will work in a team together with technicians and scientists from the Adaptation Physiology group, Animal Production Systems group, Entomology group and Animal Nutrition group. The PhD students will be members of the Graduate School Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences. A fulltime employment as a PhD researcher within the Animal Production Systems Group (PhD1) or Adaptation Physiology Group (PhD2) is foreseen for 48 months providing a positive evaluation after 18 months. The gross salary will increase from €2.222,- in the first year up to €2.840,- per month in the fourth year (based on fulltime employment).

Additional information

Additional information on the vacancies can be obtained from Prof. dr. ir. Imke de Boer (PhD student 1) imke.deboer@wur.nl, (+31 (0)317 483959) or Dr. ir. Liesbeth Bolhuis (PhD student 2), liesbeth.bolhuis@wur.nl (+31 (0)317 483978).
Please upload your curriculum vitae, motivation letter and contact details of at least two references (phone number and email addresses) before March 5th 2018. Please indicate whether you apply for the function of PhD student 1 or 2. The intended starting date for the positions is April 2018.


Wageningen University and Research Centre delivers 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.

The Adaptation Physiology group (www.adp.wur.nl) works on animal-environment interactions, and aims to facilitate the development of robust animals in a supportive environment. The group conducts fundamental and applied research and has excellent technical support and experimental facilities.
The Animal Production Systems group (www.aps.wur.nl) uses a systems approach to understand complex livestock systems in order to explore and design a sustainable future. We help to solve complex sustainability problems (e.g. global food security, climate change, water scarcity, depletion of fossil resources, and achieving respectful animal production) we are facing today.