4 PhD Positions at Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands

(1) PhD: Regulation of Low Risk Pesticides

Are you concerned about the long-term environmental impact of human activities and agriculture, the trade-offs with food security and the role of EU Green Deal policies? Are you interested in exploring how promising new technologies in agriculture could contribute to more safe and equal world in the future? Are you motivated to work with an established international team of researchers?

Then we might have an interesting Phd position for you at Wageningen University & Research.
Wageningen University and Research is hiring a PhD candidate (4 years, full-time employment) to become part of a large international and multi-disciplinary project funded by the EU that aims to develop new models and tools to assess the future development of the EU agricultural landscape.

As PhD candidate :

  • You will gain research experience in a variety of economic disciplines, from microeconomics, regulatory economics to econometrics.
  • You will contribute to the implementation and analysis of questionnaires for national authorities about risk assessment (RA) process of low risk pesticides (LRPs).
  • You will also work on the calculation of the potential impact on investment by introducing real option modelling to the new regulatory harmonization schemes for LRPs. Assessment of different harmonization schemes’ advantages and disadvantages will be identified.
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(2) PhD on unravelling the role of soil microbial diversity in the soil carbon dynamics

Are you a highly motivated researcher and excited by the prospect of implementing novel methods; do you have a MSc degree in soil science, biogeochemistry, ecology, microbial ecology or a related field? And do you like variation in your activities with laboratory, field and analytical work? Then this could be the ideal PhD position for you!

We are hiring a PhD student who will work on a project at the interface between soil ecology and biogeochemistry to understand how the ecology and biology of soil microbial communities interact with physico-chemical soil processes to shape the dynamics of soil organic matter and the carbon it contains.

Soil organic matter and the carbon it contains are key to a range of functions or ecosystem services provided by soils, such as climate regulation, soil fertility, nutrient cycling and regulation of the water cycle. Managing terrestrial ecosystems to optimise soil carbon fluxes is therefore key to developing sustainable (agro)ecosystem management strategies. In the last two decades, our view on the role of soil microbial life in controlling soil organic matter has shifted. Yet, the role of the tremendous diversity of these microscopic soil organisms and the ecological interactions this diversity implies remains elusive. Investigating the role of this diversity and ecological interactions in regulating soil carbon dynamics, this project will bridge fundamental knowledge gaps in soil science, climate science and ecology, and will inform farmers and policy makers of the potential benefits of promoting soil life for climate change mitigation, adaptation and sustainable production.

The project is a collaboration between the Soil Biology Group in Wageningen University, the department of environmental biology in Institute of Environmental Science Leiden University and the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO). Isolife, a Wageningen-based state-of-the-art stable isotope labelling facility is also a partner of this project. It will be a challenging and stimulating project comprising laboratory and field experiments and combining a range of cutting-edge analytical techniques (including stable isotope of C and O tracing and DNA metabarcoding and network analyses) with many opportunities to develop new skills.

Another PhD student will be hired at the same time on the same project, but will be registered in Leiden University. Within the project the PhD student at Wageningen University will have a stronger focus on stable isotope tracing and soil physico-chemical processes. The PhD student that will be hired at Leiden University will have a stronger focus on microbial ecology and network analyses. However, note that the close collaboration involved in this project means that both PhDs are likely to gain skills and knowledge on all aspects of the project and to travel between the Wageningen and Leiden to some extent. You can apply using the link farther down in this letter if you have a preference for the focus of the Wageningen position, or using the link in this advert if you have a preference for the position in Leiden.
Preferred starting date is October 15th 2022.

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(3) PhD in Microscopy and Nanospectroscopy of Biomolecular Systems

We are looking for a PhD student (AIO) with great interest in applied physics, chemistry and in pushing the boundaries and capabilities of modern microscopy, nanoscale chemical imaging and spectroscopy in order to allow new discoveries on biomolecular phenomena at the base of life and disease.
Are you a highly driven and an extremely curious person loving interdisciplinary Science? Do you have an MSc degree in Physics, Chemistry or Molecular Life Science with focus on Biosciences? That makes a match! We have a vacancy for a PhD in Microscopy and Nanospectroscopy of Biomolecular Systems?
What will you do?
During this Project, you will work two-folds on:

  1. the development and advanced application of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) based mechanical and spectroscopic modes;
  2. the interdisciplinary application of these methods to answer unsolved and puzzling questions in biosciences, such as unraveling the physical chemical determinants of protein condensation and aggregation in food, cell function and malfunction.

As PhD, you will work in the laboratory of Nanoscale Microscopy and Spectroscopy (NMS) lead by Dr. Ruggeri, which is part of the chair groups of Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry. You will have access to a unique, cutting-edge and world-leading laboratory of scanning probe microscopy, including several high-resolution AFMs and AFM-IR systems. As well as to state-of-the-art chemical laboratories.

This PhD position opening is also placed in the frame of the collaboration between Dr. Ruggeri, Wageningen University and Bruker Nano Surface (USA), which will provide fundamental engineering support to develop nanoscale infrared spectroscopy. You will have thus the opportunity to work at the interface between Research and Technology Development in Industry.

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(4) PhD Cleaning the Ganges: Impact of agriculture on hydrological functioning of the Hindon river in a changing climate

This PhD position is part of the research project Changing the fate of the Hindon river by evaluating the impact of agriculture on the water balance – Developing a template for a cleaner Ganga river, financed by the Dutch Research Council NWO.  The project is a collaboration between two Dutch universities (Utrecht University and Wageningen University and Research), Wageningen Environmental Research (WEnR), Deltares, and several Indian institutes. During thjs PhD project you will:

1) Understand and model how management of cropping systems (crop types, cropping cycles, crop water use, irrigation) affects groundwater recharge and baseflow in the current and future climate;
2) Co-develop a crop-hydrology-groundwater modelling framework (largely existing) in collaboration with WEnR, Deltares, UU and Indian partners;
3) Identify and assess sustainable agriculture management practices that will increase groundwater recharge, baseflow and surface water quality in the current and future climate.

The project aims at providing scientific understanding on the hydrological functioning of, and the impact of agricultural water management on, the Hindon subbasin of the Ganges river. The PhD candidate at Wageningen University will work on obtaining improved understanding of agricultural groundwater recharge, surface and subsurface water quantity and quality. Usage will be made of a coupled agricultural crop model, a catchment scale hydrological model and a groundwater flow model, to enable assessment of current and alternative crop usage as well as the role of climate change.  The PhD at Utrecht University will work on integrated water systems analysis to understand the spatio-temporal relations between surface water and groundwater quantity and quality.  The results from these subprojects will be integrated in a comprehensive modelling platform, enabling evaluation of the impact of future socio-economy and climate changes, that serves as the scientific basis for stakeholder discussions on sustainable future water management and agricultural practices.

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