Vacancy

PhD Sharing Data Infrastructures

Published on
July 29, 2022
Location Wageningen
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We are looking for

You create new data science and artificial intelligence solutions for disclosing and integrating animal or farm related information by exploring shared, domain overarching datasets. The solutions for sharing and re-use of farm-generated- data allow for safe, efficient, and controlled mechanisms to enable a mutual gain for all stakeholders. You will be creating smart, semantically interoperable, privacy conserving infrastructures and food safety protocols that lead towards a ‘smart and circular agriculture’.

Shared data infrastructures are an important enabler of data driven agriculture. But sharing data is easier said than done. Technical, organizational, legal, financial and cultural social issues need to be addressed and translated into an actionable framework. Within the Knowledge Base (KB) program Data Driven & High Tech (KB-38) we have the opportunity to attract a postdoctoral or a PhD student researcher on this subject within the broader context of digitalization of the agri-food domain. The postdoctoral or PhD student researcher will be part of the team that works on ‘data sharing infrastructures’ within the KB program DDHT. This program aims at exploring shared, domain overarching, and privacy-conserving infrastructures that enable safe, efficient, and controlled mechanisms to share or re-use the data. Such infrastructures will stimulate activities to integrate these data within and outside WUR, and support scientific data-driven research, where data ownership and privacy as well as incentives for data sharing will be ensured.


You need to combine technical and organizational aspects. For instance, combining semantic interoperability, cryptography and multi-party computing with social and legal aspects such as behavioural change, data licensing, contracting and monetisation, transparency and privacy in combining data sources. It is through the combination of technical opportunities and organizational solutions that we expect data sharing to advance.

This is what you enjoy:

  • You explore and combine datasets to find analyses to support on farm decisions making.
  • You thrive on data-driven and high-tech innovations.
  • You like to tell people about your new insights in their own language.
  • You are passioned about publishing papers.
  • You like to work on technical dilemmas combining societal and economical aspects.
  • You apply your research skills in the domain of data driven and high tech agriculture.
  • You have time for personal development. 
These agenda items makes you excited (or, a “typical week at the office”):
  • Monday:
    • Discussion group “semantic interoperability”
    • Read article on artificial intelligence in biosystems engineering
    • Meeting on PhD progress
    • Discuss “high frequency data analysis”
  • Tuesday
    • Cake and coffee meeting to celebrate article was accepted for publication
    • Writing a research paper or a project proposal
    • Prepare presentation of next experiment for upcoming meeting with industrial stakeholders
  • Wednesday
    • Stakeholder meeting at a farm
  • Thursday
    • Development of ontologies and adding value data usage scenarios, legal and privacy frameworks
    • Implementation of data sharing enablers
  • Friday
    • Working with project team members and data user communities at WUR
    • Supervising students

We ask

This is where you recognize yourself

  • a PhD degree (for a postdoctoral researcher) or a Master degree (for a PhD student researcher) in computer science, social science or natural science with affinity to information systems, data science or a related field;
  • capacity and ambition to conduct world-class research and publish in top scientific journals;
  • strong programming skills (in Java and Python, or willing to learn one of these);
  • strong communication skills, connecting technology to agriculture and developers to end users;
  • very good English language writing skills;
  • willingness to work in international teams, also to co-supervise more junior team members or students;
  • strong organizational skills to embed findings and connect parties.
Furthermore we would like you to have:
  • experience in development of ontologies;
  • research interest and experience in areas such as Semantic Technology, Knowledge Graphs, (Semantic) Web Services, (Research) Data Infrastructures, FAIR (Findable Accessible Interoperable Reusable) Data, Data Value Chain, Explainable Artificial Intelligence, Rule-based Systems, Sensor Data Processing, Modelling and Visualisation, Data Anonymisation and Privacy, as well as in interdisciplinary work involving, for example, life sciences, health, sustainability, ethics, legal, economic, social and behavioural sciences;
  • research interest in combining technology with organizational solutions to implement technology in society and
  • affinity with agri-food domain;
  • curiosity, a critical research attitude, and an interdisciplinary mindset.

We offer

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our  Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • 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.
Beside the mentioned highlights we offer:
  • A full-time position (38 hours per week) for 3 or 4 years.
  • Enough salary to pay the rent and to afford having a good time as a PhD/postdoc in Wageningen.
  • Academic training at a top university and the world’s best-ranked University in agriculture.
  • Good academic working atmosphere and an inspiring university campus where there is still space to breath fresh air.
  • Stakeholders that are eager to implement your work in practical situations.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.541,- per month rising to € 3.247,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

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.

More information

For more information you can contact anna.fensel@wur.nlor Rik.vanderTol@wur.nl.
For this position you can only apply on line: http://www.wageningenur.nl/career. Please, don't email directly to the people mentioned above.
The deadline is Monday the 22th of August 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.

We are

The mission of Wageningen University and Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 7.200 employees and 13.200 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named the best university of the Netherlands by students for the 17th time in a row.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

Our team
You will be working at the Wageningen University in the Farm Technology Group, one of the world’s leading research groups on precision livestock farming and applications of computer vision in agriculture in general. The work is to be part of the KB-38 project 4. This program is led by the Wageningen Data Competence Center (WDCC ). More information about this program  can be found here.

You will be supervised by Anna Fensel (WU, Associate Professor in Artificial Intelligence and Data Science), who will be your promotor and guide you in scientific training, Rik van der Tol with specific domain knowledge of the application, and team members both from KB-38 (project 4; Rob Lokers and Claudia Kamphuis), and from WDCC (Willem Jan Knibbe and Jene van der Heide). This will be recorded in the Training and Supervision Plan at the start of the position. It is your job to merge their views and experiences into an excellent PhD thesis in such  a way that the total outcomes are beyond the sum of the parts.

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.

Apply now