PhD candidate to relate ecosystem services to diversity of agricultural systems

Published on
January 10, 2020
Location Wageningen
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We are looking for

The worldwide decline of biodiversity, in particular the decline of insect populations, leads to losses of ecosystem services that are essential for agricultural production. The contribution of ecosystem services largely depends on the agricultural system itself: in mechanized large-scale agriculture with low biodiversity, ecosystem services play only a limited role, whereas in highly diverse agroforestry systems with high biodiversity, ecosystem services sustain agricultural production. We are looking for an excellent, open-minded and team-spirited researcher, who is eager to unravel the variety of world-wide agricultural systems and their related biodiversity and ecosystem services. The study will focus on pollination and natural pest control by exploring the dynamics in space and time of these ecosystem services.

You will work on the project: ‘Global modelling of biodiversity and ecosystem services for agricultural systems’. This project contributes to the development of the GLOBIO Ecosystem-Services model of the PBL-Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. GLOBIO seeks to quantify the impacts of land use and land management and other environmental factors on biodiversity and on the supply of ecosystem services. The model is applied in global assessments of the Intergovernmental science-policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

You will contribute to build modules for GLOBIO that enable to evaluate global scenarios for sustainable agricultural production. You will apply various techniques, such as statistical modelling, meta-analysis, modelling of food webs (e.g. the Madingley model) and GIS. Relevant courses to overcome gaps in knowledge and/or skills will be offered.

We ask

The successful candidate has/is:

  • an MSc degree in either (1) ecology or (2) agricultural science;
  • a strong affinity with ecological modelling;
  • strong analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • eager to work in an interdisciplinary team;
  • excellent English language proficiency;
  • ability and interest to collaborate closely with scholars at PBL;
  • experience in statistical analyses or process-based modelling is recommended.

We offer

We offer a challenging, multi-disciplinary and future-oriented research project, embedded in a stimulating scientific environment as well stakeholder and policy environment. This is a 48-month PhD position. We offer you a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended with 30 months if you perform well. Salary will increase from € 2,325 gross per month in the first year up to € 2,972 in the last year, based on a full-time appointment (38 hours a week) in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement Dutch Universities.

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 efficient 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 provide a versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

More information

For more information about this function, please contact Rob Alkemade, special professor at the chair of Environmental Systems Analysis e-mail; Tel: +31 6 29510692.

Information about the working conditions can be obtained from Edgar Tijhuis, corporate recruiter, email:

To apply for this position upload your CV and a letter of motivation via the apply button on this page, before 4 February 2020.

On the website of our chair group you find more information about our staff, research, publications and news:

Equal opportunities employer

Equal We encourage applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their race, sex, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation or age. We believe that a diverse and inclusive work environment makes us a more relevant, more competitive and more resilient organization.


We are

The goal of Wageningen University & Research is to deliver a substantial contribution to the quality of life. We search for answers to issues affecting society - such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. In Wageningen, we encompass the entire chain of knowledge, from fundamental research to science-based and up-scalable practical knowledge to create solutions that have impact. A coordinated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the outstanding approach of Wageningen. 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 our university, take a look at the special career site.

The Environmental Systems Analysis (ESA) group is a quantitative, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research group that aims to analyze, interpret, simulate and communicate complex environmental and sustainability issues from natural and social science perspectives. The ESA group combines these perspectives to understand causes and effects of complex environmental problems, to explore possible solutions for these problems and to support decision making. (

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