PhD position 'Pelleting feed in the circular agriculture'

Published on
December 2, 2019
Location Wageningen
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We are looking for

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate with a keen interest in understanding of how raw material properties and processing conditions impact the manufacture of quality pellets to feed livestock. At present, cereal grains contribute for 50% to animal feed and over 60% of this feed is pelleted. Starch-rich cereal grains are important in feeds to ensure effective pelleting and physical quality of the pellets besides providing nutritional value to the feed. In a more circular agriculture it is essential to replace primary ingredients like cereals by co-products from food production, which have significantly different physicochemical properties. This may weaken the pellets making them brittle and lead to losses resulting in reduction of the overall resource use efficiency. This project therefore aims to advance our basic knowledge of and innovations in feed processing technology that are needed to manufacture quality pelleted feeds for a circular agriculture. This involves strategies in processing conditions to incorporate co-products while optimizing pellet quality in terms of strength and nutritional value in terms of nutrient availability and bioactivity of additives.
As a PhD candidate you will work closely together within a TKI-funded project with another PhD candidate at the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter (Wageningen University), seven private partners and two research and training institutes. The consortium allows application of innovations in practice and transfer knowledge and innovations to the (young) professionals in the feed industry. The PhD position is meant to understand properties of ingredients that impact pellet quality. The specific objectives are: (1) understand how ingredient properties relate to physicochemical changes during conditioning, (2) identify strategies in processing conditions to mitigate detrimental properties for assuring pellet quality, and (3) use relationships between properties and conditions for predicting pellet quality.

We ask

For this challenging position we are looking for a candidate with the following qualifications:

  • MSc degree in Animal nutrition, Food technology, Food engineering or equivalent, affinity with agriculture, chemistry, and physics.
  • Intrinsic interest to independently search for answers on fundamental and applied research questions.
  • Capability to learn rapidly and sustainably including knowledge from different fields and new research techniques.
  • Can organize and plan field work efficiently and has experience in designing experimental research.
  • Strong collaborative skills.
  • Stress resistant and with a flexible working attitude, allowing to successfully complete experimental work.
  • Excellent communication skills in English and Dutch, both oral and in writing.
  • Relevant working experience is a benefit?

We offer

We offer a PhD position for a period of 48 months which is divided over two periods: a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended with 30 months after successful evaluation. The preferred starting date is 1 March 2020. Gross salary will increase from € 2,325 per month in the first year up to € 2,972 in the last year, based on full-time employment (38 hours a week). You will enrol in the WIAS graduate school at Wageningen University, which offers a wide range of excellent career broadening and deepening courses. As this project is part of a broader industry collaboration, you will interact with and be able to learn from both academic and private sector professionals.

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 vacations can in consultation with colleagues be settled.
  • An excellent pension scheme via ABP.
  • 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.
  • Sports facilities available on the campus.
  • 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 and ample opportunities for own initiative in a creative learning environment.
  • A versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

More information

Dr. Guido Bosch, assistant professor, Animal Nutrition Group, +31 317 484258,
You can apply for this position online at until 5 January 2020. You can only apply by using the ‘ apply now’ button. 

Additional information

  • Important: to apply, upload a 1-page CV and a 1-page motivation letter via the link below. All other formats and document content (e.g., longer CVs) will not be considered for the application process. Email applications will not be considered.
  • By uploading your CV and motivation letter you agree that this information - while kept strictly confidential - will be processed and stored by Wageningen University for the time span of the recruitment process.
  • Include the names and contact information of up to three references in your application; if possible add letters.
  • Selection will be made through structured skill-based review evaluation from CV and motivation letter. After selection for the shortlist, an (online) interview conducted by at least two people. Additional information may be requested for the (online) interview.

We are

The Animal Nutrition Group is part of the Department of Animal Sciences of Wageningen University. Research and education of the group focuses on the nutrition of livestock and pet species with fundamental and applied aspects ranging from feed processing technology to nutrient metabolism. The group is partner of the within the Centre for Animal Nutrition (CAN), together with animal nutrition groups of Wageningen Livestock Research and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University.
Our mission is to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialized research institutes have joined strengths to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With approximately 30 locations, 5,000 employees, and 10,000 students, it is one of the leading organizations in its domain worldwide. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the unique approach of Wageningen.

Equal opportunities employer
We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their race, sex, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation or age.

Apply now