AGD PhD program

*This program is only open for Chinese students.*

The Sino-Dutch Agriculture Green Development (AGD) Programme is a PhD program by China Agricultural University (CAU) and Wageningen University & Research (WUR). It contributes to the National Academy of Agriculture Green Development of CAU, carrying out interdisciplinary and innovative high-end talent training projects for agriculture green development in China. The project has been officially approved by the China Scholarship Council (CSC; This program makes it possible for outstanding Chinese students to pursue a PhD from Wageningen University or from China Agricultural University.  

The overall objective of the AGD PhD program is to contribute to the transformation of Chinese agriculture towards sustainable development, from high resource consumption and high environmental cost to sustainable intensification with high productivity, high resource use efficiency and low environmental risk.

The AGD PhD program covers four broad areas:

  1. Green plant production,
  2. Green animal production & coupling animal and plant production,
  3. Green and nutritious food provision & governance, and
  4. Green ecological environment.

Within the program, the county of Quzhou is selected as a demonstration county, but projects may also focus on North China Plain or China as a whole. The AGD PhD program welcomes projects from a wide range of disciplines. Interdisciplinary projects are particularly appreciated.

The program consists of collaboration projects between WUR and CAU researchers with two related PhD sub-projects each. One of the PhD candidates receives a WUR degree and the other PhD candidate receive a CAU degree. The WUR-PhD candidates will stay in Wageningen for 3 consecutive years and the CAU-PhD candidates will stay in Wageningen for 2 consecutive years.


PhD candidates participating in the programme receive funding for the time they spend in Wageningen regarding travel costs and living allowance from CSC. A bench fee of €1000,- per month is provided to the WUR groups for each month a PhD candidate spends in Wageningen by CAU. Research costs have to be acquired by the WUR and CAU researchers jointly.


The program includes, but is not limited to these topics:

1. Green plant production

  • Theory and methodology of cropping system analysis, design and verification
  • Environmental sustainability driving green production systems, management technologies and policies
  • Identifying drivers, strength and weaknesses of crop production to enhance agricultural production competition ability globally
  • Plant-soil-microbe interaction for crop productivity, resource use efficiency and resilience
  • Developing intelligent climate-smart agriculture

2. Green animal production & coupling animal and plant production

  • Identifying drivers, strength and weaknesses of crop-livestock production systems in China at regional level
  • Proto-typing and demonstration of a novel integrated pig-crop production farm
  • Ammonia mitigation from field to manure management chain : monitoring, measures and policies
  • Integrated management strategies for productive and resilient dairy herd
  • Developing productive and resilient forage production systems in agricultural regions
  • Developing novel digital mechanized techniques in the livestock production systems

3. Green and nutritious food provision & governance

  • Quality and market oriented green food drived value chain and  resource and environmental analysis of water, nutrient, energy footprint
  • Food waste to food system sustainability

4. Green ecological environment

  • Solid and liquid waste treatment and end-less recycling from food production to consumption for rural environment restoration
  • Heavy metal flow along food chain, ecosystem and human healthy impact and thire measurements, evaluation and solution
  • Eutrophication dominated from soil erosion and non-point pollution, including evaluation, gaps between research and current situation, and supporting of technology and policy
  • Effect, risk assessment and adapted technologies of/to climate change on agricultural production referring to extreme weather, floods, tropic storms etc.

5. Interdisciplinary topics, combining different themes

  • Nutritional security and behavior change;
  • Value chain analysis and food consumption
  • Indicators ad regional system of agricultural green development
  • Policy design and implication of agricultural green development
  • Green food and sustainable supply chain
  • Re-green and ecosystem services