Post-doc: A digital twin for marine fish tracking

July 9, 2024
Location Ijmuiden/Wageningen
End date Mon 5 August 2024
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Your job

Do you want to study fish movement ecology using large telemetry databases? Then we might have a position for you!

The Aquaculture and Fisheries group (AFI) at Wageningen University is looking for a post-doc to join them in the SBEP (Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership)-funded project ‘Digital Twin of the Ocean: Animal Tracking (DTO-Track)’. As a post-doc, you will work on meta-analyses to study fish movement ecology using large telemetry databases. These analyses will couple telemetry databases to environmental data available for the Greater North Sea ecoregion, in cooperation with other EU projects. Your work will contribute to the development of a digital twin for movement ecology.

The project is part of a consortium between several European research institutes and universities, including Wageningen University. The project tries to increase our understanding of animal needs in terms of habitat use and movement routes. Animal movement is an essential ocean variable because the movement of aquatic animals provides innumerable services to seas and oceans. The tool to increase our understanding in movement routes is by building a digital twin of the North Sea that includes fish migration routes. Digital twins (DTs) are virtual representations of systems designed to accurately reflect a physical system. They can help assess the state of nature, and detect trends and the need for intervention following real-time data flows.

One salient aspect missing from existing DTs however, is the ‘animal movement’ component. Particularly in the aquatic realm, animals are almost never constrained by barriers, and their movements represent an important component of the ecosystem, moving energy across space and time. DTO-Track aims to address this particular gap through a digital twin test case of the North Sea, using animal tracking data.

The activities of the postdoc within the project include coupling telemetry data to environmental data available for the Greater North Sea ecoregion, as a base for the prototype of the DT. Ultimately, this should contribute to a better understanding of movement ecology, underpinning management decisions. You are expected to collaborate with the project partners, especially a post-doc at GEOMAR in Germany. Moreover, the candidate is expected to prepare scientific manuscripts.

The position duration is for one year (12 months), with possible extension up to 30 months in total.

The research is embedded in the  Aquaculture and Fisheries group (AFI), led by prof. Dr Ir. Geert Wiegertjes. You will be supervised by Dr Ir. Erwin Winter, Dr Jan Jaap Poos, and Dr Ir. Leo Nagelkerke.

Your qualities

As the ideal candidate you:

  • show strong skills in statistical analyses, using large data sets, and have affinity with ecological research;
  • have a successfully completed PhD degree in applied mathematics, biology,  animal science, or a related field;
  • have good networking skills, and are able to pro-actively reach out to international collaborators;
  • have excellent English language proficiency (a minimum of CEFR C2 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page.

We offer you

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

  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • 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.
In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will of course receive a good salary. Depending on your experience, we offer a competitive gross salary of between € 3.226 and € 5.090 for a full-time working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale 10). Initially, we offer you a one-year contract, which will then be extended to 30 months (in total) if there is mutual enthusiasm. Of course, we would be happy to discuss this with you if you have any questions.

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. 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 19th 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.

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 for example helping your partner to find a job, housing, or schooling. Finally, certain categories of international staff may be eligible for a tax exemption on a part of their salary during the first five years in the Netherlands.

Do you want more information?

For more information about this position, please contact Erwin Winter or Leo Nagelkerke at the Aquaculture and Fisheries group by email and
For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, recruiter by e-mail

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval. Please only upload your latest CV and motivation / cover letter. No other documents are required at this stage.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including 5 August 2024. The intended start date will be from 1st  October 2024.

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. 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 & 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, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 students and over 150,000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

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

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