Benchmarking agricultural production – towards a yield gap and resource use efficiency atlas


Global food production must increase by 70% to meet demand as population hopefully stabilizes at +9 billion by 2050. This can in principle be realized through: (1) increasing the extent of agricultural land, (2) closing the yield gap between potential and current yield levels on existing arable land and (3) increasing the potential yield ceiling. In the thesis subject you can investigate and apply research approaches of yield gap analyses and their implications for global food availability and land use. The thesis work contributes to the Global Yield Gap Atlas and the Benchmarking Atlas which provide for different regions in the world the difference between actual and potential production levels and the scope for improving resource use efficiency of land, water and nutrients. Approaches to assess yield gaps may be model-based, experimental, empirical, or a combination of these. The thesis can also focus on 1. translating yield gaps into fertilizer gaps (i.e. how much fertilizer is needed to close or narrow the yield gap), or 2. integrated approaches to study the assess the causes of yield and resource gaps (i.e. biophysical and socio-economic factors).


With various other chair groups of the University or Wageningen UR, from Plant, Environmental, Animal or Social Sciences. Collaboration with other groups in the world is also possible.


A strong background in agronomy, with interest in quantitative approaches.


Wageningen, possibly combined with different locations in the world.


Any time


Martin van Ittersum                            0317 – 48 23 82            

Marloes van Loon