PhD position 'big data and machine learning for precision agriculture'

Published on
July 3, 2018
Location Wageningen
Scientific field Engineering
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We are looking for

We are looking for an enthusiastic and highly motivated PhD student to work on a multidisciplinary research project on big data and machine learning methods for precision agriculture. Working together with field experts within a European project, you will contribute to new understanding on emerging data-driven innovation for agricultural production.

In the Internet of Things era, precision agriculture is evolving fast in the employing digital technologies for monitoring and optimisation of agricultural production processes. Harnessing data streams from several sources, including drones, satellites, mobile phones, field sensors, and farm management systems, together with technologies such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence have the potential to increase the quantity and quality of agricultural outputs, while at the same time minimize the environmental footprint of agricultural systems. How to realize this potential remains a big data challenge which requires further research, involving data management for efficiently linking heterogeneous sources, and machine learning for decision making and support.

This PhD research aims to contribute towards a methodological framework for data driven methods for precision agriculture, and validate it in cross-scale applications, with real data from selected case studies. The candidate will perform methodological research in the field of data science, in close collaboration with experts at Wageningen University, and as part of a European project.

We ask

We are searching for a highly motivated and enthusiastic candidate, who should have:

  • Completed a MSc either in Computer Science/Information Technology/Computer Engineering  or in Agriculture/Environmental/Natural Sciences;
  • Good command of English language;
  • Experience in computer programming;

Candidates are expected (but not required to) have:
  • Proven affinity with multidisciplinary research and (possibly) with the agricultural domain;
  • Academic writing skills
  • Communications skills and team spirit;
  • Organisational skills to establish and maintain collaborations.

We offer

The PhD position is a full time four-year position and is conducted mainly at the Information Technology Group, at Wageningen University (NL).
The candidate will be offered opportunities to improve his/her skills through a personally-tailored training programme, as part of the WASS PhD programme.
The candidate is also expected to spend some time abroad to collaborate with experts from the EU project.
The initial duration of the contract is 18 months, followed by the second phase of 30 months based on good performance. Gross salary per month € 2222 in the first year rising to € 2840 per month in the fourth year, based on a full time appointment. (Based on 38 hours/week - Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities). We offer a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-the-year bonus of 8.3% of your annual salary.

More information

Interview rounds for the position will be planned in late August 2018.

Additional information on the position can be obtained from Dr. Ir. Ioannis N. Athanasiadis (

You can apply up to and including July 31st, 2018. Use the website to apply and upload a motivation letter, references and your CV (including course grades).

We are

The Information Technology (INF) group at Wageningen University is doing research and education on the topics of smart system engineering, and system-of-systems engineering which is primarily centered in the life sciences domain. In this context, we focus on software engineering, information management and socio-technical systems. The Information Technology Group is one of the chair groups in the Social Science Group (SSG) at Wageningen University. The Information Technology Group has 11 staff members, 2 post-docs and 17 PhD students.  More information about the Information Technology Group can be found at

Wageningen University is an internationally leading institution in the area of life sciences and is part of the 4TU federation, a collaboration of four universities of technology in The Netherlands (