Vacancy

Postdoc photosynthesis modeling for the optimization of greenhouses

Published on
September 6, 2019
Location Wageningen
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We are looking for

For our NWO-granted project ‘Sensor-assisted Optimisation of greenhouse crop Light use by Adjustment of Realised Induction State (Solaris)’ we are looking for a Post-Doc candidate who will work on:

Development and application of dynamic photosynthesis models in greenhouses.

We are interested in candidates with a background in the exact sciences (mathematics, physics, theoretical biology), who are eager to work on a project in the life sciences. Dutch greenhouse horticulture is highly productive, but also energy-intensive. The Dutch government aims to reduce CO2 emissions by Dutch greenhouses. Since a large fraction of energy consumption of the Dutch greenhouse horticultural industry is caused by supplemental lighting, reducing the amount of electricity used for lighting is crucial to reaching that aim. An increasing number of newly built greenhouses use LEDs instead of the conventional high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps. HPS lamps cannot react quickly to changes in solar light intensity. LEDs not only have a higher energy efficiency per photon produced, they also can be switched on and off much more quickly than HPS lamps. The core of this proposal is the use of this feature of LED lamps, together with the application of plant physiological knowledge and sensor technology, as a basis for an innovative, ‘smart lighting’ system that quickly reacts to (i) fluctuations in incoming solar light intensity and (ii) changes in the crops’ capacity to use light to power photosynthesis. Also, the proposed system can provide set points for greenhouse CO2 concentration, temperature and humidity, which affect photosynthetic light use efficiency in fluctuating light. Through several sensors coupled to a dynamic photosynthesis model, the system will be able to identify periods of low light use efficiency by the crop, which will further improve the set points for lighting. The system will be most effective during spring and autumn, i.e. during periods when natural light intensity frequently drops to low values, but also shows large variability, during the day. During spring and autumn, it is expected that this system can lead to electricity savings of 20% relative to a situation in which LED lamps are switched on constantly during the day. Annually, it is thus expected that this system can save 10% of electricity used for lighting, without losses in productivity.

This project is funded by and conducted in cooperation with the Dutch organisation for scientific research (NWO) and the companies Signify, Glastuinbouw Nederland, Ridder Growing Solutions and Adviesbureau JFH Snel.

On this project two postdocs will be appointed, who will work in close collaboration. The postdoc we are looking for via this advertisement must concentrate on the development of dynamic photosynthesis models. Such models already exist, but they must be adjusted and reduced to obtain versions that can be calibrated and are appropriate for the purposes of this project. The coupling between the data obtained via sensors in the greenhouse and the model is also an important ingredient of his/her task.
The other postdoc will have a background in plant physiology / plant science whose main responsibilities are Experimentation on dynamic photosynthesis and sensor modification.

We ask

The ideal candidate:

  • has completed a PhD in the area of mathematics, physics, or theoretical biology;
  • has a broad knowledge of modelling techniques, especially differential equations;
  • has knowledge on optimization and, more specifically, optimal control of dynamical systems;
  • is a team-player who appreciates to cooperate;
  • has good communication skills;
  • is fluent in English and Dutch. This position requires an excellent English language proficiency  (a mininum of CEFR C1 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page.

We offer

A challenging position with, depending on your experience, a competitive salary from a minimum of € 2.709,- to a maximum of € 4.274,- for a full working week of 38 hours in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement Dutch Universities (scale 10).
In addition, we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • 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;
  • 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.
Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for own initiative in a learning environment. We offer a versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

More information

For more information about this function, please contact Hans Stigter, +31 317 48484951 or hans.stigter@wur.nl.
For more information about the procedure, please contact psg.vacaturemeldingen@wur.nl.

This vacancy is open until September 30, 2019.
For this position you can only apply on line: http://www.wageningenur.nl/career

We are

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialised research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces 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, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations 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.

For further information about working at Wageningen University & Research, take a look at the special career site.

Biometris is the central group for mathematics and statistics at Wageningen University and Research Centre. The group consists of about 75 people, 50 permanent staff and 25 PhDs and postdocs. Education and consultation are pivotal for the societal role of Biometris. Education is at the very heart of the university and Biometris provides all BSc courses on statistics, mathematics and research methodology at Wageningen UR, as well as numerous other courses for MSc and PhD students, post-docs and industry. Biometris also provides statistical and mathematical consultancy and training to researchers inside and outside Wageningen UR.
Within Biometris we focus our research on the development of mathematical and statistical techniques that can be applied to the Life Sciences. In this way, we contribute to the scientific and societal impact of Wageningen UR. Our vision can be expressed by the slogan: “Quantitative methods brought to life”. Consequently, our research is generally done in collaboration with other research groups both in and outside Wageningen.
Our research focusses on the themes of Statistical Genetics and Genomics, Systems Biology and Ecology, Food and Health Risk Assessment, and Big Data in Life Sciences. Our capital lies in the mathematical and statistical expertise of our employees. We therefore strive to keep our employees motivated and scientifically up-to-date and offer ample opportunities for personal development. For general information, see: www.biometris.wur.nl

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.

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