Semantic Knowledge Engineer and Project Leader in Food Science

Published on
March 11, 2021
Location Wageningen
End date Sat 17 April 2021
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We are looking for

Do you have a passion for research in computer science that contributes to a better world? We, at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research (WFBR), are working to create sustainable solutions to provide better food for more people. The applied research group Food Informatics is using new and innovative digital techniques to make that happen! We are looking for an eager Semantic Knowledge Engineer and Project Leader in our team who will be participating in applied computer science research projects within agrifood domain.

As a Semantic Knowledge Engineer and Project Leader, you will:

  • Manage projects from the early start in an agile way of working with multidisciplinary teams consisting of experts from food, agriculture, ICT & data science;
  • help shaping new projects (together with our business developer) with your experience and creativity, to find suitable technical solutions that add maximum value for our customers and their specific research questions;
  • draft applied research proposals and assist our business developer in acquiring new projects;
  • organize data and knowledge and model them in a structural way using semantic technologies (e.g. OWL, SKOS);
  • lead and participate in developing smart software applications, by integrating semantic technologies (e.g. with SPARQL queries) with smart algorithms;
  • connect to researchers in our team and in the Wageningen University and Research (WUR) community to align best practices.
Food Informatics group explores digitising information of all parts of food production and consumption, combining data from various sources with expert knowledge  to develop smart application prototypes. This knowledge and data is made digitally available using (among other things) software frameworks and artificial intelligence (AI), such as ontologies, Bayesian networks and machine learning. Examples are a decision support system for quality management of strawberries which connects data and knowledge to ensure a timely and tasty strawberry at the end of the supply chain. For the elderly who are dependent on meals-on-wheels, a decision model was developed to provide personalized dietary advice. This advice is based on nutritional and health rules, taking into account personal characteristics and preferences. 

With colleagues and partners from industry, you will develop digital solutions with a team to support professionals, consumers and other users in taking optimal decisions on food. You will contribute to application development in an agile way of working, advice other domain groups in organizing data sources and apply various (semantic) technologies in your work with colleagues within and outside of your group.

The Food Informatics group is an informal working environment with the freedom to organise your work and the expectation that you take your responsibility in reaching your goals.

We ask

  • You have an MSc or PhD with a background in computer science, information science or a related discipline with an affinity for agrifood;
  • you have experience with the use of Semantic Web technology such as ontologies/graphical databases (e.g. RDF, OWL, SKOS) and triple stores (e.g. Virtuoso, rdf4j and/or GraphDB);
  • you have experience in project management for example in using Agile and SCRUM;
  • you have experience in assisting in project acquisition
  • you work well independently and in multi-group cross-discipline environment;
  • experience in developing software (e.g. in Java and/or Python) is a plus.

We offer

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;
  • the option to accrue additional holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and paid parental leave;
  • 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 3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.
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 multi-faceted 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 16th 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. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. 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 helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

More information

For more information about this function, please contact Henk Wensink, R&D Manager Food Informatics & Supply Chain Development, telephone 0317-485586 or by e-mail:
For more information about the procedure, please contact Wilma Jansen, HR advisor, 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.
This vacancy will be listed up to and including April 17th 2021. 

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. For more information please go to our inclusive webpage. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research develops insights and technologies that support industries, governments, and research institutes to create innovative solutions for a healthier, more sustainable, and prosperous world. Together with our clients we develop healthy and tasty food, truly-sustainable food chains, and chemicals and materials that use biomass instead of fossil resources. Our in-depth knowledge of the entire chain, from raw materials through processing to end product, drives our approach. Website:

We make smart connections between various disciplines to explore complex issues from different perspectives. Through a combination of intelligent analyses and pragmatic invention, we find solutions for these issues. Grounded in science and business, our researchers bring a no-nonsense attitude to their work. We investigate and develop at all stages: upscaling from lab to pilot and from initial idea to production processes that deliver real products for our customers. We have direct access to the latest scientific findings and have a firm grasp of what modern technology offers. Every day, we work with national and global companies, governments and other research institutes to create innovative solutions; now and in the future.

The mission of Wageningen University and 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, 6.500 employees and 12.500 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

These are the points our employees list as good reasons to come work at WUR:  read the 5 reasons to come work at WUR.

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


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