Vacancy

PhD Position: Adaptive Digital Twins for Precision Agriculture

Published on
November 15, 2023
vacancy_location_label Wageningen
End date Wed 28 February 2024
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Your job

Are you interested in applying AI and software/systems engineering to help farmers increase their efficiency and sustainability? Have you ever wondered how the digital twin of a greenhouse would look like? Are you curious to learn how to build a smart adaptive system that can learn from and adjust to its environment through sensing?  

If you are interested in the topics above, and in multi-disciplinary collaboration with other groups and industry, then this PhD position might be the perfect fit for you!


The Information Technology Group (INF) of Wageningen University is  hiring a PhD candidate (4 years, full-time employment) to create the greenhouse of the future, which is smart, efficient and inclusive. A digital twin of such a greenhouse will enable both the integration of sensor data with state-of-the-art adaptive AI techniques, as well as user-friendly interaction and operation with the farmer.

To achieve this, AI (especially deep learning and reinforcement learning) and software/systems engineering techniques will be applied, and when necessary developed and adapted. You will collaborate with a variety of researchers from the horticulture and energy domains, as well as stakeholders from greenhouse companies.

You will work here
The research is embedded in the Information Technology Group, which is led by Prof. dr. ir. Bedir Tekinerdogan. Daily supervision will be done by dr. Qingzhi Liu and dr. Önder Babur.

Your qualities

You have:

  • a university degree (MSc) in a discipline relevant to the PhD project (e.g., computer science, data science, artificial intelligence or agricultural sciences);
  • experience with AI techniques (especially deep learning and reinforcement learning) as well as related algorithms and programming languages (e.g., Python);
  • experience with software/systems development and engineering, interest to deepen knowledge about digital twinning;
  • familiarity with precision agriculture/horticulture or keen interest to investigate this domain;
  • familiarity with sensing and IoT technologies or keen interest to learn those techniques;
  • a collaborative mindset and an interest in working together with people from other research groups and industry (in multi-disciplinary projects); proven experience in working on such research projects is preferred;
  • excellent communication skills in English.
For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognized Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.

We offer you

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

  • partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more;
  • 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 receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.770 per month in the first year rising to € 3.959,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

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 18th 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.

Do you want more information?

For more information about this position, please contact Qingzhi Liu or Önder Babur from Information Technology Group by email: qingzhi.liu@wur.nl  or onder.babur@wur.nl

For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, Corporate Recruiter, by email: recruitment.ssg@wur.nl

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly by uploading your CV and motivation letter, using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

Please upload your motivation letter and your CV. No other documents are required at this stage.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including 28 February 2024. We will start to schedule the first job interviews soon after the closing date depending on quality and quantity of applications.

We are

Wageningen University & Research
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, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 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.. 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



About the Information Technology (INF) group
Our mission at INF is to advance the field of smart systems engineering and informatics through education, research, and collaboration. We conduct cutting-edge research that pushes the boundaries of knowledge and addresses real-world challenges in food and health, business, and society. We work closely with industry, government, and other academic institutions to create a vibrant ecosystem of innovation, where our ideas can have a tangible impact on people’s lives.
Our group consists of almost 50 members (staff, post-doc and phd) from all around the world. We offer an inclusive working environment and welcome all international applicants for this position.

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

Apply now