Post-doc Crop and nitrogen modelling for a Digital Future Farm

Gepubliceerd op
7 februari 2020
Locatie Wageningen
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We are looking for

We are looking for a curious and data-driven postdoc who will use crop and nitrogen modelling to contribute to a Digital Future Farm.

A digital twin will be built for arable and dairy farming systems: the Digital Future Farm (DFF). This DFF will provide researchers and farmers with an engine to model the nitrogen cycle of these farm systems with two aims:

  1. reducing the nitrogen use of the farm while maintaining or increasing crop yields, and;
  2. minimizing the nitrogen losses on the farm itself.
This will be done by building modular components, each component representing a biophysical aspect of the farm (e.g. soil, crops, animals). Each component can be made custom to a farm and linking these components will result in a full-inclusive farm-specific DFF. Each component will be able to interchange information, use real-time data from sensors and machines and produce real-time alerts. The digital twin will be a tool with two modes: one for researchers comprising detailed models for simulation purposes and the other for farmers that will form an information/action tool. The digital twin will evaluate all the technologies available at WUR and use them wherever possible.

The DFF project is funded by the WUR strategic investment theme ‘Digital Twins’, and researchers from all science groups, both from university and the research centre, collaborate in this project. Work Package 2 ‘Engine’ will make available models for biophysical aspects (e.g., crops, soil, and animals), and installations (e.g. barns, manure storage, and silage heaps) operational for the DFF. Similarly, economic models will be included that calculate costs, revenues and profit, based on the biophysical DFF flows that are calculated by the biophysical models. These models will not be developed from scratch, but where possible, existing (and scientifically proven) models will be used.

The post-doc will work in the context of WP2 and main tasks will be to contribute to:
  1. extending the list of required models and data,
  2. wrapping or rewriting existing models, and
  3. creating a mechanism to link components and component models.
The focus will be on modelling crop growth and the nitrogen cycle. A strong collaboration is foreseen with a post-doc using machine-learning methods for enabling data-driven decision making at a farm level.

We ask

We are looking for a candidate with the following qualifications:

  • A PhD in the area of plant sciences, agronomy, environmental sciences or modelling.
  • Well-developed quantitative skills.
  • Experience with modelling.
  • Experience with field work is preferred.
  • Experience with programming is preferred.
  • Interest in crop production, crop-soil and crop-livestock interactions.
  • Excellent oral and written communication in English, and good communication skills.

We offer

We offer post-doc position for 38 hours for a maximum of 28 months. r At first we offer you a temporary contract for 12 months which will be extended if you perform well till 28 months. There is also a chance that other projects provide chances for further extension. Gross salary per month: € 3255,-based on full time employment.

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;
  • use the sports facilities on campus.
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

Additional information about this project can be obtained from Dr Pytrik Reidsma ( or Dr Frits van Evert (
You can apply up to and including February 29, 2020
For this position you can only apply online:

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, 6,000 employees, and 12,000 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.

The successful applicant will be based at the Plant Production Systems Group. The project and WP2 are led by the Agrosystems Business Unit, so strong collaboration is foreseen. In addition, the post-doc will collaborate with a post-doc placed at Geo-Information Science & Remote Sensing. Multiple other researchers from different science groups will be involved in the supervision.

The vision of Plant Production Systems is to integrate biological knowledge to analyse and design sustainable production systems for crops (including integration with livestock), focused on resource use efficiency and equitable management of natural resources. WU is internationally renowned for its research and education in the fields of life sciences, plant improvement and sustainability. Through these activities it aims to make essential contributions to the quality of life.

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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