PhD or Postdoc researcher - Investigating Greenhouse gas balance of fen meadow landscapes (2023)


Published on
May 22, 2023

Your job

Do you have a university degree (MSc or PhD) in earth or environmental sciences with a strong background in eco-hydrology, micrometeorology, vegetation, or soil science? Do you want to contribute to national level research on greenhouse gas balance in low lying areas of Netherlands? Then this opportunity may be for you!
The Water Systems and Global Change groupof Wageningen University & Research is looking for a talented scientist to join their team as a PhD or Postdoc researcher.
Drained organic soils are an important source of greenhouse gases worldwide. Also in the low lying areas of the Netherlands drainage of its organic soils, with the aim to enable more intensive usage of the land, leads to oxidation of organic material, significant carbon dioxide release and subsequent land subsidence. As part of climate mitigation policies the Dutch government seeks to reduce these emissions by at least 1 Mtonne in 2030. In support of these policies, several research projects funded at (sub-) national level (such as the National Research programme on Greenhouse Gases in Peatlands (in Dutch NOBV) aim to investigate the effects of various mitigation measures on total greenhouse gas balance of the targeted areas.
WSG has built up a considerable track record in studying interactions between greenhouse gas exchange, hydrology, land use, and climate (change). WSG contribute to this peatland research with (mobile) tower based eddy covariance measurements of greenhouse gas exchange at field scale and with airborne measurements using the same technique at regional scale. In past 3 years we have built a strong measurement programme that include 20+ operational sites and almost weekly survey flights. We are now managing, with partners across the Netherlands, a large and expanding data set serving analysis as well as policy outreach. We are a team of 8 people, including (field)technicians, PhD, PostDoc and senior staff, and our strengths are in the areas of eco-physiology, micro- and meso-scale meteorology, modelling and machine-learning techniques. We wish to strengthen our science base to analyse and publish the wealth of available data.
You will work on the following research topics

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  • design and implementation of (mobile) greenhouse gas monitoring strategies at field to regional scale in locations sampling the variety of organic soil types and associated land uses in the Netherlands
  • processing and analysing the obtained high frequency eddy covariance data to greenhouse gas fluxes at diurnal to inter annual time scales; maintenance of the data base
  • analyse and scale data from multiple locations and transects in relation to explanatory variables from vegetation and soil characteristics, land and water management and climate
  • aim to ultimately provide data driven regional greenhouse gas balances for the different fen meadow areas of the Netherlands

Your work will consist of literature studies, analysis of in-situ greenhouse gas exchange data, as well as spatially distributed (satellite) data on vegetation, soil land and water qualities. You will be member of a larger team of scientists based at the partner universities, and technical support staff, within and outside
WUR working on this topic, and have interaction with various partners (water boards, land managers, policy makers, etc.) associated with land based greenhouse gas emissions. Your project results will be disseminated through papers in peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings, but using popular media is also encouraged.
In case of a PhD position, we will jointly define the precise topic, depending on your skills and interests, and you will generate a detailed research proposal as a first step of your employment.

Your qualities

The ideal candidate has:

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  • A university degree (MSc or PhD) in earth or environmental sciences with a strong background in eco-hydrology, micrometeorology, vegetation or soil science
  • In case of a Postdoc, a PhD degree in a relevant subject area accompanied with demonstrable ability to independently publish in peer-reviewed literature
  • Experience/affinity with monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions/uptake in the field and from small aircraft, in-situ and remote sensing based
  • Affinity with the Dutch or North-West European LULUCF issues in wetland management and agriculture
  • Experience with programming, statistics, machine learning and big data approaches in the context of soil-vegetation-atmosphere interactions
  • Excellent writing and oral communication skills in English and strong ambition to publish future work, proficiency in Dutch is considered a pro.
  • In case of a postdoc, ambition to develop new research proposals to consolidate the position beyond 3 years.
  • Standout colleague, who can work independently and who also communicates well with colleagues, and has the potential to (co-)supervise (under)graduate students in their research
  • Affinity with stakeholder interaction and cooperation with other scientific subject areas.
  • Experience in or willingness to participating in teaching (course work, thesis supervision)

We offer you

You will enjoy 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;
  • 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/ Postdoc position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.The gross salary for PhD is € 2.541,- per month rising to € 3.247,- in the fourth year (Scale P) and for Postdoc between € 2.960 - € 5.439 (Scale 10 or 11) according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours.
We offer a full-time position (38 hours), parttime possibilities can be discussed. The PhD position is for 4 years and the Postdoc is for 3 years.
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.
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 pagecontains 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. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.

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Do you want more information?

For more information about this position, please contact Dr Ronald W.A. Hutjes, +31 (0)317-48 64 62 or Dr Bart Kruijt,, +31 (0)317-48 64 40.
For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, Corporate Recruiter, by email
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 19th June 2023. We hope to schedule the first job interviews in the last week of June 2023.
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 inclusivity page. 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 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.
Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!
We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.
About WSG
WSG is one of the chair groups in the Environmental Science Group of WUR. WSG seeks to create new knowledge to contribute to sustainable water systems in a changing global environment, in order to contribute the provisioning of sufficient, clean and climate-proof water for society and nature.
Furthermore we aim to improve the understanding of anthropogenically driven changes in water cycles in relation to interactions between climate-, water-, energy- and agricultural systems. WSG performs coordinated assessments of water systems, in which we integrate knowledge on water and global change. To this end, we use a variety of models and observations and combine these with participatory approaches. We focus on (1) the effect of changing global drivers on water systems, (2) adaptation and (3) mitigation strategies, comprising of novel approaches such as adaptive water management and ecosystem-based adaptation and (4) climate-water services. We thus take an integrated approach across the water, food and energy systems, at multiple spatial and temporal scales.

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