PhD Position in Virtigation

Wageningen University

PhD Position in Virtigation

Location Wageningen

We are looking for

a highly motivated PhD candidate who is passionate about breeding crops with resistance to diseases.

In agricultural production, one of the most serious problems is the crop loss (up to 40% of the crop yield) due to plant pests and diseases. One of the most common practices to control pests and diseases is the use of chemicals. However, concerns on health risks due to exposure to residues in food and environment restrict the use of chemical control and urge the use of resistant plant varieties. Tomato is the world’s largest vegetable crop with an estimated production of 160 million tons of tomato fruits. Tomato cultivation is affected by more than 200 species of a wide variety of pests and pathogens, including a large number of viral species. Additional to tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) is an emerging virus threatening tomato production.

As PhD candidate you will screen wild tomato relatives to identify resources for resistance to ToBRFV. In parallel with cloning of the resistance genes, you will introgress the identified natural resistance from wild relatives to cultivated tomatoes. For TYLCV, we will take advantage of the cloned resistance Ty-genes (e.g. Ty-1) to study their viral interactors, with the aim to dissect viral genetic determinants for breaking the resistance conferred by the Ty-genes.  

The student will work in Plant Breeding, Wageningen University, in close collaboration with Laboratory of Virology as well as the business unit Biointeractions and Plant Health.

This 4-year position offers the opportunity to apply your research skills in the domain of genetics, plant breeding, phytopathology and virology, and includes time for personal development. Are you skilled in genetics, plant breeding or phytopathology with a collaborative attitude and a keen interest in virology  for resistance breeding purposes? We look forward to your application. 

We ask

For this interdisciplinary collaboration we are looking for an ambitious, enthusiastic scientist with:

  • An MSc in Plant Sciences or biology, with preference for candidates with good background in Genetics and Breeding as well as Plant Virology.
  • An enthusiastic, problem-solving person who likes to combine lab and greenhouse work.
  • Experience with molecular techniques.
  • A team player who can also work independently.
  • You have a very good level of oral and written English. You are required to show us a certification of English skills. For more information about the required level please take a look at:;
  • you meet all the entry requirements of the  WUR PhD programme.

We offer

We offer a dynamic and driven research environment with a strong international profile and a large number of young researchers; a state-of-the art computational infrastructure; close collaboration with other PhD students, researchers in the plant and animal sciences and relevant companies; and the possibility to further develop your scientific education with courses, training and conferences. There will be opportunities to be involved in teaching at workshops or courses.

The position is full-time (38 hours/week), initially for 1 year after which a go/no-go decision will be taken on extension with another three years. The gross salary in the first year is € 2395,- per month rising to € 3061,- in the fourth year for a full-time appointment.

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

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and 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 flexible 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
You will 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 the 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, contact Prof. dr. Yuling Bai at For more information about the procedure, please contact

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 May 12, 2021.

In this first round please only send your resume and motivation letter. Any other documents will not be taken into consideration at this stage.

Equal opportunities

WUR is an equal opportunity employer. We are keen to receive applications from all sufficiently qualified people, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, functional impairment, religion/life philosophy, sexual orientation, or age.

We are

Wageningen University & Research 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.

Plant Breeding, Wageningen University & Research ( is a merged unit of at any time around 200 people of which half are MSc and PhD students and guest workers. It is a highly international group with more than 50 nationalities organized in ten research groups. We conduct fundamental, strategic and applied research and provide teaching at all educational (BSc, MSc and PhD) levels. Our research focusses on the dissemination of the genetic basis of traits which are relevant in order to achieve a sustainable agri- and horticulture. We conduct this research often together or in partnership with breeding companies, local, regional and state governments.

Apply now