Post Doc in Hidden Crop Diversity in Suriname

Wageningen University

Post-Doc -Hidden Crop Diversity in Suriname: Tracing the Origins of Maroon Rice Using Genomics

Published on
November 3, 2020

Location Wageningen

We are looking for

An enthusiastic and motivated plant biologist with a PhD who can work in a collaborative and multidisciplinary team. We invite applications from ambitious candidates with relevant research experience and a passion for studying genetic diversity in crops using genomic approaches. 

The post-doctoral candidate will be part of the multidisciplinary project “Hidden crop diversity in Suriname: tracing the origins of Maroon rice by integrating ethnobotany and genomics. This project combines ethnobotanical field surveys, published historical data, archival research, and advanced genomic analysis to discover the genetic diversity, geographical origins and migration history of traditional rice landraces grown by Maroons, descendants of enslaved Africans who live in the Suriname rainforest.

Specifically, you will characterize the genomic variation in Maroon rice landraces and compare these to modern and historic rice accessions and crop wild relatives from the Guianas, West Africa, Asia and the US, by means of whole-genome (re)sequencing. You will use Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to quantify diversity within Surinamese landraces and assess their genetic and geographical origins with advanced genomic and bioinformatic methods. You will search for specific genetic traits for which these landraces were selected and detect potential introgressions from wild rice. Close collaboration is foreseen with a PhD student (to be recruited at Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden) who will conduct ethnobotanical fieldwork in Suriname and collect rice specimens and associated Maroon knowledge.

The Biosystematics Group and The Graduate School Experimental Plant Sciences
The post-doctoral position will be under the daily supervision of Prof. Eric Schranz and Prof. Tinde van Andel at the Biosystematics Group, Wageningen University & Research. The position will be co-supervised by Dr. Robin van Velzen. You will be part of the Biosystematics group, with ~30 employees, including technicians, PhD students, postdocs, junior and senior scientists working on fundamental questions about biological diversity. The group research themes are: (1) origin and maintenance of plant and insect biodiversity, (2) speciation, domestication and plant-animal interactions, and (3) applying phylogenetic patterns to test hypotheses on underlying evolutionary
processes. The Biosystematics Group is part of the Plant Science Group and works closely together with other groups (e.g., Genetics, Bioinformatics) within Wageningen University. The position will be part of the Dutch inter-university Graduate School Experimental Plant Sciences (EPS). The mission of EPS is to organize the training of PhD students and postdocs to become self-reliant researchers.

We ask

  • A PhD in plant genomics, genetics, or related fields with an interest in crop domestication and diversity;
  • Expertise in and experience with generating and analysing plant comparative genomic and population genetic datasets;
  • A collaborative worker with good interpersonal communication skills;
  • A good command of both spoken and written English language is critical (i.e. as demonstrated by published work). This position requires an excellent English language proficiency  (a mininum of CEFR C1 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page.
Applications should include: a cover letter including a statement about your motivation to apply and your suitability for the position; a curriculum vitae including contact information for two references; and copies of your University PhD degree.

We offer

We offer a meaningful and challenging position with, depending on your experience, a competitive salary from a minimum of € 3.353 to a maximum of € 4.402 for a full working week of 38 hours in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement Dutch Universities. The job is for a period of 4 years (1 year, and after a positive evaluation extension for another 3 years) at an international leading organization. The candidate will be based at the Biosystematics group.

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;
  • 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

For more information about this function, please contact Prof Eric Schranz, email:, telephone number +31317483660 or Prof. Tinde van Andel, email:

For more information about the procedure, please contact
General information about

This vacancy is open up to and including December 15, 2020.
The first job interviews will take place in early January, 2021.

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.

Equal opportunities employer

We are an employer that offers equal opportunities. We are happy to receive applications from all suitably qualified people regardless of race, gender, functional impairment, religion / belief, sexual orientation or age.

We believe that a diverse and inclusive working environment makes us a more relevant, competitive and resilient organization. Click here for more information about working at WUR with a functional impairment.

Apply now