Postdoc Position in Soil Health

Wageningen University

Postdoc Position in Soil Health and The Potential of Remote Sensing

Location Wageningen

We are looking for

A post-doctoral researcher to design, conduct and analyse field and lab experiments aimed at quantifying soil and plant characteristics using and developing remote sensing technology. The context of the work is the impact of soil management on soil health in arable systems. The research should identify how innovative sensing approaches can contribute to the monitoring of relevant indicators to understand the spatio-temporal dynamics of soil health.

We look for a highly qualified researcher with good capability of designing and executing field samplings for soil and plant parameters and being able to work independently as well as in teams. Experience with quantification of chemical, physical and biological plant and soil parameters as well as with quantifying and analysing spectral data of soils (and/or vegetation) is essential.

This project is a collaboration between Wageningen University (Soil Biology Group and Laboratory of Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing), Wageningen Environmental Research (Soil, Water and Land Use) and a private company (Syngenta). Preferred starting date is September 2021.

You will work in an ideal working environment. Our campus is an inspiring green place to work, and has been selected as the most sustainable campus in the world multiple times. Besides that, we have a top ranking in several fields, with a #1 ranking for environmental science, ecology and agriculture, as well as very strong rankings in other fields. Finally, as for education, Wageningen University has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 15th consecutive time.

We ask

  • PhD in soil or plant science, or remote sensing
  • Expertise in designing and analysing field surveys aimed at coupling in situ point data to imaging spectroscopy data collected with UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and quantifying soil properties using Near Infra-Red (NIR) and Mid Infra-Red (MIR) spectroscopy
  • Experience with conducting statistical analyses
  • Strong scientific writing skills and publishing capacity
  • Interest to collaborate at a multi-disciplinary level with academics and R&D of the private sector
  • Excellent communication and writing skills in English

We offer

A challenging position for 2.5 years with, depending on your experience, a competitive salary from a minimum of € 3491 to a maximum of € 5127 based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (scale 10-11).

In addition, we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance
  • a structural end-of year bonus of 8.3%
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions
  • flexible working hours that we determine together in good consultation
  • excellent pension plan through ABP
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes
  • a flexible model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan
  • a lively workplace on the Wageningen Campus
  • make use of the sports facilities on campus for a small fee
Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with our internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for personal initiative in a learning environment. With us you get a multifaceted job in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

More information

To learn more about this function you can get in touch with Prof. dr. ir. Gerlinde De Deyn, e-mail:

For more information about the procedure you can contact Edgar Tijhuis, corporate recruiter, e-mail

Do you want to apply?

This can be done directly via the application button at the vacancy on our website so that we can process your personal data with your permission. This vacancy is open until 16 May 2021. We want to plan the first interviews on 26 or 27 May 2021 and look forward to a starting date in September 2021.

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. You can read more about working at WUR with a functional impairment on our website.

We are

The mission of our University is to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. 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, 6,500 employees, and 12,500 students, it is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. A coordinated approach to problems and the cooperation between various subject areas are at the heart of the outstanding approach of Wageningen. We have been named Best Employer in Education category 2019-2020.

The Soil Biology Group blends expertise from soil, plant and ecological sciences to strengthen cutting edge research and education in the areas of Fertile Soils, Soils in a Changing Climate, Functional Soil Biodiversity and Soil Biological Indicators and Land Management.

The Laboratory of Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing focusses on the development of remote sensing techniques and data science approaches for monitoring and understanding the earth from the scale-level of individual plants to global land use change.

Wageningen Environmental Research subdivision Soil, Water and Land Use works on targeted soil information collection and analyses for soil geography, soil physics and soil hydrology in relation to sustainable soil and water management for agriculture and ecology and climate adaptation. The collaboration with Syngenta is in the context of its Good Growth Plan.

Our multi-disciplinary team includes expertise in soil organic matter and nutrient dynamics, plant-soil interactions and feedbacks, soil quality indicators, imaging spectroscopy using hyperspectral, multispectral, NIR and MIR sensing. The Soil Biology Group is supported by four laboratories, including: a soil biology lab, microscopy lab, microbiology lab and molecular ecology lab. We work in close collaboration with soil chemistry laboratories and with a soil physics lab. The Laboratory of Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing hosts the UAV research facility with several UAV platforms and camera’s and a Spectroscopy Lab with different field radiometers. Wageningen Environmental Research subdivision Soil, Water and Land Use combines field, lab and modelling tools and uses a range of (sensing) methods to characterise soil physical and chemical parameters in the lab and field.

Apply now