Researcher in Biological Science

Wageningen University

Researcher in Biological Science

Location Bleiswijk
End date Mon 27 May 2024
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Your job

Are you a talented and driven individual interested in biological control of greenhouse pests? Do you want to use your passion for biological control in the greenhouse horticulture sector in interaction with growers and other researchers as a PhD researcher? If so, we have an exciting PhD position available at the Business Unit Greenhouse Horticulture of Wageningen University & Research in Bleiswijk.

The project “Boosting Biocontrol with Biodiversity in and around greenhouse production systems” is financed by the mission driven NWO-KIC programme “Biodiversity and biotic stress in primary production systems”. As a PhD-candidate you will collaborate with other project partners of Leiden University, Utrecht University, Radboud University and InHolland. In this project, we will study how biodiversity in and around greenhouses can contribute to pest management in greenhouse production systems, but also the social barriers as well as possibly viable business implementations to promote nature-inclusive horticultural systems resilient to pests and diseases. As a PhD candidate at Wageningen University & Research you will be responsible for :

  • field studies to analyze the species complex and abundance of pests and natural enemies in flower mixtures near greenhouses;
  • field and greenhouse studies to understand how biodiversity adjacent to greenhouses; influences the influx of pests and natural enemies into greenhouses (in close collaboration with greenhouse growers and co-funding project partners);
  • laboratory and greenhouse trials to test biodiversity elements such as food, shelter and banker plants, that support long-term establishment of lacewings and ladybird beetles in greenhouse crops.
The project focuses on both fundamental aspects of biological control and on finding practical biological control solutions for growers. As a PhD candidate you will be supported by an individualized training and supervision plan of the Graduate School for Production Ecology & Resource Conservation.

You will work here
The team crop protection of the Business Unit Greenhouse Horticulture of Wageningen Research is located in Bleiswijk. You will collaborate with an enthusiastic team of entomologists to further develop biological control systems and sustainable crop protection. You will be supervised by Prof. Dr. Gerben Messelink. The position is also embedded within the Laboratory of Entomology of Wageningen University. The Laboratory of Entomology focusses on the ecology of insects with an emphasis on understanding ecological aspects in the context of the underlying physiological and molecular mechanisms. The Laboratory of Entomology and the Business Unit Greenhouse Horticulture are part of the Plant Sciences Group of Wageningen University and Research.


Your qualities

You have:

  • a successfully completed MSc degree in Biology, Plant Sciences or a related discipline;
  • proven interest in insect ecology and biological pest control;
  • experience with experimental research on insects;
  • experience with statistical data analysis;
  • the ability to work independently;
  • well-developed organizational and communication skills;
  • fluency in English and preferably Dutch to conduct academic research and effectively engage with local Dutch stakeholders.

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognized Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here


We offer you

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

  • Partially 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 compensation / 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 position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.770 - per month rising to € 3.539,-  in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

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 19th 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.

Because we expect you to work and live in the Netherlands 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. We can assist you with any additional advice and information about for example helping your partner to find a job, housing, or schooling. Finally, certain categories of international staff may be eligible for a tax exemption on a part of their salary during the first five years in the Netherland


Do you want more information?

Do you want more information?
For more information about this function, please contact Prof. Dr. Gerben Messelink, by email:

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 May 27th 2024. We hope to schedule the first job interviews on June 12th 2024.

Additional information form
For this position, you must fill in a mandatory form which will allow us to have a comprehensive view of your qualifications and better assess your fit for it. You can access the form using the link below:

Your prompt response will ensure that your application continues to move forward in the evaluation process. We assure you that the information provided will be kept confidential and used solely for this application process.

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. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

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, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 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 the video below 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.