Lettuce breeding for vertical farms

Stellenanangebot Doktorand/PhD in Wageningen | Niederlande


Together with a consortium of an inter-disciplinary team of researchers and companies, we are starting a large research programme of 17 PhDs/Postdocs entitled ‘Sky High: Vertical farming, a revolution in plant production’.
Are you that enthusiastic researcher that likes to work on the physiology of plants grown under fully controlled conditions?
Vertical farming is a novel technology where plants are grown on many stacked layers with LED light. It is a secure and sustainable route to provide cities with fresh food. This program targets a revolution in the production of fresh vegetables. The ambition is a secure and sustainable vegetable supply: no pesticides, no nutrient emission, only 2-4 litres water per kg produce, at least twentyfold less land use, lower food mileage, less waste and lower energy use per kg produce compared to greenhouses. These vegetables have a greatly improved quality (taste, aroma, appearance, shelf life, nutritional value, safety) compared to conventionally produced vegetables. The Sky High programme will develop concepts for design and control of vertical farms that meet all mentioned targets on sustainability, yield, and quality, based on a fundamental understanding of the different components of vertical farming.
To realise these targets a fundamental understanding of the different components of vertical farming is needed. The efficiency of light and energy use is strongly affected by the photoperiod and the duration of the diel (24 hour; diurnal and nocturnal) cycle. The aim off the here announced PhD project is to study the molecular pathways that are associated with growth of lettuce plants to different photoperiods in interaction with total daily light integral and light intensity when the total cycle is 24 hours or under deviations in duration of the total diel cycle. In addition the aim is to study whether there exists genetic variation for both the length of the circadian cycle between genotypes and how this affects the growth and development of plants under these varying conditions.
Function Requirements
  • An MSc in Plant Sciences or Biology.
  • Interest in studying fundamental biological processes with possible applications for plant breeding.
  • Experience with design and execution of experiments with plants.
  • Experience with analysing combined phenotypic and genomics data sets and knowledge of genetics.
  • Excellent writing and oral communication skills in English. 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.
  • A motivated, problem solving person who likes to work in a multidisciplinary team.
  • A team player who can also work independently.
  • An interest in (co-)supervising (under) graduate students.
Working conditions
We offer you a temporary position for a period of 1 year with extension of 3 years after successful evaluation. Gross salary per month € 2395,- in the first year rising up to € 3061,- in the fourth year for a full working week of 38 hours in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

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.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen is a centre for research and entrepreneurship. 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. It is a historic university town of about 36,000 residents in the central Netherlands. The academic community hails from more than 100 countries, giving the town a lively, international feel. Our highly qualified team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for you and your family.

The WUR International Community page contains practical information about what we do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. And watch this video to learn more about working at our green bustling campus. 
For more information about this function you can contact Dr. ir A.B. (Guusje) Bonnema,  e-mail: Guusje.Bonnema(at) or Dr Marieke Jeuken, Marieke.Jeuken(at)
For more information about the procedure, please contact vacaturemeldingen.psg(at)

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 up to and including October 6, 2020.
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.

Plant Breeding, Wageningen University & Research ( is a merged unit of Wageningen Research and Wageningen University with around 200 people including MSc and PhD students and guest workers. It is a highly international group with more than 50 nationalities organised 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 unravelling the genetic basis of traits which are relevant to achieve a sustainable agri- and horticulture. We conduct this research often together or in partnership with breeding companies, local, regional and state governments.
Our objective is to raise the productivity of agriculture in a sustainable and socially acceptable manner and increase the resilience of systems to deliver food security, feed, fuel, fibre and ornamental services under current and future climate and resource availability. As guiding principles we work synergistically in teams, like to express and base our opinions on sound science and operate self-conscientiously in our networks to have impact and attract and serve our clients’ needs. We strongly believe in diversity and inclusiveness to strengthen our teams, their modus operandi and their impact. We advise the public and the private sector and provide training in areas of our expertise.


öffentliche StelleVollzeitbefristet

Bewerbungsschluss: 06.10.2020

Wageningen University & Research (WUR)