Postdoctoral fellow

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 31 Aug 2022

Job description

Title: Postdoctoral position on Implementation of Smart Farming Technologies for Site Specific Fertigation.

The continuously increasing demand for food for ever increasing population, becomes the biggest challenge worldwide due to climate change that affects land productivity, crop performance and yield. Given the increasing demands for water and food under global warming, one of the great challenges facing the agricultural sector is how to increase food production by using less water for irrigation.

Another issue is the homogeneous application of not only water but N, P and K over the entire field area adopted by most farmers. This results in over- and under-applications over different parts of a field, leading to poor yield and management of farming input resources, and negative environmental consequences, e.g., N and P leaching, or water scarcity. The solution would be to adopt variable rate fertigation (VRFI) at field scale, by applying the right rate on fertilisers and water for irrigation at the right time, and place using advanced sensing, modelling and control technology.

A postdoctoral research position under the project titled ADDFerti: Design and development of ICT based data driven platform for Site Specific Fertigation is available in Precision Soil and Crop Engineering Group (Precision SCoRing; ), within the Department of Environment, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University, Belgium.

We are looking for a dynamic and ambitious candidate with a PhD in Agriculture/mechatronic/Electrical Engineering, to work as a postdoctoral researcher under a recently funded ADDFerti project by FWO within ERA-NET ICT-AGRI-FOOD 2019 call.

This project will focus on using and developing novel soil sensing technologies that include IOT based soil sensors/ actuators, fully automated hose-reel fertigation system equipped for variable rate fertigation, ICT infrastructure, algorithms and decision support tools for establishing an integrated solution for the implementation of site-specific fertigation in potato and maize using a new hose-reel fertigation machine.

The successful implementation of this project is foreseen to increase farmers’ income return, due to increased yield at reduced N, P, K and water consumption, and that more fresh water will be available for human daily consumption. The other expected project output is the reduction in the amount of agrochemical applied into the soil and ground and surface water resources.

The successful candidate will have the following responsibilities:

  • Lead your project and deliver the project results in a timely manner.
  • Submission of high-quality publications in international journals.
  • Link and integrate with research projects of the other PhD students in the group as deemed appropriate.
  • Contribute to group activities as requested by your promoters that are within the remit of the role and the grant, and the associated grade. This may include:
  • Supporting and collaborating with MSc and other PhD students.
  • Contributing to teaching programmes if requested to do so.
  • Assisting in other activates in the group as deemed necessary.

Job profile

The candidate should fulfil the following requirements:

  • Have a PhD degree in Agriculture Engineering, Mechatronic Engineering or Electrical Engineering.
  • Have strong experience in the one or more of the following domains
    • Embedded system programming
    • Communication network protocols especially wireless protocols needed for IOT sensors / actuators
    • Control systems
    • Electrical machines
  • Should have knowledge in the use of basic software and modelling languages, such as, MATLAB/Simulink, Python 3, LabVIEW, R, ArcGIS, C/C++/C#…..
  • Good contextual understanding of agricultural-environmental interface, and soil-crop-water relationship.
  • Should have a high level of proficiency in English enough to communicate effectively with colleagues and write papers and reports.
  • Good practical problem solver / Ability to find appropriate solutions to academic and technical problems.
  • Have strong interpersonal skills to lead a group of PhD students and generate path breaking research outcomes within a dynamic research group.

  • We offer a postdoctoral research position starting 1st October 2022. Our university will offer you monthly salary based on your experiences and a full working week (38 hours).
  • Candidates will have the opportunity to work within a stimulating research environment within the Precision SCoRing Group ( ), with interdisciplinary team comprised of agricultural engineers, mechatronics engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, soil scientists, agronomists and data mining experts, where many international collaborations are foreseen.

How to apply

Applicants should apply by not latter than 15th August, 2022, enclosing the following documents:

  • Cover letter outlining your motivation, research and teaching (if any) experience.
  • Detailed CV and publication record (as per EUROPASS template).
  • Your PhD degree or an interim document if you are still finishing your PhD.
  • A verified transcript of all your degrees.
  • Two reference letters from academic members.

Applications need to be submitted via email with subject line of ‘PostDoc in Fertigation’ to project promoter Prof. Abdul Mouazen (E-mail: ). Please copy in your e-mail's application Dr. M. Qaswar (E-mail: ).

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