Postdoc position on Biodiversity Conservation at the Environmental Systems Analysis Group

Updated: about 2 months ago

We are looking for

The Environmental Systems Analysis Group at Wageningen University offers a diverse and challenging postdoc position. The position encompasses two exciting projects related to biodiversity conservation. Together these projects combine new ecological monitoring and modelling methodologies with skills that engage stakeholder networks and translate science into actionable knowledge for halting and reversing biodiversity loss.

High tech biodiversity monitoring
This project is part of a RAAK-PRO project called ‘Boeren, burgers en buitenbeesten’, which aims to translate state-of-the-art monitoring data (drones, camera traps and citizen science) into insights that facilitate more effective management of meadow bird populations, predators and agri-environmental systems in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. Together with stakeholders you will develop models (e.g. Digital Twins), updated with a continuous stream of field data, to support the year-round monitoring of predators and meadow birds. This requires translating environmental observations (data) and expert knowledge into facts and actionable information (intelligence) for land managers. The development of such models will consist of the following tasks: 1) formulating field-relevant questions based on the information needs of land managers and developing insightful models together with ecological experts, 2) combining high tech data, algorithms, machine learning, simulations, expert knowledge, scientific insights, and visualisation tools in comprehensive digital twins of the predator-meadow birds-land management-nexus, 3) supervising and guiding MSc students, and 4) taking the lead in writing scientific publications on the project’s findings.

Bending the curve of biodiversity loss
This project is part of the knowledge-hub on scenarios to bend the curve of biodiversity loss initiated by a consortium of various institutes, including the science department of WWF, UNEP-WCMC, University of Oxford, IIASA, University Utrecht and Wageningen University and Research. The aim is to accelerate and enrich current scenario thinking by encouraging networks of scientists to add layers of information allowing biodiversity models to address themes such as the impacts of climate change, the role of indigenous people in protecting biodiversity, or the shifting of consumption patterns. This builds on work by Leclere et al., (Nature, 2020). You will be the co-ordinator of the knowledge-hub and will, together with current and new network partners initiate coordinate and facilitate the ‘Bending the Curve’ network by 1) finding appropriate and interested partners; 2) organizing and facilitating (virtual) meetings, also financially, and maintaining a virtual platform, 3) facilitating open data sharing, using available and open access facilities, and 4) exploring funding opportunities for specific initiatives and activities. You will also be part of an executive knowledge-hub team, working in close collaboration with a junior researcher at Utrecht University, the science department of WWF and the Wageningen Biodiversity Initiative.

Depending on the candidates, it is possible to split up this position into two positions of 0.5FTE each.


We ask
  • A PhD degree in ecology, environmental science, animal science, biology, geography or related field
  • A strong quantitative background
  • Basic understanding of ecology such as predator-prey interaction and animal behaviour
  • Programming, modelling and/or data science skills with e.g., Python or R
  • The ability to attune model outputs to the information needs of stakeholders
  • Experience with scenario building
  • Good planning skills and the ability to divide time between two projects and their associated deliverables
  • Strong communication and networking skills and the ability to closely collaborate with various project partners in an interdisciplinary setting
  • 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 .
  • Fluency in Dutch is a pre, as most of the field partners of the RAAK-PRO project are Dutch

We offer

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

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and 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 of course receive a good salary. Depending on your experience, we offer a competitive gross salary of between €2.960,- and €5.439,- for a full-time working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale 10-11).

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. 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 17th 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. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief , known as the 30% ruling. 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. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.


More information

For more information about this position, please contact Dr.Ir. Koen de Koning or Prof.Dr. Rob Alkemade, Environmental Systems Analysis Group, Wageningen University, koen.dekoning@wur.nl rob.alkemade@wur.nl 

For more information about the procedure, please contact Edgar Tijhuis, corporate recruiter, edgar.tijhuis@wur.nl

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 October 10th 2022.

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. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.


We are

Wageningen University & Research
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, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 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 this video 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.


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