Research Assistant - Investigating Greenhouse Gas balance in fen meadow landscapes

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 12 Jun 2023

Your job

Do you want to dedicate your technical skills to research on greenhouse gas balance in fen meadow landscapes? Do you want to be part of  a dynamic and passion-driven team?  Then we may be looking for you!

The Water Systems and Global Change group (WSG) of Wageningen University & Research is looking for a research assistant to assist in all aspects of field data collection, maintenance, logistics as well as data management, and take coordinating responsibility on several of these, working in the following context.
Drained organic soils are an important source of greenhouse gases worldwide. Also in the low lying areas of the Netherlands drainage of its organic soils, with the aim to enable more intensive usage of the land, leads to oxidation of organic material, significant carbon dioxide release and subsequent land subsidence. As part of climate mitigation policies the Dutch government seeks to reduce these emissions by at least 1 Mtonne in 2030. In support of these policies, several research research projects funded at (sub-)national level (such as the National Research programme on Greenhouse Gases in Peatlands- NOBV ) aim to investigate the effects of various mitigation measures on total greenhouse gas balance of the targeted areas.

The Water Systems and Global Change group (WSG) has built up a considerable track record in studying interactions between greenhouse gas exchange, hydrology, land use, and climate (change). WSG contribute to this peatland research with (mobile) tower based eddy covariance measurements of greenhouse gas exchange at field scale and with airborne measurements using the same technique at regional scale. Over the past 3 years we have built a strong measurement programme that includes 20+ operational sites and an aircraft with ever expanding instrumentation. We are a team of eight people, including (field)technicians, PhD, PostDoc and senior staff.

As a research assistant, you will work on the following (research) topics:

  • assist in design and assemblage of (mobile) greenhouse gas monitoring strategies at field to regional scale in locations sampling the variety of organic soil types and associated land uses in the Netherlands (measuring equipment, communication and networking, power supply)
  • regular maintenance, calibration and problem solving of all equipment; occasional maintenance of study sites (fencing, mowing, etc); co-organising field logistics
  • processing and analysing the obtained high frequency eddy covariance data to greenhouse gas fluxes at diurnal to inter annual time scales; setup and maintenance of the data base and associated data ingestion and quality monitoring tools.
  • assist in the analysis of data from multiple locations and transects in relation to explanatory variables from vegetation and soil characteristics, land and water management and climate

Your work will take place in the office, but more so in our technical workshop and in the field. Fieldtrips take you to (beautiful) locations on farmers land as well as nature reserves all over the west and north of our country and require flexibility in working hours.

Your qualities

The ideal candidate has:

  • A university (of applied sciences) degree (Bsc or MSc) in one or more of: applied electronics, mechanical engineering, data management or informatics, some knowledge of eco-hydrology, micrometeorology, vegetation or soil science is pré; OR environmental technology, environmental sciences, some knowledge of research data management and basic electronics is a pré
  • Experience/affinity with monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions/uptake in the field and from small aircraft
  • Experience with programming: R, python, embedded software, database queries. Some knowledge of statistics, machine learning and big data approaches is a pré
  • Excellent communication skills in Dutch and English
  • Standout colleague, who can work independently and who also communicates well with academic and professional colleagues (incl. land owners, farmers, volunteers)
  • A valid driving licence

We offer you

You will enjoy excellent terms of employment . A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional holiday hours by working more;
  • 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 € 3.098- and € 4.670,- for a full-time working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the 

Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU)

 (scale 9 or 10). Additionally, a possibility to work part time can also be discussed.

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.
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. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.

Do you want more information?

For more information about this position, please contact Dr Ronald W.A. Hutjes , +31 (0)317-48 64 62 or Dr Bart Kruijt, , +31 (0)317-48 64 40

For any other questions on the procedure you can contact Noorien Abbas, Corporate Recruiter, e-mail:

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 12th June, 2023. We hope to schedule the first job interviews in the third week of June.

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.

About WSG
WSG is one of the chair groups in the Environmental Science Group of WUR. WSG seeks to create new knowledge to contribute to sustainable water systems in a changing global environment, in order to contribute the provisioning of sufficient, clean and climate-proof water for society and nature.
Furthermore we aim to improve the understanding of anthropogenically driven changes in water cycles in relation to interactions between climate-, water-, energy- and agricultural systems. WSG performs coordinated assessments of water systems, in which we integrate knowledge on water and global change. To this end, we use a variety of models and observations and combine these with participatory approaches. We focus on (1) the effect of changing global drivers on water systems, (2) adaptation and (3) mitigation strategies, comprising of novel approaches such as adaptive water management and ecosystem-based adaptation and (4) climate-water services. We thus take an integrated approach across the water, food and energy systems, at multiple spatial and temporal scales.

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