Assistant Professor Plant Modelling and Sensing for Autonomous Greenhouses

Wageningen University


Tenure Track position: (assistant) professor Plant modelling and sensing for autonomous greenhouses

Published on
January 9, 2020

Location Wageningen

We are looking for

Within the Chair group of Horticulture & Product Physiology (HPP) we have a vacancy for: Tenure Track (assistant) professor Plant modelling and sensing for autonomous greenhouses.

We are looking for an Assistant Professor who has the ambition to grow into the position of Professor Plant modelling and sensing for autonomous greenhouses.

Horticulture has been designated as one of the economic top-sectors of the Netherlands. The Dutch greenhouse horticultural sector is world leading and is continuously innovating. Similarly the research and education of Wageningen University is world leading.

The greenhouse of the future is an autonomous greenhouse where, despite biological variation and changing weather, the production process is fully under autonomous control. Multiscale models combining environmental conditions and the genomic and phenotypic crop responses will predict the response to varying conditions. The model predictions are then used for a control system that ensures optimal production for a minimum of environmental costs.

The assistant professor will perform research and education on modelling and sensing of growth, development and quality of horticultural crops (vegetables, fruits, cut flowers and/or potplants). You will focus on the development of model-based, autonomously operating systems, that use the interaction between physiological characteristics and dynamic environmental conditions to optimise product quantity and quality, and minimise resource use. You will create multiscale spatio-temporal data-driven as well as process-based models using novel sensor networks for control of plant growth and climate processes in greenhouses.

Tenure Track
You will enter a career trajectory called Tenure Track, with an excellent environment for you to grow, excel and work within the department to make a difference in our field. This includes the chance to define your own research line and research group. We offer training and coaching, as well as opportunities to work part-time.

Key responsibilities 

  • establish a personal research portfolio that is embedded within the Horticulture and Product Physiology group;
  • undertake research that leads to high quality research outputs;
  • teach courses (lectures, practicals) on plant modelling and smart use of sensor information in greenhouse control. Supervise BSc and MSc thesis students as well as PhD students. Develop new educational material;
  • submit grant applications and obtain research funding;
  • communicate the importance and significance of research to stakeholders.


We ask

The ideal candidate is characterised by:

  • PhD in plant sciences or data science.
  • Experienced in modelling (preferably of plant processes or greenhouse systems), artificial intelligence, and big data analysis.
  • Preferably knowledge on measurement systems for plant science.
  • Knowledge of or proven interest in plant physiological processes.
  • Very good publication record in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Result-driven team player with creative ideas.
  • Excellent communication skills as well as good proficiency in English (both oral and written). This position requires an excellent English language proficiency  (a mininum of CEFR C2 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page
  • Good networker.
  • Capacity to acquire funds for research.
  • Enthusiastic educator, with the drive to implement innovative methodology in education.


We offer

The advertised position opens many possibilities within the group and in our national and international network. Moreover, the modelling can be approached from various angles and disciplines and we expect the position to be attractive for many. Thus, if you are inspired by the above, we very much invite you to apply. We welcome application from junior as well as more senior scientists.

You will work within the Wageningen tenure-track system, which provides an excellent opportunity for academic development. It offers support for personal growth in research, acquisition, education (University Teaching Qualification), and leadership. It allows to continue to grow into the role of personal professor. As the development of a research and education vision and an independent research line are important in this process, you will receive extensive coaching during. If you want to read more on the Wageningen UR tenure track, please see

We offer a meaningful job with, depending on your experience, a competitive salary from a minimum of €3.637,= (scale 11) for a full working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement. The contract will initially be temporary, leading to a permanent employment contract if you meet the tenure track criteria. An appointment of 0.8 FTE is negotiable.

In addition, we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance;a structural end-of-year bonus of 8.3%;excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be figured out in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours per year, plus the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • a flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave;
  • 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.


More information

For questions about this vacancy you can contact Prof. dr ir Leo Marcelis, e-mail: For this position you can only apply on line (via
For more information about Tenure Track within Wageningen UR please look at
For more information about the procedure, please contact

This vacancy is open up to and including February 13, 2020.
You can only apply online through

We are

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.

The chair group Horticulture & Product Physiology
The chair group HPP conducts high impact fundamental research and educates students providing the scientific basis required to answer questions that are of utmost importance for sustainable crop production and product quality in horticulture. The chair group HPP is the only academic group focused on horticulture in the Netherlands and holds a strong position in horticultural research and education in Wageningen.

The research focus is on how physiological processes in crops, plants and plant organs interact with the abiotic environment and how this affects crop production and product quality. Questions from horticultural practice are translated into fundamental research topics, aiming to explain mechanisms. The research and education contributes to sustainably feeding the World with healthy high-quality products.

The chair group is an international team consisting of 12 permanent staff members (7 faculty and 5 assistants), about 25 PhD candidates and postdocs and a number of guest researchers. Each year about 35 students conduct their thesis study (a 6-month research) at our group. We offer a variety of courses for BSc and MSc students, as well as industry, to transfer knowledge on horticulture (pre- and post harvest), environmental physiology and product quality.

In your application, please refer to


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