PhD Position in Greenhouse Gas Balance of Fen Meadow Landscapes

Wageningen University


PhD Position in Greenhouse Gas Balance of Fen Meadow Landscapes

Location Wageningen

We are looking for

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, the National Research programme on Greenhouse gas emissions from Fenmeadow areas (in Dutch NOBV: aims 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) of Wageningen University & Research has built up a considerable track record in studying interactions between greenhouse gas exchange, hydrology, land use, and climate (change). WSG contributes to the NOBV programme 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. These complement measurements at plot scale by other consortium members using a variety of techniques, enabling quantitative description and understanding of processes responsible for the production of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. One of the challenges for WSG is to link te various measurement scales to come up with distributed, wall-to-wall landscape budgets of these greenhouse gases.

As a PhD candidate, you will work on the following research topics (relative weight to be determined based on your interest and qualifications):

  • design and implementation of 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
  • processing and analysing the obtained high frequency eddy covariance data to greenhouse gas fluxes at diurnal to inter annual time scales
  • analyse and scale data from multiple locations and transects in relation to explanatory variables from vegetation and soil characteristics, land and water management and climate
  • aim to ultimately provide data driven regional greenhouse gas balances for the different fen meadow areas of the Netherlands
Your work will consist of literature studies, analysis of in-situ greenhouse gas exchange data, as well as spatially distributed (satellite) data on vegetation, soil land and water qualities. You will be member of a larger team of scientists, including PhD candidates based at the partner universities, within and outside Wageningen UR working on this topic, and have interaction with various partners (water boards, land managers, policy makers, etc.) associated with land based greenhouse gas emissions. Your project results will be disseminated through papers in peer reviewed journals (as a basis of your PhD thesis) and conference proceedings, but using popular media is also encouraged.

We ask

  • A university degree (MSc) in earth or environmental sciences with a strong background in eco-hydrology, micrometeorology, vegetation or soil science
  • Experience/affinity with monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions/uptake in the field and from small aircraft,
  • Experience/affinity with remote sensing of terrestrial and/or aquatic processes,
  • Experience with programming, statistics, machine learning and big data approaches in the context of soil-vegetation-atmosphere interactions
  • Excellent writing and oral communication skills in English and strong ambition to publish future work, proficiency in Dutch is considered a pro.
  • Standout colleague, who can work independently and who also communicates well with colleagues, and has the potential to (co-)supervise (under)graduate students in their research
  • Affinity with stakeholder interaction and cooperation with other scientific subject areas.

We offer

We offer a full-time position (38 hours), initially for 18 months after which a go/no-go decision will be taken. In case of a go, the contract will be extended up to 48 months.
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, 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, you will receive a competitive salary of between €2.395,- and €3.061,- for a full-time working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU).

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 an outstanding 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 country for the 16th 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 pagecontains 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

To learn more 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 more information about the procedure, please contact Edgar Tijhuis, corporate recruiter,

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 6 February 2021. We hope to schedule the first interviews on the following Friday 12 February in the afternoon.

Equal opportunities

WUR is an equal opportunity employer. We are keen to receive applications from all sufficiently qualified people, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, functional impairment, religion/life philosophy, sexual orientation, or age.

We are

The mission of Wageningen University and Research (WUR) is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to find solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 6.500 employees and 12.500 students, WUR is one of the leading organisations in its domain. A coordinated approach to problems and the cooperation between various fields are at the heart of Wageningen’s outstanding approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

These are the points our employees list as good reasons to come work at WUR: read the 6 reasons to come work at WUR

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 systems and global change. To this end, we use a variety of models and observations. We combine modelling analyses with participatory approaches. Our water assessments 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.

Apply now

In your application, please refer to


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