PhD Position in Safeguarding Pollinators in Agricultural Landscapes

Wageningen University


PhD Position Safeguarding Pollinators in Agricultural Landscapes

Published on
March 15, 2021

Location Wageningen

We are looking for

Do you have a passion for doing biodiversity research? Are you concerned about the declines of biodiversity in general and pollinators in particular? Are you motivated to identify effective mitigation strategies for pollinator decline? Then we invite you to apply for this PhD position in our team!

Wild pollinators are beautiful and fascinating species that perform essential functions in both natural ecosystems and many crop production systems. The ongoing decline of pollinators is cause for concern and calls for solutions that promote these species at the right spatial and temporal scales. Boosting pollinator numbers and diversity calls for interventions that are taken at the landscape level and throughout the entire growing season. This is challenging in a country where many different parties stake claims on parts of the landscape.

We offer an outstanding opportunity to a PhD candidate who is motivated to work on a landscape-level pollinator conservation approach, in which multiple partners implement bee-friendly management in a 30 km2 area in the south of the Netherlands. Extensive data collection has been carried out since 2018. The objective is to continue data collection and evaluate the effectiveness of this novel conservation approach. A key focus of the PhD project will be to develop and test statistical methods that disentangle the separate effects of multiple interventions that are being implemented in close proximity of one another, thereby providing the evidence for benefits of managing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. The research is part of the recently funded H2020 project ‘Safeguard’ in which 22 partners from across Europe collaborate.

You need to be dedicated to and constructively interact with international partners, local collaborators and your research team and at the same time perform high-quality research. You will publish your findings in leading international academic journals and will communicate them to audiences that may be able to use your results. You will supervise MSc students as they are doing thesis research within the framework of your own studies.

We ask

  • MSc in ecology, conservation biology, biostatistics, nature conservation or related field;
  • great teammate;
  • experience with agro-ecological studies;
  • an analytical approach;
  • Affinity with statistical modelling using extensive datasets;
  • good organizational and communication skills;
  • proficiency in Dutch or prepared to learn Dutch through an intensive course;
  • experience in collaborating with partners from a variety of backgrounds is a plus.

We offer

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

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and 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 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 receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

In principle this is a 48-month PhD position. We offer you a temporary contract for 12 months which will be extended with three years if you perform well (after go/no go evaluation). Salary will increase from € 2395,- gross per month in the first year up to € 3061,- in the last year, based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week).

WUR 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 Netherlands 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.

More information

To learn more about this position, please contact Prof.dr. D. Kleijn; tel: +31 (0)317485807; e-mail:

For additional information about the process please contact Edgar Tijhuis, corporate recruiter, e-mail:

You can apply up to and including 12 April 2020, by uploading (1) a cover letter summarizing your motivation to apply, (2) your CV including the names and contact details of two references.

Equal opportunities employer

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 webpage. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

The mission of our University is to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. 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, 6,500 employees, and 12,500 students, it is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. A coordinated approach to problems and the cooperation between various subject areas are at the heart of the outstanding approach of Wageningen. We have been named Best Employer in Education category 2019-2020.

Our team of the Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation (PEN) group investigates the processes that underlie healthy and resilient ecosystems. Biodiversity and ecosystems service delivery are key terms therein, and we seek to use our fundamental scientific knowledge to find sustainable solutions to conserve nature and biodiversity in a world where this is under threat. PEN is embedded in the department of Environmental Sciences (ESG) of WUR.

Apply now

In your application, please refer to


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