Post Doc in Plant Growth Modelling

Wageningen University Centre of Crop Systems Analysis


Postdoc in Plant Growth Modelling

Location Wageningen

We are looking for

We are seeking an enthusiastic researcher to work on modelling plant growth and development in a greenhouse setting and applying it to improve processes in agriculture and food production.

Within the framework of a new research project that aims to develop a digital twin of tomato crops in a greenhouse environment (, the aim of this postdoc position is to design and set-up a 3D simulation model of a greenhouse tomato crop, and use concepts from existing plant and greenhouse models. Ultimately, this should lead to a functional digital twin of a tomato crop. This twin uses a continuous stream of information on greenhouse climate data as well as plant data as input. It provides yield, resource use (e.g. energy, water), and economic profit as output, which is used to control the greenhouse environment of the real crop as well as support decisions on crop management. Within the project, the postdoc will play a central role, as s/he is in constant contact with other project members on both the input data coming from the real plants, as well as the output to be used for crop management decisions.

The research challenge

So-called functional-structural plant (FSP) models represent the shape, architecture, and function of a plant, and can predict growth in relation to environmental factors and nutrition. Currently, FSP models developed for tomato represent plant architecture statically without considering growth and development. Therefore, current models need to be extended with eco-physiological processes governing growth and development taken from FSP models developed for other plant species, as well as from traditional crop models for tomato. These processes include leaf traits related to light absorption, photosynthesis, and growth; plant development in terms of leaf growth, flower and fruit production; and modification of the plant architecture and the consequences for plant growth and development. Sensitivity and uncertainty analyses will need to be run on all model parameters to inform phenotyping efforts aimed to obtain the relevant plant parameters.

The emerging plant model will be integrated with a greenhouse climate model, such that the plant model takes the inputs from the greenhouse climate model and the interaction between tomato plant growth and greenhouse climate can be simulated.

In the project, you will work within a multi-disciplinary team consisting of plant scientists, computer vision scientists, engineers working on greenhouse control, and specialists in artificial intelligence.

We ask

  • You hold a PhD in simulation modelling (aspects of) plant growth, functioning and architectural development.
  • You have good quantitative, mathematical, and / or programming skills.
  • You have experience or interest in working with plants and their physiology in a greenhouse setting.
  • You are an independent researcher with good project management skills.
  • You enjoy the interaction, communication, and collaboration with other researchers in an interdisciplinary team.
  • You have interest in the application of developed technologies to improve agriculture.
  • You have good oral and written communication skills, with publications in top journals and conferences.
  • This position requires an excellent English language proficiency  (a mininum of CEFR C1 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page.
Ultimately, we are looking for someone who is not afraid to set up a comprehensive greenhouse tomato model, based on either prior experience in plant modelling, or on confidence that these skills can be acquired efficiently, based on experience in other areas of biological systems modelling.

Note: we strongly encourage female researchers to apply.

We offer

  • A meaningful and challenging position with, depending on your experience, a competitive salary from a minimum of € 2709 to a maximum of € 3255 for a full working week of 38 hours in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement Dutch Universities. The job is for a period of 2 years (1 year after a positive evaluation extension for another year) at an international leading organization.
  • A holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-the-year bonus of 8,3% of your annual salary. A competitive salary and flexible leave/holiday plan
  • A fun and excellent research team with an international reputation in crop growth modelling and crop physiology
  • A collaboration within an inter-disciplinary project, with participation of different chair groups at Wageningen University and Research.
  • A good academic working atmosphere and an inspiring university campus.
  • A professional and personal development program

More information

Additional information about this project can be obtained from Jochem B. Evers


You can apply up to and including June 21, 2020

For this position you can only apply online:

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.

Equal opportunities employer

We are an employer that offers equal opportunities. We are happy to receive applications from all suitably qualified people regardless of race, gender, functional impairment, religion / belief, sexual orientation or age.
We believe that a diverse and inclusive working environment makes us a more relevant, competitive and resilient organization. Click here for more information about working at WUR with a functional impairment.

You will be employed at the Centre of Crop Systems Analysis (CSA) at Wageningen University and Research. The emphasis of research at CSA is on improvement and innovation of plant production at various levels of integration; from genotypes to cropping systems and production chains. The group’s core expertise is the quantification of complex and often non-linear interactions between plants (or genotypes), management and the environment (G×M×E). Within the project, you will work together with an experienced team of researchers in the areas of plant growth modelling, machine vision, artificial intelligence, photosynthesis, greenhouse modelling and greenhouse climate control.

In your application, please refer to


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