Are you that enthusiastic researcher that loves to work on design and design methods for novel agricultural production systems that bypass trade-offs and improve their sustainability performance?

The Farm Technology Group has, together with partners within Wageningen UR, a strong history, background and track-record in design of innovative production systems for various agricultural products, from the regular animal and plant-related products to mushrooms, insects and algae. Design or redesign of agricultural production systems and chains is needed to achieve environmental, resource-use, biodiversity, social and economic goals and bypass trade-offs between these sustainability goals, e.g. economic versus environmental goals. Besides, structured design methods, their interactive and interdisciplinary implementation are crucial for the invention, conceptualization and adoption in practice of (break-through) innovative system designs.

As tenure-track researcher in this position, you will further adapt and develop the RIO (Reflexive Interactive) design method in strong interaction with the application of the method to new cases. The scientific methodological challenge is to deal with soft requirements and variable motivation of stakeholders, limited reproducibility of some design steps, to include the behaviour and affordances of human, plants and animals in the design process, and to deal with complexity and uncertainty in agricultural production systems. Your focus will be on the technical and engineering aspects of the design method and the application to production systems, and the integration of knowledge from social, biological and environmental disciplines. Typical examples of system designs we are currently working on are intercropping, minimum-tillage and permaculture systems, greenhouses, and welfare friendly systems for animals.

You will realize the objectives by providing input to various current research projects at the Farm Technology group. Bachelor and Master students Biosystems Engineering as well as PhDs will be supervised by you during their thesis project. You will lead the acquisition of new (PhD) projects in collaboration with other university groups, industry and colleagues of the contract research institutes within Wageningen UR. Project results will be disseminated through papers in peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings. Finally, you will contribute to the yearly BSc course Engineering Design and MSc course Biosystems Design. Within the Farm Technology group and within Wageningen University & Research you will closely cooperate with other colleagues working in the field of agricultural production systems and precision agriculture, sensors and agricultural robotics, innovation science and environmental sciences.

We ask

  • A university degree (MSc) in industrial design, technology, engineering or physics.
  • A PhD in development and/or application of design methods, or in systems engineering.
  • Knowledge of design methods and proven skills in the use of related software tools.
  • Experience with stakeholder interaction and cooperation with other scientific disciplines.
  • Preferably knowledge and/or experience with theories on innovation and innovation systems. 
  • Knowledge of agricultural or biological systems, quantitative methods (models, statistics), and genuine interest and understanding of the sustainability challenges of this domain.
  • Scientific ambition, proven performance in scientific publishing, and ambition to publish future work.
  • Experience with course teaching and individual thesis supervision, and willingness to further develop your didactical skills (university teaching qualification).
  • A team player who can work independently and who also communicates well with colleagues.
  • Proven project leadership and acquisition skills will be an advantage.

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

We offer

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 https://www.wur.nl/en/Jobs/Why-choose-Wageningen-University-Research/Your-development-in-focus/Tenure-Track.htm

We offer a meaningful job with, depending on your experience, a competitive salary from a minimum of €3.746,= (scale 11) for a full working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement. The contract will be for 38 hours per week and 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:

  • an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% fixed-year allowance;
  • an excellent pension scheme;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary working conditions;
  • flexible working hours and vacations (in consultation with colleagues) to optimally balance work and personal life;
  • 232 holiday hours, the ability to trade salary for additional holiday hours;
  • good supplementary leave arrangements and an individualized model to compose part of your working conditions, including a bicycle plan;
  • use of the sports facilities available on campus against a reduced fee.

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 more information about this function, please contact Prof.dr.ir. P.W.G. Groot Koerkamp, professor in biosystems engineering and chair holder of the Farm Technology Group, telephone +31 (0)317-480831 or by e-mail peter.grootkoerkamp@wur.nl.

For more information about the procedure, please contact vacaturemeldingen.psg@wur.nl.

This vacancy is open up to and including January 31, 2021.
For this position you can only apply online: http://www.wageningenur.nl/career.

The first job interviews will take place in February 2021.

Please do not upload more than 8 pages in total. Proofs of certificates and papers are not requested and not needed in the first stage of application.


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.

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