PhD Effects of pesticide mixtures on insects

PhD Effects of pesticide mixtures on insects

Published Deadline Location
21 Jan 16 Feb Wageningen

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Job description

Do you want to study the effects of pesticides on insect diversity in different types of farms? And the effects of pesticide mixtures on honeybees and bumblebees in small-scale experiments? Do you have proven affinity with quantitative analysis and laboratory experience? Then this could be the perfect PhD project for you!

We are hiring a PhD candidate that will investigate (1) the effects of pesticides on insect diversity in different types of farms. The project will compare insect diversity between conventional farms that use mixtures of pesticides and organic farms in 11 sites over Europe. The candidate should coordinate the data collection and analyse the data. This candidate will also study (2) the effects of pesticide mixtures on honeybees and bumblebees in small-scale experiments. In these experiments, the candidate will measure behaviour, physiology, cognition, gut microbiome and lifespan of honeybees and bumblebees. The microbiota of bees contributes to tolerance of environmental stress, nutritional status and disease resistance. Pesticides are thought to deplete bees of their key symbiotic gut microbes that are crucial to health of bee colonies. A better understanding of this problem may help us to preserve host-adapted symbionts and prevent bee mortality and colony loss.

The study will involve statistical analysis of big data. The PhD candidate will participate in a large team of scientists. The PhD project is part of the large 5-year EU (h2020) program SPRINT (, involving 14 countries. SPRINT seeks to develop a Global Health Risk Assessment Toolbox to assess impacts of plant protection products (PPP) on ecosystem, plant, animal and human (EPAH) health.

The starting date for this position will be April 1st 2021.


Wageningen University & Research


  • a MSc in biology (ecology), microbiology, host-microbe interactions, animal sciences, ecotoxicology, veterinary medicine
  • proven affinity with quantitative analysis (statistical analyses, microbiome analysis and/or mathematical modelling)
  • experience with working in a laboratory
  • excellent communication and writing skills
  • a creative and collaborative personality
  • have excellent command of English (preferably contributed to a peer-reviewed paper)

Conditions of employment

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

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.395,- per month rising to € 3.061,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

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 Netherlands for the 16th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
We are 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 page contains 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.


Wageningen University & Research

Our mission is "To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life". Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding 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, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. A coordinated approach to problems and the cooperation between various subject areas 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

The Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Group is working to understand how changing environments affect the abundance, distributions, and ecological interactions of wild animals and plants. We study how humans influence wildlife by examining direct mechanisms as well as mechanisms that are part of larger-scale processes. We embrace field-based, experimental and theoretical studies, and we work at levels of biological organization ranging from individuals to ecosystems. We are embedded in the Environmental Sciences Group of Wageningen University, which provides fundamental research and academic education on our living environment.

Research in Host-Microbe Interactomics Group focuses on understanding of the interplay between host-associated microbiomes and the role of specific species/groups of bacteria and their bioactive metabolites (e.g. short-chain fatty acids and natural products) on microbiota ecology, host biology/physiology using organoid models and studies in vivo. The group also develops knowledge to underpin the development of strategies to prevent and treat infections, including development of novel antimicrobials, cross-protective vaccines and biomarkers of risk to target control measures. In this domain other research topics include understanding of host mechanisms associated with disease resistance or resilience to infection. The group is part of the Animal Sciences Group.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • 688233


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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