PhD Leaf and plant canopy monitoring using gas exchange and hyperspectral sensing

PhD Leaf and plant canopy monitoring using gas exchange and hyperspectral sensing

Published Deadline Location
8 Dec 3 Jan Wageningen

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 3 Jan 2022).

Browse the current job offers or choose an item in the top navigation above.

Job description

Are you that researcher that likes to test and develop new methods to monitor plants status? Do you want to contribute to research on improving plant growth and development in vertical farms?

The chair group Horticulture and Product Physiology of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is offering a PhD position which is the opportunity you are looking for.

You will be developing and employing new plant monitoring methods that will serve as a basis for a digital twin aimed at refining climate control in vertical farms. Long term leaf gas exchange and hyperspectral data will be used to establish novel algorithms to interpret variations in leaf reflected spectrum in response to changes in environmental conditions. This work will enable scaling up plant monitoring from leaf to crop canopy using vision techniques.

The transfer of monitoring tools and digital twins from academic research to the industry and other stakeholders (e.g. advisors) remains a challenge. Therefore, you will address this challenge by engaging with stakeholders from the vertical farming sector using methods like value sensitive design to reflect on design criteria for digital twins in inclusive vertical farms.

This PhD position, which is funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) is part of the project 'TWINERGY: digital twin of a vertical farm for improved energy use efficiency'. In TWINERGY five PhDs and Postdocs will jointly work on improving the sustainability of the production of fresh vegetables in vertical farms. This project is a cooperation of Wageningen University (Horticulture and Product Physiology group in cooperation with Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group and Philosophy Group), Eindhoven University of Technology, HAS University of Applied Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the companies IMEC, Signify, Anhui Ancorgreen Optoelectronics Technology Co, Association for Vertical Farming (AVF), and Sananbio.

See also NWO website: Two projects granted about vertical farming within Merian Fund cooperation with China (CAS) | NWO


Wageningen University & Research


  • A PhD candidate with an MSc degree in Plant Sciences, Plant Biology or a related discipline;
  • Experience with leaf gas exchange, chlorophyll a fluorescence and/or spectrometry is required;
  • An interest in data analytics, machine learning and social and design dimensions of digital twins would be welcomed;
  • Affinity with and interest in embedding technical questions in broader societal contexts;
  • A proven ability to think conceptually and cross discplinary boundaries;
  • You can solve problems, prototype and test technical solutions.
  • You are a result-driven team player with creative ideas
  • You have excellent communication skills as well as good proficiency in English (both oral and written).

Conditions of employment

We are offering an exciting and challenging PhD position. 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.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.434,- per month rising to € 3.111,- 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 12 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 a unique 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 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

Wageningen University & Research
The mission of Wageningen University and Research 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, 6.800 employees and 12.900 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen's unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

Read the 5 reasons why your future collaegues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

The chair group Horticulture & Product Physiology
The chair group Horticulture and Product Physiology conducts high impact research and educates students providing the scientific basis required to answer questions that are of utmost importance for sustainable crop production and product quality in horticulture.

The research focus is on how physiological processes in crops, plants and plant organs interact with the abiotic environment and how this affects crop production and product quality. Questions arising from horticultural practice are translated into fundamental research topics, aiming to explain mechanisms. The research and education contribute to sustainably feeding the World with healthy high-quality products.
The chair group is an international team consisting of 14 permanent staff members, about 25 PhD candidates and postdocs and a number of guest researchers. Each year about 40 MSc students conduct their thesis study (a 6-month research) at our group. We organize and participate in a variety of courses for BSc and MSc students to transfer knowledge on horticulture (pre- and post harvest), environmental physiology and product quality.

More info about the chair group can be found at or see the video below;
Visiting the Farm of the Future - YouTube


  • PhD
  • Agriculture
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • 827675


Wageningen University & Research

Learn more about this employer


Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

View on Google Maps

Interesting for you