Post-doc position on Soil Health and Monitoring

Post-doc position on Soil Health and Monitoring

Published Deadline Location
17 Jun 11 Jul Wageningen

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Job description

We seek to strengthen our team with an outstanding postdoc with expertise on soil health assessment and monitoring. Capturing the complexity of soil life for soil health assessments is one of the most challenging paradoxes of contemporary soil science. Soil biota perform a plethora of processes that are fundamental to soil health. These processes in turn support a range of ecosystem functions (nutrient cycling, water regulation, carbon management and climate regulation, disease and pest regulation and plant growth). As the concepts of soil quality and health developed, so have the attempts to integrate soil biological measurements into monitoring schemes from field to regional scale.

The successful candidate will co-develop a soil monitoring framework for the assessment of soil health and multifunctionality with a range of users and scales in mind (farm scale, value chains to national and international policy/governance objectives) The framework will bring together the best scientific knowledge on the role of soil biodiversity in tandem with chemical and physical conditions to understand multifunctionality. The postdoc position is for a period of four years.

The portfolio for this position will be split into four key areas;
  1. Develop a flexible quantitative scientific framework to define indicators of soil health and multifunctionality (biological, chemical and physical) (Building on the work of Creamer et al., 2022 and Zwetsloot et al., 2022) across a range of scales and ecosystems.
  2. Further develop the BIOSIS method selection tool ( for a range of user contexts, from applied research to support land managers to policy decision making.
  3. Create a soil monitoring benchmarking approach for application in a range of climatic regions for agricultural soils.
  4. Quantify synergies and trade-offs in multifunctionality at different scales of assessment for a range of ecosystem types.
Existing research projects related to this position include LANDMARK (, BIOSIS (


Wageningen University & Research


  • a PhD in soil science, soil ecology and/or agronomy, with a strong soil-related background, and experience related to soil health/quality or multifunctionality assessment across a range of scales.
  • demonstrate a strong aptitude and proven record in modelling or statistical models for the quantification of soil health/multifunctionality
  • experience of spatial assessment of soil monitoring, design of monitoring systems.
  • have a good knowledge of the laboratory assessment of soil properties (biological, chemical and/or physical).
  • a good understanding of agricultural soil management practices.
  • the ability to develop new ideas and modelling approaches to assess and benchmark soil health/multifunctionality
  • experience with publishing in high-ranking scientific journals and communicate through technical and popular communication channels;
  • affinity with interacting with target partners such as farmers, policy makers and industry partners;
  • excellent communication and writing skills in English.
Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate their experience with concrete examples from their work in and outside academia.

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially 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 compensation / 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 of course receive a good salary.
Depending on your experience, we offer a four-year contract with a gross salary of between € 2.846 and € 5.230,- for a full-time working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale 10-11).

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 17th 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, 7.200 employees and 13.200 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 colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

The Soil Biology Group blends expertise from the soil, plant and ecological sciences to strengthen groundbreaking research and education in the areas of Fertile Soils; Soils in a Changing Climate; Functional Soil Biodiversity-and Soil Biological Indicators and Land Management.

Our multi-disciplinary team includes expertise in soil organic matter and nutrient dynamics, soil communities and biological processes, plant-soil interactions and feedbacks, trait-based ecology of soil biota, soil biological indicators and biofunctionality of carbon. The Soil Biology Group is supported by four laboratories, including; a soil biology lab, microscopy lab, microbiology lab and molecular ecology lab. We also work in close collaboration with soil chemistry laboratories and with a soil physics lab.

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


  • Postdoc
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • P991355-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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