Researcher Volatile Organic Compounds

Researcher Volatile Organic Compounds

Published Deadline Location
10 Aug 24 Aug Wageningen

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Job description

  • Are you interested in post-harvest research that really matters by helping customers reduce their food waste and increase their ability to provide high quality produce to the market?
  • Do you understand fresh products?
  • Are you convinced that non-destructive measurements of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the environment of the fresh product give a good indication of its quality and allow early disease detection?
We are looking for a researcher in the field of VOC measurements. Will you join our growing team?

Our research is motivated by the global challenge to reduce food losses, to make food supply chains climate neutral and to assure delivery of high-quality fresh products to consumers worldwide. To strengthen our team and increase our impact, we are looking for an enthusiastic researcher in the postharvest domain of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers, with specialisation in VOCs measurements using PTR-MS, GC-MS, TD-GC, and/or metabolomics/volatilomics. As a researcher VOC, you will participate in various research projects related to product quality and technology in the fresh supply chain (fruits, vegetables, cut flowers).

What will you be doing?
  • you will do innovative research for our customers on the gasses that accumulate during the storage of fresh products to identify indicators for ripening, spoilage or unwanted fungus development. This helps our customers to know when to change their storage regime or when to bring their products to market;
  • you will do measurements for our customers in the field of taste and aroma of processed foods to identify for example off-flavours in the development of new foods. This helps our customers in improving their products (e.g. from animal proteins to plant-based proteins, from sugar to sugar replacements; in reducing salt) without losing customer satisfaction;
  • you will develop non-destructive measurement methods with respect to volatilomics to better understand and control the developments in a fresh product on metabolomic scale. This will help our customers in understanding the relation between physiology and post-harvest quality, which is relevant for breeding new cultivars.
Your work as researcher is very diverse, the tasks listed are examples of the type of activities that you will undertake. You will be part of a project team, and the questions of our customers are central to the project activities that you will perform.

Examples of our work
Your work will be in both national and international settings; we have innovative projects all over the world. Examples of our projects are:
  • volatiles as quality indicator: The objective of this project was to measure the production of volatiles in healthy and rotten (infected) potatoes and as such identify volatiles that may be used as a biomarker for rot development. Results are promising: clear differences in volatile production between infected and non-infected potatoes were found. (
  • benchmark study of measurement devices: In this project, an innovative, portable and user-friendly device based on mass spectrometry technology is codeveloped to help reducing food loss and waste (FLW). The project partners are cooperating to optimise and validate a groundbreaking technology integrating volatile (aroma) and non-volatile analyses in real-time. Results will be applied for monitoring food quality and safety.
As organisation, we regard impact-driven research, collaboration, and professionalism as the core values of our work. As team, we support each other, we trust and respect each other and we are proud to work together with our clients and partners towards a more sustainable world.


Wageningen University & Research


  • you are a person with an academic background in plant's metabolomics or a similar field; preferably with a PhD and a specialisation in VOC measurements;
  • you have experience in or a demonstrable talent for carrying out multidisciplinary research in the form of contract research for the business community;
  • you have knowledge of post-harvest physiology (ripening, aging, quality loss) related to volatilomics in fresh products such as fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants, and the willingness to continue to develop this knowledge;
  • you have strong analytical skills in chromatograms and statistic, are results-oriented and have a commercial outlook. Experience in gas chromatographic analysis and/or in programs for statistical analysis are a pre;
  • you are able to identify new opportunities in the market and develop them independently or with colleagues;
  • you are interested in the latest scientific developments, and know how to translate these into practical applications;
  • you have a good network within the agri-food domain.

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • 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 hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • 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 4%;
  • excellent pension scheme.
In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will of course receive a good salary. We offer, depending on your experience, a competitive gross salary of between € 2949,-. and € 5479,-. for a full-time working week of 36 hours, in accordance with the CLA Wageningen Research (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 multi-faceted 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 Food & Biobased Research develops insights and technologies that support industries, governments, and research institutes to create innovative solutions for a healthier, more sustainable, and prosperous world. Together with our clients we develop healthy and tasty food, truly-sustainable food chains, and chemicals and materials that use biomass instead of fossil resources. Our in-depth knowledge of the entire chain, from raw materials through processing to end product, drives our approach. Website:

We make smart connections between various disciplines to explore complex issues from different perspectives. Through a combination of intelligent analyses and pragmatic invention, we find solutions for these issues. Grounded in science and business, our researchers bring a no-nonsense attitude to their work. We investigate and develop at all stages: upscaling from lab to pilot and from initial idea to production processes that deliver real products for our customers. We have direct access to the latest scientific findings and have a firm grasp of what modern technology offers. Every day, we work with national and global companies, governments and other research institutes to create innovative solutions; now and in the future.

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!

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


  • Research, development, innovation
  • Food
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • P1019762-5


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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