Postdoc Modelling integrated soil nutrient and water fluxes across major farming systems in Africa

Postdoc Modelling integrated soil nutrient and water fluxes across major farming systems in Africa

Published Deadline Location
19 Mar 22 Apr Wageningen

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Job description

The Earth Systems and Global Change Group at Wageningen University and
Research invites applications for a post-doc position (2 years) in a challenging project titled: “Space2Place: Development of a scientific modelling framework to underpin reliable Fertilizer Decision Support Tools for Africa” starting in Spring 2024.

The Project is funded by the USAID-BRFS program ‘Feed the Future Soil Fertility Technology Adoption, Policy Reform, and Knowledge Management”. The project aims to develop, test and apply a Pan-African scalable Decision Support Tool to improve the efficiency of soil fertility management in Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Niger and Madagascar. With this we aim to contribute to increasing yields and incomes in Africa through improved efficiency and effectivity of fertilizer use, thus reducing costs and adverse environmental impacts. The major outcome of the project will be site-specific soil fertility and agronomic fertilizer recommendations.

As a postdoc researcher, you will expand and improve an existing modelling framework to assess carbon and nutrient (N, P, K, S, Mg, Ca, Cu and Zn) flows on field and regional level, assembling empirical and process-based algorithms considering agronomic impacts, soil quality and environmentally harmful losses.

This consists of the following tasks:
  • expand, test and validate a prototype modelling framework to assess carbon and nutrient flows on field and regional level for multiple crops and soil types. This includes the ensemble of empirical, statistical and process-based modules into an integrated soil, plant and crop model. Specific topics include the interaction among macro and micronutrients, the interaction among water availability and phosphorus uptake and the quantification of fertilizer nutrient recoveries accounting for site conditions controlling these recoveries;
  • calculate the desired inputs of carbon and nutrients considering the nutrient recovery, the crop utilization efficiency, the water availability and capacity of soils to buffer nutrients;
  • apply the modelling framework for selected case study regions;
  • compare and evaluate the suitability and applicability of various fertilizer strategies to boost crop yield and nutritional quality.

You will work here
The research is embedded in the Sub team ‘Nutrients food and Environment’ of the Earth Systems and Global Change Group at Wageningen University and Research.

You will mainly be supervised by Dr Gerard Ros and Prof Dr Wim de Vries, while also working together with soil scientists and agronomists from Plant Science Group, ISRIC and the partners of the S2P project. This project is part of the Space2Place initiative, led by the partners of the SOILS Consortium of the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC).


Wageningen University & Research


You have :
  • a successfully completed PhD degree in environmental sciences or soil science or equivalent education;
  • advanced experience in modelling, statistics and data handling;
  • proven experience in scientific writing;
  • ability to work independently as well as in our team;
  • fluency in English language.

In our international working environment there is an increasing amount of communication in English. For this position it is about language level C1. If you do not yet have this level, we will of course help you and you can go to our language center Wageningen in'to Language.

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, 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 competitive gross salary of between € 3.226 and € 5.929 for a full-time working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale 10 or 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 19th 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.

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 for example helping your partner to find a job, housing, or schooling.

Finally, certain categories of international staff may be eligible for a tax exemption on a part of their salary during the first five years in the Netherlands.


Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen University & Research
TThe mission of Wageningen University & 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, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 students and over 150,000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch the video below 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.


  • Postdoc
  • Agriculture
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €3226—€5929 per month
  • Doctorate
  • P1462131-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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