Postdoc position Microbe-Plant-Arthropod Interactions - NIOO-KNAW - Wageningen

Postdoc position Microbe-Plant-Arthropod Interactions - NIOO-KNAW - Wageningen

Published Deadline Location
11 Mar 9 Apr Wageningen

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Job description

The Department of Terrestrial Ecology offers a Postdoc position Microbe-Plant-Arthropod Interaction. 

Project title:
Effects of beneficial soil microbe inoculations on soil biodiversity, plant growth and plant resistance against aboveground pests and pathogens

Project description:
The aim of the project is to determine the impact of inoculation of tomato and strawberry plants with selected beneficial microbes on soil biodiversity, plant growth and defense. Greenhouse studies will be used to assess effects of microbial inoculation on plant growth, plant resistance to aboveground pathogens and insect pests, and on the efficiacy of pest biocontrol by natural enemies. Soil microbial analyses will be performed to assess effects on the soil microbial community. Gene expression and biochemical analyses will be used to explore mechanisms underlying the microbe-induced effects on plant growth and defense. Similar analyses can be performed on plants from field trials in a.o. Denmark and Slovenia performed by partners in the consortium.

The project is part of the larger project EXCALIBUR ( funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No. 817946). Overall project aim of EXCALIBUR is to exploit the multifunctional potential of belowground biodiversity in horticultural farming. New multifunctional soil microbial inoculants (bio-inocula) and bio-effectors will be tested on three model crops of economic importance (tomato, apple, strawberry) under different experimental and open-field conditions across Europe, and the feed-feedback effect of/on native biodiversity monitored. Excalibur will develop a comprehensive strategy of soil management improving the effectiveness of biocontrol and bio fertilization practices in agriculture.

Job description:
Performing greenhouse studies with plants, benefical microbes and insects to investigate microbe-induced effects on plant growth and defense; biochemical analyses (primary and secondary metabolites, volatile organic compounds) and gene expression analyses (qPCR) to explore mechanisms underlying microbe-induced effects; soil microbial analyses to assess effects of inoculation on soil microbial biodiversity; presentation of your work at (inter)national meetings; publishisng scientific articles; supervising technical (MBO, HBO) and MSc students


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)


Applicants should have: a relevant PhD in plant- or microbial ecology, entomology, plant pathology, biological control, agronomy or similar; demonstrable experience with experimental work on plant biotic interactions; experience with biochemical (plant metabolites, volatile organic compounds) and/or molecular labwork (microbiomes, gene expression) and associated data-analysis, good organizational skills and fluency in spoken and written English.

Conditions of employment

The position is a temporary appointment for 2.5 years and is 1.0 FTE (38 hours per week). The expected start date is 24 May 2021, or as soon as possible thereafter. The salary is based on experience according to salary scale 10 under the Collective Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten). In addition to this salary, there will be an 8% holiday pay and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%. We also offer an extensive package of fringe benefits.


Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO)

The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) is an Academy research institute. It conducts ecological research on land, in the ocean and in fresh water and studies how living organisms interact with one another and their environment. NIOO stimulates biodiversity and sustainability in nature and society through its worldwide network of researchers, policymakers, conservationists and other stakeholders.


  • Postdoc
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • AT2021-034 - TE-21-04


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

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Droevendaalsesteeg 10, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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