PhD in Soft and Biodegradable Sensor Technology

PhD in Soft and Biodegradable Sensor Technology

Published Deadline Location
15 May 30 May Wageningen

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Job description

Are you an ambitious person who loves working on cutting-edge sensing technologies that contribute to sustainable agri-food production? Are you a team player that loves to work in a multidisciplinary field? Then our vacant position ‘PhD in Soft and Biodegradable Sensor Technology’ might be for you!

Population growth, climate change, resource depletion, and soil degradation are enormous challenges for agriculture. Successful agricultural decision-making requires sensing soil heterogeneity (soil compaction, moisture, phosphorus, nitrogen) in real-time to optimize time, location, and degree of agricultural operations (e.g., sowing, irrigating, fertilizing, and harvesting). A biodegradable soil sensor system would allow the distribution of a dense sensor network in the soil and monitor soil status without leaving hazardous e-wastes in the environment.

What are you going to do?
The PhD position in Soft and Biodegradable Sensing Technology will focus on developing and studying new biodegradable soil sensors, from their chemical synthesis to their characterization and their applications in the field. The research is mainly grounded in chemistry and material science, but it has influences of artificial intelligence and robotics applied to chemistry, and therefore a background or interest in these disciplines is highly valued.

As a PhD student in Soft and Biodegradable Sensor Technology, you will contribute to the “4TU Green Sensors project”. This project is a complementary and multidisciplinary collaboration among the four Dutch universities of technology (Delft University of Technology - TU Delft, Eindhoven University of Technology - TU/e, University of Twente – UT, and Wageningen University & Research - WUR). Supporting a more digitalized and sustainable agriculture, the project aims to develop a biodegradable soil sensor network to be used to sustainably manage or control agri-food production. Mutual collaborations among researchers are central to this project.

The position is embedded in the multidisciplinary BioNanoTechnology group and the candidate will work in close contact with the Farm Technology group in Wageningen and the other groups involved in the 4TU Green Sensor project.


Wageningen University & Research


  • a university degree (MSc) in chemistry, material science, chemical engineering, or similar study programs;
  • affinity with chemical sensors, organic and inorganic synthesis, and characterization;
  • knowledge of Machine Learning and programming skills in Python are welcome;
  • interest in application in agricultural or ecological systems;
  • a team player who can work independently yet also communicates well with colleagues;
  • excellent written and oral communication skills in English.

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 / 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 € 2.541,- per month rising to € 3.247,- 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 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

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

The 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, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 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 this video to get an idea of our green campus!


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • P1184908-10


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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