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Verina Ingram

4-year PhD position: crop physiology and modelling of cocoa production

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At Wageningen University we have a vacancy for a PhD student on crop physiology and modelling of cocoa production. With this PhD project, we aim to contribute to closing the yield gap in cocoa (Theobroma cacao) production in West Africa. In this major cocoa production region, only a small percentage of the potential yield is realized. Innovative 3D crop models that include effects of nutrition and pruning can help to identify key factors to increase cocoa yield. The study is part of a larger project on cocoa production by small-holders in West Africa. The PhD student will be supervised by scientists from the ‘Crop and Weed Ecology’ group (Niels Anten and Jochem Evers) and the ‘Forest Ecology and Management’ group (Pieter Zuidema) at Wageningen University. See description of the position below and further information on the vacancy here. Please feel free to distribute this announcement in your network. Kind regards, Pieter Zuidema Prof. dr. Pieter A. Zuidema | Forest Ecology and Forest Management | Wageningen Universiteit | Droevendaalsesteeg 3a | PO Box 47 | 6700 AA Wageningen , the Netherlands | T. +31 (0) 317 486 356 | T(2) +31 (0) 317 486 195 | F +31 (0) 317 486 360 | ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PhD Crop ecological aspects and modelling of cocoa production Job description The focus of this position is to quantify the effects of pruning and soil nutrition on growth and yield of cocoa trees in plantations. A combination of field experiments and an innovative 3D modelling approach will be used. The selected candidate will construct and use a simulation model of cocoa growth and development and conduct ecophysiological and agronomic field measurements and experiments to test the model. She/he will also use this model as a demonstration tool for local farmers and other stakeholders. Two periods of 6-8 months in West Africa (Ghana and/or Cote d'Ivoire, a French-speaking country) are foreseen. The position is part of an interdisciplinary NWO-WOTRO funded program, with 4 PhD positions, which aims for science-based, sustainable intensification of cocoa production by small-holder farmers in West Africa. The program focusses on developing technologies for improvement of cocoa production and adequate delivery and tailoring of these to farming systems. Requirements We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with the following qualifications: • An MSc degree in a relevant field, including: plant biology, ecology or crop science • Clear affinity with quantitative modelling techniques of plant/tree growth, populations or ecological processes. • Experience with agronomic/ecological field work, preferably in a tropical country • Good oral and written communication in English, and good inter-cultural communication skills Conditions of employment In principle this is a 4-year PhD position. We offer you a temporary contract for 1 year which will be extended with another three years if you perform well. Gross salary per month: from € 2.174,- - up to € 2.779,- based on full time employment and depending on expertise and experience. A part time employment is also possible. The position is projected to start 1 October 2016 but the starting date is certainly negotiable. Contract type: Temporary Employer Wageningen UR The successful candidate will be part of a cutting edge international research team exploring the potential for increasing cocoa production by small holders in West Africa. Closing the yield gap between potential and realized yield of cocoa plantations will greatly contribute to livelihoods in this region. The team consists of four Wageningen University chairgroups (Centre for Crop Systems Analysis, Plant Production Systems and Forest Ecology & Management, Knowledge, Technology & Innovation), complemented by several African research organisations and Mondelez, a cocoa trading company. Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR) is internationally renowned for its research and education in the fields of life sciences, plant improvement and sustainability. Through these activities it aims to make essential contributions to the quality of life. Additional information Additional information about this project can be obtained from Prof Dr Niels Anten ( or Dr Jochem Evers ( Candidates that are selected for the interview stage will be asked to give a short presentation on research background and their views on the project. Closing date 30 June 2016
+31 (0) 317 486 356

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