Job Details PhD-project Benchmarking animal production in farming

Job Details
PhD-project Benchmarking animal production in farming systems in
diverse agri-ecological environments
Vacancy number
Wageningen University
Function type
Phd positions
Scientific field
Agriculture and Natural Environment
Closing date for applications 27 July 2012
We are looking for a
PhD candidate for the project Benchmarking animal production in farming systems in
diverse agri-ecological environments
This PhD project is a collaboration between two chairs groups of Wageningen University: the
Animal Production Systems group and the Plant Production Systems group. The project is part of
the strategic research theme Sustainable and Smart Food Supply of Wageningen University and
Research centre, which aims to develop a Benchmarking Atlas for agricultural systems.
Job description
This PhD-project will develop a conceptual framework to explore the potential of sustainable
intensification strategies for diverse animal production systems across the world. Intensification of
livestock production (e.g. increasing production per animal and/or per unit of land) is widely
advocated to meet the growing demand for livestock products and to contribute to efficient use of
resources. Currently, the analysis of constraints to intensification of livestock production systems
is based on empirical comparisons. Such studies compare performance parameters of bestperforming farms with others, and deduce feasible improvement options. This approach gives a
restricted view on development opportunities. An approach with a wider scope is the
quantification and analysis of differences between the actual and the theoretically achievable
production levels, i.e. making use of so-called theoretical benchmarking. This is based on “the
production-ecological concepts” of potential, limited and actual production as originally developed
for crop production. The PhD-project will develop and apply these production-ecological concepts
to meat production in order to identify options for sustainable intensification of diverse livestock
systems. This requires combining modelling, analysis of secondary data and data from field
studies in The Netherlands, France, Ethiopia and Vietnam.
The project is for a period of 4 years and research will be carried out at the Animal Production
Systems Group in close cooperation with the Plant Production Systems group.
We ask
For this interdisciplinary project we look for an enthusiastic person with an appropriate MSc
degree in animal science, plant science or biology with interest in quantitative modelling of animal
and crop production. The candidate should have the competence to combine relatively broad
system aspects with more detailed aspects of crops and livestock. Excellent research skills and
analytical abilities are required. Good communication skills and proficiency in English (both oral
and written) are a prerequisite.
We offer
Employment basis: temporary for specified period; duration of the contract: 1.5 + 2.5 years,
maximum hours per week: 38. Additional conditions of employment: To begin with, a PhD
appointment for a period of 18 months. Continuation of the appointment with another 30 months
will be based on performance evaluation. Gross salary per month € 2042 in the first year rising to
€ 2612 per month in the fourth year, based on a full time appointment
We are
The Animal Production Systems (APS) Group of Wageningen University uses systems analysis
to understand complex livestock systems in order to explore and design a sustainable future.
Similarly, the Plant Production Systems (PPS) group uses systems analysis to understand the
soil-crop interactions with the aim to achieve sustainable food production. APS and PPS are
embedded in the Wageningen Centre for Agroecology and Systems Analysis (WaCASA), a
cluster of three chair groups in plant and animal sciences. Clustering systems research in plant
and animal sciences allows WaCASA members to strengthen and further develop the domain of
systems analysis in agricultural production and help solve complex sustainability problems global food security, climate change, water scarcity, depletion of fossil fuels and phosphorus, and
achieving respectful animal production - we are facing today.
Further information
A detailed research proposal and additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from:
 dr ir Simon J. Oosting, Animal Production Systems Group, phone +31 317 484594
[email protected] Information about the hosting chair group Animal Production Systems can
be found at the website of APS (
You can apply till July 27th 2012 and use the website
For further information about working at Wageningen UR, take a look at
Acquisition regarding this vacancy is not appreciated.
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