Postdoctoral fellow

Last application date
Aug 31, 2020 12:29
LA20 - Department of Environment
Employment category
Doctoral fellow
Limited duration
BSc, MSc and PhD in Mechtronics Engineering or Mechanical Engineering
Occupancy rate
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description

Addressing food security issues in the light of the rapid population growth is an increasingly important global challenge. More food will have to be produced in the next 50 years than has been over the past 10,000 years (2008 UN sustainable development forum). One way to achieve this is by managing farm resources site specifically using advanced technologies in precision agriculture. Precision agriculture technologies play an important role in addressing the conflict between producing more whilst operating within a sustainable framework.

A 12-month postdoctoral position is available in Precision Soil and Crop Engineering Group (Precision SCoRing:, within the Department of Environment, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering in Ghent University (UGent) in Belgium. We are looking for an enthusiastic mechatronics or mechanical engineer to work under a project titled: Towards Establishing a Centre of Site-specific Technology for Soil and Crop Management. The aim of the project is to establish a research platform combining cutting-edge soil and crop sensors, modelling and system control technology for managing farm resources (seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, water, and manure) site-specifically, with the final goal of establishing a precision agriculture centre in Flanders.

Your tasks will include designing and building new machinery and measurement systems and associated accessories and software. You will also be responsible for the integration of these systems onto various agricultural machinery (e.g., planters, fertiliser spreaders, manure injectors, tillage equipment) and a robotic platform to allow the control on farm input site specifically.

Other responsibilities include:

→ Assisting PhD and MSc students for field measurement, and design and implementation of new measurement or control systems.

→ Efficient mechanical design of the sensor and actuator platforms and machinery.

→ Submission of high quality publications in international scientific journals.

→ Link and integrate research of different PhD students in the Group as deemed appropriate.

→ Contribute to group activities as requested by your promoter that are within the remit of the role, the grant, and the associated grade. This may include:

1. Supporting the supervision of MSc and PhD students.

2. Contribution to teaching programs.

3. Contribute to the writing of research proposals to the EU and various national funding schemes.

4. Assist in attracting new partners/members and students to the group.

5. Provide guidance to other staff and students of the Department e.g., advise students on their progress and establish new research ideas.

Profile of the candidate

The candidate should fulfil the following requirements:

→ Have or will soon have a PhD degree in Mechatronics Engineering or Mechanical Engineering. Candidate with BSc and MSc in in Mechatronics Engineering or Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Agricultural Engineering are most welcome.

→ Skilled in efficient and advanced mechanical design.

→ Skilled in 3D-max and other mechanical CAD tools.

→ The candidate should have demonstrable knowledge in the use of basic engineering software and modelling languages, such as, MATLAB Toolbox, LabVIEW, DaisyLab, AutoCAD.

→ Basic knowledge in sensing technologies and measurement systems.

→ Knowledge of control theory, micro controllers and robotic technology.

→ A track record of publishing high-impact journal articles.

→ Working in interdisciplinary environments, good contextual understanding of agricultural systems and the ability to work in the field is desirable.

→ Possessing excellent project and time management skills to ensure that milestones and deliverables are achieved to time and to high quality.

→ The candidate should have a high level of proficiency in English sufficient to communicate effectively with colleagues and write papers and reports.

→ The candidate should be prepared to work in close collaboration with the supervising team as well as the PhD students working within the project, in the group or in the department.

→ Good practical problem solver / Ability to find appropriate solutions to academic and technical problems.

→ Ability to work as a member of a team within a dynamic research group.

We offer approx. €4346 (brut) per month based on a full-working week (38 hours), depending on relevant work experience, starting ASAP but not later than 1st October 2020. This might be extended by 1 year, after satisfactory first year performance. Only a limited amount of work experience can be taken into account.

The postdoc will have the opportunity to work within a stimulating research environment within the Precision SCoRing Group with interdisciplinary team comprising of mechatronics engineers, electrical engineers, control engineers, agricultural engineers, soil scientists, agronomists and data mining experts, where many international collaborations are foreseen.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted by 31 st August, 2020, enclosing the following documents:

→ A cover letter outlining your academic interests, research experience and reasons for wishing to work on this project

→ Detailed CV and publication record

→ Two reference letters from academic workers

→ Your PhD degree or an interim document if you are still finishing your PhD

→ Verified transcripts of your MSc and BSc degrees

Applications need to be submitted via email with subject ‘Postdoc under Odysseus project’ to project promoter Prof. Abdul Mouazen (E-mail: ).