Postdoctoral Position in Precision Agriculture

Last application date
Oct 14, 2018 14:10
Department
LA20 - Department of Environment
Contract
Limited duration
Degree
PhD in Mechatronics Engineering, Agriculture Engineering (not agronomy), Biosystems Engineering or Mechanical Engineering
Occupancy rate
100%
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 3-year postdoctoral position is available in Precision Soil and Crop Engineering Group (SiTeMan), within the Department of Environment, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering in Ghent University (UGent) in Belgium. We are looking for an enthusiastic young engineer to work under a recently funded project by the Flemish Scientific Research (FWO) under the Odysseus I call for proposal, with a total budget of €3.5 M: 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. You will be responsible for leading the SiteMan Group’s engineering research towards the design and implementation of precision agriculture technologies. This will include design and building new measurement systems and associated accessories and software, using advanced optical, geophysical and electrochemical sensing infrastructure. You will also be responsible for the integration of these novel measurement systems onto various agricultural machinery (e.g., planters, fertiliser spreaders, manure injectors, tillage equipment) 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.
  • 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 programmes.
  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, Agriculture Engineering (not agronomy), Biosystems Engineering or Mechanical Engineering.
  • The candidate should have demonstrable knowledge in the use of basic engineering software and modelling languages, such as, MATLAB Toolbox, LabVIEW, DaisyLab, AutoCAD, C++…..
  • Basic knowledge in sensing technologies and measurement systems.
  • Advance knowledge of control theory and robotic technology.
  • Basic knowledge in data fusion and modelling tools is preferable.
  • 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.

Job Offer:

  • We offer a 3-year full-time postdoc position (1,0 fte), starting ASAP but not later than 1st January 2019. This will consist of 12 months initial period, to be extended by 2 years, after satisfactory first year performance. We offer approx. €4156 per month based on a full working week (38 hours) and depending on relevant work experience. 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 SiTeMan Group with interdisciplinary team comprising of agricultural engineers, soil scientists, agronomists and data mining experts, where many international collaborations are foreseen.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted by 14th October, 2018, enclosing the following documents:

  • 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 work
  • Your PhD degree or an interim document if you are still finishing your PhD
  • A verified transcript of your MSc and BSc degrees

Applications need to be submitted via email with subject ‘Postdoc 1 under Odysseus project’ to project promoter Prof. Abdul Mouazen (E-mail: abdul.mouazen@ugent.be). For an informal discussion regarding this position, please contact project leader Abdul Mouazen, Prof. in Precision Soil and Crop Engineering via Email: abdul.mouazen@ugent.be or Tel: +32 9 264 6037.