Vacancy: PhD researcher: species mixtures on belowground biodiversity: direct and legacy effect

We are looking for

This post is a four-year PhD research position as part of the LegumeLegacy Doctoral Network. You will investigate the effect of grassland species mixtures on belowground biodiversity, both in the grassland phase (direct effect), but also in the follow-on crop (legacy effect). Additionally, the relation of soil biota with soil organic matter mineralisation and N availability for the follow-on crop (i.e. N build-up vs N availability as a function of soil activity) will be investigated.

The PhD Researcher will work closely with the other ten Doctoral Researchers hired in other countries on the LegumeLegacy project. The PhD Researcher will also undertake two mobility secondments, one at a research institute and one in industry to gain insight into the broader implications of their work and to develop their research and industry networks. There will be opportunities for the PhD Researcher to present their work at national and international conferences. Also there will be opportunities stakeholder interaction and involvement in farmer groups on the design and implementation within the crop rotation of these mixtures on farm.

We ask


  • The PhD Researcher must be an ‘early-stage researcher’, i.e., at the time of recruitment have not already been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • The PhD Researcher is required to undertake physical, transnational mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) to take up this appointment. The PhD Researcher must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in The Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years prior to their recruitment. Compulsory national service and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.

Qualifications and skills

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with the following qualifications:

  • An MSc degree in soil or plant sciences, agronomy, biology, ecology or related discipline;
  • Interest in sustainable crop production and biodiversity
  • Ability to think, express, write and communicate scientifically;
  • Strong quantitative skills;
  • Strong communication skills with an ability to collaborate within a multi-disciplinary and international research team.
  • For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level.

We offer

The salary for the post corresponds to the 2021 MSCA Doctoral Network funding model. The salary includes (all figures are gross pay per year before taxes and other deductions are made):

  • Living allowance of €44,716
  • Mobility allowance of €7,200
  • Family allowance (if eligible to receive) of €5,940

Thus the gross salary will range from €51,916 to €57,856 (depending on eligibility for the family allowance) per annum for four years; this is gross pay per year before taxes and other deductions are made. A special needs allowance is also available under certain conditions.

The PhD Researcher will be employed by the Louis Bolk Institute on a four-year fixed contract as a Researcher and will be registered at the graduate school of Production Ecology and Resource Conservation (PE&RC) at Wageningen University. Benefits of working at the Louis Bolk Institute include flexible working arrangement and pension.

Do you want to apply?

Please send your application to For more information regarding this post, you can contact Nyncke Hoekstra (

Each application should consist of two documents

  • Document 1 should include:
    • A maximum 1-page cover letter outlining your suitability for the post, with reference to relevant qualifications or experience;
    • Detailed curriculum vitae, including qualifications and experience, publications (if applicable) and the name and email contacts of two academic referees.
  • Document 2:
    • Please complete the LegumeLegacy eligibility form available here and convert to pdf before submission. 

The deadline for applications is 28 March 2023.

About the Louis Bolk Instituut

The Louis Bolk Institute is an independent research institute. We have developed knowledge on sustainable agriculture, human nutrition and health for over 45 years. These three subjects are strongly connected and require an integrated approach. We work on strengthening natural systems and processes, be it on farm, or in a region or neighbourhood. We do so in a participative manner, together with those involved and aimed at practical and applicable results. In this way, we are contributing to health and vitality, a resilient food system, and a climate-proof and sustainable physical environment for both people and nature.

LegumeLegacy Project Description

LegumeLegacy is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral Network titled ‘LegumeLegacy – Optimising multiple benefits of grass, legume and herb mixtures in crop rotations: modelling mechanisms and legacy effects’. It is funded under the Horizon-MSCA-DN-2021 programme. This project brings together Principal Investigators and collaborators from 14 academic and industry partners from across Europe and one Canadian partner. LegumeLegacy will hire and train 11 Doctoral Researchers and will implement a research programme aimed at improving the sustainability of farm-scale crop rotations. The role of multi-species grassland mixtures within crop rotations will be investigated in the search for solutions to develop lower nitrogen farming systems that will promote sustainable farming practices. The Doctoral Researchers will be located across Europe at partner institutions. The coordinating partner is Trinity College Dublin (Ireland). The hiring partners are Teagasc (Ireland), Devenish Research and Innovation Development Ltd. (Ireland), University of Reading (United Kingdom), the Louis Bolk Institute (the Netherlands), University of Aarhus (Denmark), University of Hohenheim (Germany), ETH Zurich (Switzerland), Agroscope (Switzerland) and Poznan University of Life Sciences (Poland). Other partners Goldcrop Ltd. (Ireland), Cotswold Seeds (United Kingdom), Wageningen University (the Netherlands), Danko (Poland) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Canada) will contribute to the research and training programme.

LegumeLegacy is a highly interdisciplinary collaboration bringing together experts in ecology, agronomy, plant breeding, animal nutrition and statistics. The LegumeLegacy Doctoral Researchers will carry out their own individual research projects and collaborate on a multi-site experiment conducted across the network. The Doctoral Researchers will undertake a world-class training programme developed and implemented by the LegumeLegacy collaborating experts and will meet twice per year to participate in joint training events. Each Doctoral Researcher will be expected to undertake two mobility secondments during their PhD facilitating them to develop a deep collaborative network during their PhD.

LegumeLegacy aims to lead the way in transforming productive agricultural crop rotation systems and the 11 Doctoral Researchers will be trained to emerge as the next generation of leading researchers in this field.