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PhD- Researcher for monitoring and implementing Soil-Improving Cropping Systems - Belgium  

KU Leuven (company)


Posted on : 13 May 2017

Project Description

  • The overall aim of the EU-funded Soil Care project is to identify and evaluate promising soil improving cropping systems (SICS) and agronomic techniques increasing profitability and sustainability across scales in Europe. 
  • This project has 28 partners and includes 16 study sites across Europe covering different soil-climatic and socio-economic conditions. 
  • Available information from literature and long-term experiments will be analysed to develop a comprehensive methodology for assessing performance of cropping systems at multiple levels. 
  • Our contribution within this project is leadership and execution of Work package 5 (WP5). WP5 will implement and monitor the SICS that were selected by other working packages for testing in collaboration with stakeholders. Where possible already implemented SICS in long term experiments will also be monitored to assess longer-term effects. Intensive monitoring will continue for 2-3 years to assess performance under different weather conditions. 
  • We are responsible for the compilation of the database of all results from the 16 study-sites. 
  • This database needs to be analysed and should lead to novel insights and methodology for advice on soil-improving cropping systems including agronomic techniques for policy makers and farmers as well. 
  • Conclusions should be drawn for the long-term and short-term experiments on how to improve soils by appropriate cropping systems.

We are looking for an enthusiastic researcher with the following qualifications:
  • strongly motivated to obtain a PhD on a topi crelated to the project more in particular on soil-physical characteristic s(aggregate stability, impact of SICS on soil structure, root development, soil water retention and infiltration)
  • motivation to contribute to sustainable and effective soil-improving cropping systems and to work with farmers and field researchers as major stakeholders in different European countries
  • knowledge of soils and cropping systems; researc hand analysis methods for field experiments
  • degree of Master of Science in Bio-Science Engineering (major in "soil and water systems" or "crop production"), in Geography (major in "earth and climate" or "physicalgeography") or equivalent
  • keen to integrate in an international researc hteam and a broad European project with the willingness to travel on a regula rbasis within Europe and preparedness to execute field work at study sites
  • capable to present research results at project meeting sand conferences in English and to take part in demonstrations for stakeholders;
  • eager to publish in peer-reviewed journals and to deliver timely the required project reports in English.
  • preferable with basic skills or willing to learn database management and general ICT skills

The successful candidate will be offered a 2-year PhD grant that is renewable for another 2 years provided progress is satisfactory.