Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fully funded 5 PhD studentships in Precision Agriculture

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.
Fully funded 5 PhD scholarships in Precision Agriculture are available in Precision Soil and Crop Engineering Group (SiTeMan), within the Department of Soil Management, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering in Ghent University (UGent) in Belgium. We are looking for top MSc students, to work as PhD candidates under a recently funded project by the Flemish Scientific Research (FWO) under the Odysseus I call for proposal 2016, 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.
The following 5 PhD projects are available under this project:
  1. Site specific fertilisation.
  2. Site specific manure injection.
  3. Site specific pesticide applications.
  4. Site specific soil compaction management.
  5. Site specific seed rate management.
We are looking for top students with a MSc degree obtained between September 2017 and not earlier than September 2014. Successful candidates will have the following responsibilities:
  • Run your PhD project and deliver the project results in a timely manner.
  • Submission of high quality publications in international journals.
  • Link and integrate with research project of the other PhD students under Odysseus project as deemed appropriate.
  • Contribute to group activities as requested by your promoters that are within the remit of the role and the grant, and the associated grade. This may include:
  1. Supporting and collaborating with MSc and PhD students.
  2. Contribution to teaching programmes if requested to do so. 
  3. Assist in other activates in the group as deemed necessary.

Profile of the candidate

The candidate should fulfil the following requirements:
  • Have or will soon have a MSc degree in Agriculture Engineering, Biosystems Engineering, Agronomy, Mechatronics Engineering or Mechanical Engineering.
  • Should have knowledge in the use of basic engineering software and modelling languages, such as, MATLAB Toolbox, LabVIEW, DaisyLab, AutoCAD, or C++…..
  • Desirable to have knowledge in sensing technologies, modelling and control theory.
  • Good contextual understanding of agricultural systems, precision agriculture and the ability to work in the field with agriculture machinery.
  • The candidate should have a high level of proficiency in English sufficient to communicate effectively with colleagues and write papers and reports.
  • 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.

Offer

  • We offer fully funded PhD positions starting between 1st November 2017 and 2nd January 2018. We offer approx. €23787 per year (€1982 per month) based on a full working week (38 hours).
  • Candidates 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 not latter that 30th September, 2017, enclosing the following documents:
  • Cover letter outlining your motivation, research and teaching experience.
  • Detailed CV and publication record.
  • Your MSc degree or an interim document if you are still finishing your MSc.
  • A verified transcript of your MSc and BSc degrees.
  • Indicate your interest in the above 5 PhD projects.
  • Two reference letters from academic members.
Applications should be submitted via email with subject ‘PhD scholarships under Odysseus project’ to project promoter Prof. Abdul Mouazen (E-mail: ).
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