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Job - PhD Position 2020, Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands

Publish Date: Apr 01, 2020

Deadline: Apr 30, 2020

PhD candidate 'Improving low protein diets to prevent behavioural problems in pigs'

We are looking for

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate with a keen interest in understanding the relationship between nutrition and the behaviour of pigs.
There are strong environmental and economic incentives to increase the efficiency of conversion of  protein in diets for farm animals into edible products. It is a major scientific and societal challenge to obtain further progress in this field. In growing pigs, the reduction of the dietary protein concentration significantly contributes to this goal and thereby to the sustainability of animal production.
The inclusion of limiting, essential amino acids as feed additives in diets for livestock is generally considered to prevent dietary amino acid deficiencies in diets with reduced protein concentration. Recent research has shown, however, that lowering the protein concentration in diets for pigs can be at the expense of the capabilities of pigs to cope with their environment, and increases specific behavioural problems such as tail and ear biting. Outbreaks of these behaviours and the wounds they cause lead to stress, inflammation, infections, reduced growth and increased carcass condemnation and thus result in poor welfare and substantial economic losses. 
Acting within a Public Private Partnership (TKI Agri & Food), employed by Wageningen Livestock Research, you will work closely together with researchers from the Animal Nutrition and the Adaptation Physiology Groups of Wageningen University, Wageningen Livestock Research and with three private partners active in the animal nutrition sector. The consortium aims for developing applications of innovations to be applied in practice and transfer knowledge and innovations to the professionals in the feed industry. Within this project, we aim to 1) understand the relationship between the feeding of low-protein diets and the occurrence of damaging behaviours in pigs; 2) identify the potential of (groups of) amino acids when supplemented to the diet can reduce damaging behaviours in pigs; 3) explore the potential of in-feed and choice-fed amino acid supplementation approaches to supplement pigs via the diet with specific combinations of amino acids in periods following reduced growth, sickness or stress. 

We ask

For this challenging position we are looking for a candidate with the following qualifications:

  • MSc degree in Animal Sciences, specialization (Animal) nutrition, Adaptation Physiology, Behaviour or equivalent, affinity with pig production, nutritional biology and behaviour.
  • Intrinsic interest to independently search for answers to fundamental and applied research questions.
  • Capability to rapidly and sustainably obtain knowledge from different research domains and apply new research techniques.
  • Capacity to organize and plan field work efficiently and design experimental research.
  • Strong collaborative skills.
  • Stress resistant and with a flexible working attitude, allowing to successfully complete experimental work.
  • Excellent communication skills in English and Dutch, both oral and in writing.


We offer

We offer a PhD position for a period of 48 months which is divided over two periods: a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended with 30 months after successful evaluation. The preferred starting date is August 1, 2020. Gross salary will increase from € 2,325 per month in the first year up to € 2,972 in the last year, based on full-time employment (38 hours a week). You will enrol in the WIAS graduate school at Wageningen University, which offers a wide range of excellent career broadening and deepening courses. As this project is part of a broader industry collaboration, you will interact with and be able to learn from both academic and private sector professionals.

In addition, we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance and a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%.
  • Excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions.
  • Flexible working hours and vacations can in consultation with colleagues be settled.
  • An excellent pension scheme via ABP.
  • A flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave.
  • A choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan.
  • Sports facilities available on the campus.
  • A lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented and ample opportunities for own initiative in a creative learning environment.
  • A versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.


More information

You can apply for this position online until April 30, 2020.

  • Important: to apply, upload a 1-page CV and a 1-page motivation letter via the link below. All other formats and document content (e.g., longer CVs) will not be considered for the application process. Email applications will not be considered.
  • By uploading your CV and motivation letter you agree that this information - while kept strictly confidential - will be processed and stored by Wageningen University for the time span of the recruitment process.
  • Include the names and contact information of up to three references in your application; if possible add letters.
  • Selection will be made through structured skill-based review evaluation from CV and motivation letter. After selection for the shortlist, an (online) interview conducted by at least two people. Additional information may be requested for the (online) interview.

For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:


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