(Closed) Research assistant / PhD candidate: Land Degradation & Land Potential modelling

Application Deadline: 1st of May 2022
Possible start date: 1st of July 2022
Duration: 3.5+ years,
Job location: Agro Business Park 10, Wageningen
Bruto monthly salary: starting at €2.434 gross per month (with possible bonuses)
Job type: research assistant
Fields: geocomputation, environmental sciences, Earth observation, data science, high performance computing
Employer: OpenGeoHub foundation

Job description

OpenGeoHub foundation is a not-for-profit research foundation with headquarters at the Agro Business Park, Wageningen, the Netherlands. We aim to become world experts in producing global and regional spatial predictions of soil, vegetation and climatic variables. For this, we use high performance computing/optimization and state-of-the-art machine learning. 

OpenGeoHub foundation is looking for a junior researcher / PhD candidate in the field of geo-computation and geoinformatics (programming in R, Python, Bash,  Julia and similar), specifically focused on using state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms and GIS software to help implement land degradation and land potential modeling frameworks for the purpose of producing regional and global datasets and data services. You would work for OpenGeoHub on current and future European Commission-funded and other international projects where there is a need to develop new solutions for geocomputing, optimize and automate modeling frameworks and deliver scientific outputs in a timely manner. You would primarily contribute to the Horizon Europe project Open-Earth-Monitor (2022–2026); actively contribute to the and data portals.

A formal program of PhD study will be organized jointly with the Laboratory of Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University and Research, and GFZ Helmholtz German Research Centre for Geosciences (prof. dr. Martin Herold). This implies that you would spend a significant amount of time writing and publishing research results in peer-reviewed journals, meeting with supervisors (bi-weekly), following PhD courses (organized through the PE&RC Postgraduate school) and networking with other researchers. You would have to prepare and submit a research proposal after 6 months from the start of the position, which would be evaluated at the PE&RC school level independently.

You would also be encouraged to network with other researchers and groups world leaders in their fields. OpenGeoHub works closely with IIASA (, Wageningen University (Laboratory of Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing), EURAC Research, ETH (Tom Crowther’s Lab), The Woodwell Climate Research Center, Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry (Biogeochemical Integration Department), Institute for Geoinformatics (ifgi) / University of Münster, GFZ Helmholtz German Research Centre for Geosciences,, and many other organizations. Our clients / collaborating organizations also include: The Nature Conservancy, UNCCD, World Resources Institute, Conservation International and others.

Are you looking for an academic career in DeepTech, Data Science and Earth Observation aiming to help solve global environmental problems?

Your profile

Minimum requirements:

  • You have an MSc degree in the field of environmental science and/or geoinformatics and/or remote sensing; combined with a background in GIS, geocomputation, environmetrics and/or pedometrics.
  • You have minimum coding & geocomputing skills in programming languages such as Bash, R, and/or Python.
  • You are familiar with OSGeo tools especially GDAL, QGIS and similar.
  • You are competent at, and enjoy developing computational notebooks, debugging and problem solving using code.
  • You have a high affinity to learn and teach / share knowledge across borders.
  • You are fluent in English.

Note: for non-EU citizens, the Dutch Immigration rules from 2022 indicate minimum conditions for a work and residence permit for the Netherlands.



Questions regarding this position can be directed to Tom Hengl, email:  

Applications, including: (1) a CV, (2) a statement of your interest and vision, and (3) self-assessment based on the minimum requirements, should be uploaded via this link. Please prepare all documents as a PDF before starting the application. 

Our offer:

We offer a full-time position for 3.5 years, with possible extension, within a very stimulating international innovation and research environment aiming at solving global and regional environmental problems at large scales. You will work in a dynamic work environment with enthusiastic colleagues usually from a variety of countries.

  • Starting salary will be: €2.434 gross per month with possible bonuses;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary;
  • Minimum of 29 holidays if in full-time employment;
  • Professional and personal development programs.

We strongly encourage a high degree of responsibility and independence, while collaborating with other colleagues. Flexi-hours and occasional remote working are also possible upon agreement with the OpenGeoHub Management Board.

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