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Geostatistics PHD Program

We are looking for a PhD student that employs advanced geostatistical methods for spatial interpolation of soil and agronomic variables. Bayesian (hierarchical) geostatistical modelling has recently been developed for spatial prediction of environmental variables using multiple sources of information, such as point observations, spatially exhaustive covariates, legacy data sets and maps, and output of mechanistic models. Bayesian geostatistics is attractive because it can accommodate a broad category of problems and is perfectly suited for handling multiple sources of information. So far there have been very few applications in soil science and agronomy, while it has much potential for digital soil mapping and yield gap mapping.

The successful applicant will: 1) become an expert in Bayesian hierarchical geostatistics, both from a statistical and software-implementation perspective; 2) extend Bayesian geostatistics so that it can handle spatial scale differences between observations and predictions; 3) apply Bayesian geostatistics to digital soil mapping in the Netherlands (updating parts of the 1:50, 000 scale Dutch soil map, and Africa (produce 3D soil property maps for focus countries of the AfSIS project, 4) apply Bayesian geostatistics to scale up yield gap information collected at experimental farms and sites to serve the global yield gap atlas Field visits to case study areas for collection of validation data are anticipated.


We ask for a candidate with an MSc degree or equivalent in statistics, soil science, agronomy or environmental sciences. The successful candidate must have a proven affinity with application of statistical methods in the earth and environmental sciences, and must not be afraid to dig into the statistical details. At the same time, he or she must be motivated by real-world applications of statistical methods. We also expect a very good level of English, experience with computer programming (preferably R), strong communication skills and ability to work in a team.


We offer a fulltime employment (38 hours per week) as PhD researcher within the Soil Geography and Landscape group for 18 months with a possible extension of 30 months after a positive evaluation. The gross salary will increase from € 2083 per months in the first year up to € 2664 per month in the fourthe year (based on fulltime employment). In addition, we offer a holiday bonus of 8% and an eind-of-year bonus of 8.3% of your annual salary.

Dienstverband: Temporary, Onbekend


Wageningen UR

This PhD project is a cooperation between the Soil Geography and Landscape group of Wageningen University, ISRIC - World Soil Information and the Soil Geography team of Alterra.

The Soil Geography and Landscape group of Wageningen University aims to contribute to sustainable soil management in a landscape context. Our mission is to improve and share understanding of patterns and dynamics of soils and landscapes. We take an integrative approach that combines biophysical and human elements to gain insights in past, present and future system dynamics and to support sustainable land management.

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What is PhD program?

A doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree is the highest level of educational attainment particular to a specific field of study.

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