The Department of Plants and Crops at Ghent University is inviting applications for a PhD position. The full project focuses on bringing the entire production cycle of bread to Mars. The department’s contribution will focus on monitoring, modelling and optimising the growth, development, and ecophysiology of wheat, grown under controlled conditions, useful not only in space, but also for applications on Earth, such as urban vertical farming.

Tasks and responsibilities:
  • Develop an innovative 3-D plant model (functional-structural plant model or FSPM) for wheat.
  • Model the dynamic plant-climate interactions in fully controlled cultivation systems.
  • Apply the model to steer the growth, development, and ecophysiology of wheat towards a higher quality crop.
  • Use of large datasets obtained with plant sensors and manual measurements for modelling purposes.
  • Data analysis and interpretation.
  • Synthesis of research results in internal project reports.
  • Present results during national or international conferences, seminars and workshops.
  • Participation in a collaborative, interdisciplinary consortium, with highly motivated researchers and companies.
  • The candidate will work at the Laboratory of Plant Ecology under the supervision of Prof. Kathy Steppe


  • Applicant must hold Master’s degree in Bioscience Engineering, Engineering, Physics, Biology, or an equivalent relevant degree.
  • Highly motivated to conduct research.
  • Strong interest in plant functioning, plant-climate interactions, space farming and/or vertical farming.
  • Strong affinity with plants.
  • Knowledge of (3D) modelling, or highly motivated to learn this skill.
  • Mathematical and analytical mindset.
  • Organizational skills, and problem-solving, result-oriented attitude.
  • Excellent communication skills in English – both orally and written.
  • A team player who can work independently and has good communication skills.

How to apply:

  • Application has to be submitted electronically (in a single pdf-file) to including the following:
  • Motivation letter
  • CV
—————–Quick Overview————-
Organization Ghent University
Country Belgium
Fellowship Level Doctoral
Subject areas Bioscience Engineering, Engineering, Physics, Biology
Fellowship amount Varies
Eligibility Open to all nationalities
Deadline Sep 30, 2020

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