Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) "Planning, coordination and control of complex robotic systems in the agri-food domain"

Research / Academic

Are you an ambitious researcher that loves to work on cutting-edge robotic technologies that contribute to sustainable agri-food production? Are you a team player that loves to work in a multidisciplinary field? Then this position might be for you!

We invite applications for the position of assistant professor entitled: “Planning, coordination and control of complex robotic systems in the agri-food domain’’.

Population growth, climate change, resource depletion and soil degradation are placing huge challenges on agriculture. With this position we aim to further invest in and contribute to the sustainable food and biomass production and thus UN Sustainable Development Goals. Central in agri-food robotics is to translate sensor information into an autonomous action, by deploying in colloquial terms a ‘sense, plan, act paradigm’. Beyond sensing and perception, a field that has quite some attention in this application domain already, planning, coordination and control of (multiple) robots proves to be a serious and less addressed challenge in agri-food robotics. The cluttered, not well structured working environment with uncertainty in position and orientation of target objects and obstacles, as well as occlusion of target objects are key operational challenges for robotic systems. Typical examples of such challenges are planning and control of robot arms to safely harvest fruits, planning of a mobile robot to cover a field, planning and control of a team of aerial and ground robots to efficiently inspect an orchard. The TT in this position will contribute by mobilizing and extending existing mathematical robot planning, coordination and control schemes. Deploying recent advances in AI and machine learning relevant to this planning, coordination and control challenge is foreseen as well.

The position of assistant professor (Tenure Track) in complex robotic systems in the agri-food domain is financed the Dutch sector plan in Engineering, and positioned in the Agricultural Biosystems Engineering group (before Farm Technology Group) of Wageningen University & Research. You will closely collaborate with Prof. Eldert van Henten and Dr. Gert Kootstra, both active and leaders in sensing, modelling and automation of smart agri-food production systems. We expect you work in various application domains, ranging from open field agriculture, greenhouse horticulture, livestock farming systems and food processing. Typical challenges are the harvesting of fruits, advanced plant/weed manipulation, and sorting and packaging. Mutual collaborations amongst colleagues and researchers in the field are central to success.

We expect you to develop your research profile and acquire funding for (PhD and postdoc) projects, and supervise PhD students. Besides your research tasks you will be involved in educational activities, like lecturing, course coordination, and supervision of BSc and MSc students of the biosystems engineering program. When successful your initial temporary contract will be extended to a tenured position within the Farm Technology Group of WUR.


For this tenure-track position, we are searching an enthusiastic result-driven candidate with:

  • a PhD within, or closely related to, the field of systems and control, robotics and/or artificial intelligence;
  • proven skills and experience in application of planning and machine coordination algorithms, (adaptive) control and/or AI or machine learning, and use of related software languages;
  • oral and written proficiency in English;
  • experience with course teaching and willingness to further develop your didactical skills, amongst others in supervision of Bachelor’s and Master’s thesis research projects;
  • a genuine interest in the challenges of robotics in the agricultural domain;
  • proven performance in scientific publishing (by publications in high-impact journals and conference proceedings), and strong ambition to publish future work;
  • a team player who can work independently and develop a team on this topic within our group and at the same time is willing communicate and collaborate with colleagues inside and outside the group;
  • leadership and project acquisition skills will be an advantage.

Salary Benefits:

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will be offered a fixed-term, 7 year contract which, upon positive evaluation based on criteria elaborated in the University's Tenure Track policy, can lead to a permanent employment contract as professor. Depending on your experience, we offer a competitive gross salary of between € 4.332,- and € 5.929,- for a full-time working week of 38 hours in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale 11).

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 18th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.
Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.

Work Hours:

38 hours per week