PhD and postdoc vacancies

PhD and postdoc vacancies - Postharvest Group KU Leuven – Leuven – Belgium. The lab of Prof. Bart Nicolai consists of a team of young, dynamic and enthusiastic researchers that investigates the postharvest physiology of fruit and vegetables. We also develop novel storage technologies and devices to measure quality of fruit and vegetables. We offer a stimulating work environment for those who are interested in scientific research on the verge of fundamental and applied research, with a high relevance to making a more sustainable world. KU Leuven is a world-class university and ranked 35 on the Times Higher Eduction World University Rankings.

* PhD position in novel control systems for postharvest storage of horticultural products
The objective of this PhD project is to develop a comprehensive systems model of dynamic controlled atmosphere storage of pome fruit. The model will be used to evaluate quality changes during different DCA strategies and develop and improve appropriate control strategies for practical implementation. Storage experiments in practical conditions are envisaged for validation and demonstration purposes.

* PhD in NIR spectroscopy and big data analysis for precision horticulture
Your task is to develop a system for the acquisition of NIR-spectra of fruit in the orchard with a portable spectrophotometer, subsequent wireless transmission of the spectra, GPS data and other essential information, and storage in a cloud database. Based on this data you will develop a methodology for predicting optimal harvest dates. You will implement this into a web based software and app that can be consulted easily by farmers.

* PhD position in X-ray computed tomography techniques for agro-food imaging
The aim of this PhD is to develop and test flexible techniques that combine X-ray imaging technology with other techniques for internal quality assessment of horticultural products and other foods. This involves designing and constructing adequate imaging setups, programming control and image processing algorithms for automation, and supported by exploratory, calibration and validation experiments.

* Postdoc / PhD position in systems biology of oxygen sensing in pome fruit
Recently an oxygen sensor response system has been discovered in Arabidopsis thaliana. Based on our own transcriptomics study we have evidence that orthologous genes are expressed in apple fruit during postharvest storage under low oxygen conditions. The aim of your assignment is to investigate the signaling mechanisms initiated by the putative oxygen sensor in pome fruit in response to low oxygen conditions. Both PhD and postdoc candidates (2 years) are sollicited.

The lab ( is looking for a highly motivated PhD candidates that hold an MSc degree of an appropriate discipline and complies with the admission rules for a PhD position at the FWO
You are a team-player, have a critical mind, are willing to learn new techniques and can work accurately and independently. You are excited to work in the context of large research projects and communicate well with project partners.

The lab offers you a 4 year PhD position. The lab will support you in all aspects in order to successfully obtain a PhD degree and a proper scientific training. You will have opportunities to participate in national and international meetings, and establish your own network. You will have possibilities to gain experience in transferal skills.

For more information please contact prof. Bart Nicolai, tel.: +3216322375, mail:
Applications online at

postharvest physiology
Leuven (Belgium)