PhD Position for Indonesian, Biofuel Research, Wageningen University, Netherlands

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PhD position, Plant Production Systems in ‘JARAK: the commoditization of an alternative biofuel crop in Indonesia’ at the Plant Production Systems Group and Agrosystems Research Department of Plant Research International, part of Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Netherlands in cooperation with the Research Center for Natural Resources and Biotechnology (IPB), Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia.

PhD Project:
Growth, Development and Production of Jatropha Curcas in Indonesia.

Although heavily promoted for its many advantageous properties, there is little scientifically- sound information available on the growth, development and production of the Jatropha curcas under different environmental circumstances and in different production systems. As it is essentially a wild species lacking clearly distinguished varieties, the use of different jatropha accessions gives a wide variety of growth and development patterns, leading to unpredictable growth and yields, and sometimes unwanted situations. This is caused by the complex interactions between Genotype (G) x Environment (E) x Management (M), which must be unraveled to fully understand the production potentials in order to understand the true value and applicability of jatropha in different production systems. The different environmental and socio-economic settings determine the (design of) optimal production systems for jatropha, and govern the efficiency of resource use (radiation, water, soil fertility). The aims of this PhD research are the acquirement of those plant parameters that describe growth and development patterns of jatropha production systems in Indonesia and to optimize seed yield per unit of land and/or unit of labour in specific production systems.

Starting date: ASAP after recruitment latest 1st August 2010.

This is a PhD position in the program `JARAK: the commoditization of an alternative biofuel crop in Indonesia`. The program comprises research on policy, legislation, technical crop qualities and production possibilities, and socio-economic impact of Jatropha cultivation in Indonesia and is part of a broader research program funded by NWO and KNAW on `Agriculture beyond Food`. The program includes 6 projects carried out by four PhD researchers and two Post-Doc researchers from Indonesia and the Netherlands. JARAK is an interdisciplinary research program of 5 Dutch academic institutes with their Indonesian partner institutes. Three other PhD researchers in the JARAK program are based at Leiden University (Van Vollenhoven Institute, Law Faculty, and the Institute of Cultural Anthropology , Social Science Faculty) and at Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta.


  • To engage in supervised scientific research that will ultimately result in a doctoral thesis;
  • To carry out a systematic literature analysis related to the relevant PhD;
  • To conduct field research in Indonesia;
  • To prepare and submit research output for publication in peer-reviewed international scientific journals;
  • To participate in the C.T. de Wit Graduate school in Wageningen.


  • Master degree in plant sciences, with demonstrated interest in statistics, agro-climatics;
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills in English (minimal score see below);
  • Demonstrated research experience;
  • Ability and willingness to carry out field research for extended periods in Indonesia;
  • Willingness to stay in the Netherlands for desk study and writing;
  • Openness towards interdisciplinary research methods and approaches;
  • Ability to work in a team;
  • Full time availability for four years because the thesis should be finished and defended at the end of the cluster period December 2014;
  • Indonesian nationality;

The successful applicant will be awarded a research fellowship under NUFFIC conditions for 4 years, with continuation dependent upon an evaluation after 12 months The fellowship consists of a 6 month period in Wageningen at the start of the project, followed by an extended period of field work and a final period to write papers and submit the thesis in Wageningen. Details of the stipend and terms of the fellowship can be obtained on demand.

Application and Selection procedure

Applicants should submit an application by April 20 2010. Applications should be sent to jarakphd3@gmail. com addressed to Dr Maja Slingerland and Dr Sony Suharsono with the subject: `Application JARAK PhD position Indonesia`. Three selected candidates will be invited for interviews in April 2010. Final selection first week of May. Starting in the Netherlands: August 1st 2010.

In order to apply, the applicant must submit the following:

  • An up-to-date curriculum vitae;
  • the MA thesis or other major writing sample;
  • an academic transcript;
  • name and contact details of two referees;
  • a short research proposal of up to three pages, including a letter of motivation.

Further information
More information on the the JARAK program can be obtained from Dr. Jacqueline Vel: More information about this specific PhD project can be obtained by or

Scores needed to prove Excellent English writing and presentation skills:
IELTS: 6.5 , with a minimum of 6.0 for each (academic) module.
TOEFL: 580 points for the written TOEFL, 237 points for the computer based TOEFL and 92-93 points for the Internet based TOEFL. All are to be supplemented by results of the Test of Written English (academic TWE). The minimum score required for this test is 5.0.
Submitted test results must be dated within 24 months prior to an application to the PhD Programme.

More information PhD trajectories at Wageningen University:

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the above information is current and correct. However, applicants should contact the appropriate administering body before making an application, as details do change frequently.


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