Postdoc position at Wageningen University & Research (WUR): Next-level machine-learning for animal behaviour research

Postdoc position at Wageningen University & Research (WUR): Next-level machine-learning for animal behaviour research


Job Description


Job Title:
Postdoc position : Next-level machine-learning for animal behaviour researchb
Accountable to:

Experimental Zoology Group

Responsible for Wageningen University
Appointment: for 2 years initially, with a possibility for extension up to 3 years
salary of between € 2.790,- and € 4.402,- for a full-time working week

Location Wageningen, Netherlands

Overview of the University of Wageningen University:
The mission of Wageningen University and Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 6.500 employees and 12.500 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

These are the points our employees list as good reasons to come work at WUR: read the 5 reasons to come work at WUR.

Overview of the project:
Are you a postdoc-level candidate and passionate about applying machine-learning to understanding animal behaviour? Then this could be the right opportunity for you! 

The WUR Animal Sciences Group (ASG) focuses on finding answers to major societal challenges, including those related to animal welfare, human and animal health, food security, climate change and biodiversity. ASG has launched the ambitious innovation program Next Level Animal Sciences aimed at developing innovative next-generation methodologies to address emerging challenges in our domain. As part of this initiative, we are looking for an outstanding postdoc to join our interdisciplinary Next Level Animal Sciences team. This postdoc will focus on the development and application of novel machine-learning methods for animal behaviour research.
Animal behaviour is highly complex and depends on a wide range of both external cues (landscape, food, predators, weather, interactions with conspecifics and allospecifics) and internal determinants (genes, age, illness, microbiome, past experiences). Therefore, understanding behaviour requires the integration of a diverse (and often incomplete) set of observables. Within this project, you will develop and use next-generation machine-learning techniques for studying the complex mechanisms underlying animal behaviour.
Your work will be two-fold. You will establish a set of machine-learning tools that can be broadly applied for next-level animal science research. Together with colleagues from ASG, you will apply these tools to various experimental data sets, ranging from crawling worms in a petri dish, to flying insects in a wind tunnel, and to roaming animals in the wild. The position offers manifold interactions with the diverse groups across the animal science department, including researchers from Marine Research (, Host-Microbe Interactomics (, Bioveterinary Research (, and Experimental Zoology (,


We seek a candidate who

• has a PhD in artificial intelligence, computational biology, (bio-) informatics, (bio-) physics, applied mathematics, or another relevant research field;
• has a passion for developing and/or applying computational approaches and specifically machine learning to complex data such as image and video data;
• has an interest in animal behavioural research, and preferably experience in it;
• Thrives in a team-based interdisciplinary research environment, on an internationally competitive level;
• has proven computational skills (including proficiency in relevant data science software languages) and experience in machine learning applications;
• has excellent communication skills in English, both speaking (incl. presenting) and writing with a minimal proficiency level CEFR C2. For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page.

Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate their experience with concrete examples from their work in and outside academia.

Application Process 

We offer a position of two years, with a possible extension to three years. Additional information can be found at the WUR vacancy page. This vacancy will be listed up to and including June 18th 2021.