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PhD at IRD in collaboration with Phenospex


Functie omschrijving

You will have the unique opportunity to support the preservation of global food demand by investigating how plants adapt their canopy architecture in response to increased population density. The goal is to use this knowledge to improve plant breeding and to select for water saving traits. This project is a collaboration between IRD in Montpellier (France) which has extensive knowledge in plant science and breeding and Phenospex - a leader in the field of digital plant phenotyping tools.

At the IRD site in Montpellier (F) you will develop a concept on what plant features to measure and conduct experiments to capture the plant canopy using PlantEye, a cutting edge 3D multispectral sensor.

You will spend time at the Phenospex headquarters (Heerlen, NL) where the R&D team will support you with the development of algorithms and prototypes to extract relevant information (plant features) from 3D point clouds.

During the experiments in Montpellier you will also capture transpiration data from the plants using the Phenospex FieldScales. This data can be used to validate the hypothesis by comparing the plant feature data your algorithms and tools generate with the transpiration data. For this effort, machine learning knowledge is a plus but will only be applied when needed.

In more detail you will:

• develop a concept, algorithms and prototypes to characterize the canopy structure of cereals
• develop the capacity to measure traits characterizing the canopy architecture such as the leaf attachment angle or the vertical leaf area distribution in the canopy using 3D data point clouds generated from the 3D multispectral scanner
• test the hypothesis that canopy architecture may alter the canopy microclimate in a different way in different genotypes

This 3 year project will start in September 2021 and will be performed in close collaboration with

• Team CERES at UMR DIADE (F) where the phenotyping and plant biology experiments will be conducted, and
• Phenospex (NL) who is the provider of the unique PlantEye and where the software is developed.

Functie eisen

• Highly motivated individuals with a university degree (M.Sc. or equivalent) in computer vision / science or a related discipline
• Proficiency in Python (C++ would be an asset)
• Knowledge on the concepts of image analysis, ideally 3D
• Excellent analytical and organizational skills
• Experience in the plant biology domain would be a big plus.
• Ability to work independently in competitive, multidisciplinary international teams
• Very good English – verbal and written
• Valid EU work permit


What we offer:

• an inspiring working environment in a highly motivated international team
• exciting and cutting-edge technologies
• team events and flexible working hours as well as coffee, tea, fruit, table soccer and more fun stuff
• participation and lots of room for personal growth


Our work contributes to a world in which agriculture is done more efficiently and reduces the impact of food production on our planet. We develop and provide sensor technologies and analytics software specifically designed to assess crops worldwide. We help to automate the hardest jobs in plant science, plant breeding and in agriculture by offering solid and elegant solutions. We are an international team of around 25 people, coming from diverse backgrounds in, for example, plant science, agriculture, physics, computer vision and business and we love to solve challenging problems

Hoe te solliciteren

We look forward to receiving your application via e-mail to Please include a CV, a letter of motivation and all academic certificates.

Locatie vacature

Montpellier (F) and Heerlen (NL)



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