A PhD grant is avail­able for the top­ic of “Com­put­er vision for auto­mat­ic cow dis­ease detec­tion and deci­sion sup­port for farm­ers”

The demand for ani­mal pro­tein, both fish and dairy, is increas­ing in Indone­sia. Both sec­tors are there­fore look­ing to increase their pro­duc­tion, while the avail­abil­i­ty of land and fresh­wa­ter is lim­it­ed. There­fore, in
order to increase pro­duc­tion with­out fur­ther pres­sure on land and water, cur­rent pro­duc­tion sys­tems need to be more sus­tain­able in terms of pro­duc­tion, envi­ron­men­tal impact and resource use effi­cien­cy.
There is how­ev­er cur­rent­ly a lack of ade­quate lon­gi­tu­di­nal data to deter­mine how this objec­tive can be achieved.

Smart farm­ing in dairy and fish sys­tems is suit­ed to col­lect data in a lon­gi­tu­di­nal man­ner and to eval­u­ate the cur­rent pro­duc­tion sys­tems and can help to improve ani­mal pro­duc­tion in Indone­sia. Using this
data, risk fac­tors and man­age­ment issues that block sus­tain­able pro­duc­tion will be iden­ti­fied. The col­lect­ed infor­ma­tion will be pro­vid­ed back to farm­ers through tech­nolo­gies such as apps to aid them to
improve on-farm pro­duc­tion effi­cien­cy.

PhD top­ic
This project focus­es on the devel­op­ment of meth­ods for the auto­mat­ic detec­tion and diag­no­sis of cow dis­eases on the farm. The goal is to enable farm­ers in Indone­sia to use their mobile phone for health diag­no­sis and deci­sion sup­port for treat­ment and pre­ven­tion.

In the PhD research, you will devel­op a com­put­er-vision algo­rithm using deep learn­ing to clas­si­fy the health of a cow based on images tak­en with a mobile phone. The algo­rithm needs to be trained on a large set of train­ing sam­ples of healthy and dis­eased cows at var­i­ous farms. Next, you will devel­op a deci­sion-sup­port sys­tem that pro­vides a diag­no­sis of the dis­ease as well as a sug­ges­tion for a treat­ment. The devel­oped method should be robust to vari­a­tions at dif­fer­ent farms with dif­fer­ent illu­mi­na­tion con­di­tions and using dif­fer­ent mobile phones. More­over, the method should be able to deal with dif­fer­ent cow species. Final­ly, the devel­oped sys­tem should be test­ed in a large-scale exper­i­ment at mul­ti­ple farms.

You will work close­ly togeth­er with oth­er PhD stu­dents and super­vi­sors with a back­ground in ani­mals and vet­eri­nar­i­an sci­ence to set up a rep­re­sen­ta­tive dataset and to eval­u­ate the devel­oped sys­tem. Expect­ed out­comes are an auto­mat­ic dis­ease detec­tion and deci­sion sup­port sys­tem and four pub­li­ca­tions in inter­na­tion­al sci­en­tif­ic jour­nals.

Required back­ground
• A MSc degree in arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, bio-sys­tems engi­neer­ing, com­put­er sci­ence, or any oth­er relat­ed dis­ci­pline
• Proven expe­ri­ence with com­put­er vision and with qual­i­ta­tive and quan­ti­ta­tive research meth­ods
• Excel­lent oral and writ­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills in Eng­lish
• Pas­sion for doing research with farm­ers and oth­er stake­hold­ers
• Enthu­si­asm in work­ing in an inter­na­tion­al and inter­dis­ci­pli­nary team and in two coun­tries (Indone­sia and the Nether­lands)

Fur­ther infor­ma­tion
The PhD will be obtained from Wagenin­gen Uni­ver­si­ty, the Nether­lands. The research will be divid­ed between Indone­sia (30 months) and Wagenin­gen Uni­ver­si­ty, the Nether­lands (18 months). Research costs
includ­ing visa, trav­el costs for trav­el­ling with­in the project, and costs asso­ci­at­ed with data col­lec­tion are cov­ered by the project. For the peri­od in Wagenin­gen, a grant is avail­able to cov­er salary costs. Salary costs in Indone­sia are not cov­ered in the project, so we have a strong pref­er­ence for can­di­dates that can sup­port them­selves or are sup­port­ed by their employ­er. How­ev­er, in the cir­cum­stance where a can­di­date is unable to find this sup­port but has out­stand­ing cre­den­tials, the project team will con­sid­er sup­port­ing him or her dur­ing their research time in Indone­sia.

In order to be admit­ted to the Wagenin­gen Uni­ver­si­ty PhD pro­gramme, select­ed can­di­dates will have to go through the admis­sion pro­ce­dure. A proven suf­fi­cient lev­el of Eng­lish pro­fi­cien­cy as indi­cat­ed by an IELTS score of 6.5 (with a min­i­mum of 6.0 for speak­ing) is required.
Next to this posi­tion, four oth­er PhD posi­tions (with dif­fer­ent top­ics) are open in the project. Of these five posi­tions, three will be sup­port­ed by an LPDP schol­ar­ship. The LPDP schol­ar­ship is a per­son­al grant that
will cov­er all salary costs, both in Indone­sia and in The Nether­lands. Select­ed can­di­dates are encour­aged to enrol in the LPDP schol­ar­ship appli­ca­tion. They will have to go through an addi­tion­al pro­ce­dure to
com­pete for the LPDP grant.


For more infor­ma­tion please con­tact Peter Groot Koerkamp (,  Dr. Gert Koot­stra ( or Ruurd Jor­rits­ma (

To show your inter­est, please sub­mit your CV and a let­ter of moti­va­tion before August 23, 2020, to Ms Miran­da Tap ( with sub­ject “Appli­ca­tion for SmartI­nAg PhD2”.