Topic

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


Background
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.

Contact

For more information please contact Prof.dr.ir Peter Groot Koerkamp (peter.grootkoerkamp@wur.nl),  Dr. Gert Kootstra (gert.kootstra@wur.nl) or Ruurd Jorritsma (r.jorritsma@uu.nl).

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