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Vacancy: PhD Coffee and colorectal cancer prognosis

This vacancy has been recommended by the WUR.  width=

Are you interested in cancer research and do you want to work on the question whether and how coffee consumption could impact prognosis of patients with large bowel cancer? Are you keen on working with epidemiological data, metabolomics, microbiota and imaging data? Do you want to work in an ambitious and international research group with a leading role in the field of nutrition and cancer? We are looking for you!

You will work on a 4-year research project funded by the World Cancer Research Fund (WKOF) and World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) International. The project focuses on whether and how coffee consumption is associated with clinical outcomes in patients with large bowel cancer. We will collaborate with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon (France) and the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam (the Netherlands). The location of the PhD-position is (primarily) at Wageningen University.

The aim of the PhD project is to improve our understanding of coffee consumption in relation to health outcomes in patients with large bowel cancer. Data from the COLON study (link internet page), an ongoing prospective study including data from about 2,300 people diagnosed with large bowel cancer will be used. Coffee consumption will be studied using food frequency questionnaire data and advanced metabolomics data. Next to epidemiological analyses, we will specifically focus on potential mechanisms that may explain observed associations. We will do this by studying data on coffee consumption and coffee-related compounds in blood in relation to 1) prognostic clinical outcomes, 2) liver fat content based on images of computed tomography scans, 3) side-effects and complications of treatment, and (4) faecal microbiota composition. More information can be found here: (link to webpage)

As PhD-student, you will be involved in the conduct and coordination of the COLON study together with the research team. In addition, you will be responsible for collection of clinical data in the participating hospitals, processing and analyses of computed tomography scans (for liver fat content) and analysis and interpretation of microbiota and metabolomics data. You will process and analyse the collected data, and will present the results in scientific papers, in a PhD-thesis and at (inter)national conferences. Next to that, you will be involved in education, and will have the opportunity to develop your own skills and competences through courses and seminars.

The research is embedded within the chair Nutrition and Disease (link internet page), which is led by Prof.. Ellen Kampman (link WUR page). You will be co-supervised by Dr. Kok (link WUR page) and Dr. van Duijnhoven (link WUR page).


  • a successfully completed MSc degree in (bio)medical sciences, nutrition & health, or a comparable academic degree;
  • excellent Dutch and English language proficiency (a minimum of CEFR C2 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special
    language page
  • Proven experience with epidemiological data analyses;
  • Experience with or strong interest in metabolomics (data) analyses;
  • A keen interest in the different (multidisciplinary) research areas covered in the project;
  • flexibility and motivation to work in this (international) collaborative project.

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • There is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.434,- per month rising to € 3.111,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU)(scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the Best University in the Netherlands for the 16th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research’s International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

Do you want more information?
For more information about this position, please contact Prof. dr. Ellen Kampman, Chair Nutrition and Disease, telephone 0317-482589 or by e-mail:

For more information about the procedure, please contact Rutger Voorrips, Recruiter, by email:

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including 9th of January 2022. We hope to schedule the first job interviews on 17th of January 2022. The preferred starting date for this position is before 1st of April 2022.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a inclusivity page.

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, 6,800 employees and 12,900 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.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

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