PhD student In Ovo Sexing of Chicken Embryos

Are you a motivated, highly driven and ambitious researcher who wants to investigate rapid sex detection of incubated chicken eggs and contribute to the benefits of poultry welfare and health? Do you like to collaborate with other researchers from different scientific fields and countries, as well as with industrial partners? Then this is your chance!

You as PhD student will study and develop innovative methods for developing a solution for determining sex of embryos from chicken. The project aims to address the development of an objective, quantitative rapid method for identifying relevant biomarkers, using spectroscopy and image analysis techniques for sex identification from chicken embryos at an early stage of development.

You will be part of the Research department of HatchTech, which at this moment consists of four persons. HatchTech’s research team investigates the requirements of the chicken embryo during the incubation process, accurate ways to sex the chick, and early life of the chick. The final goal is to implement the gained knowledge in procedures or products that contribute to the improvement of health and performance of chickens.

PhD training will happen in the Adaptation Physiology chair group of the Wageningen University and Research. This is a multidisciplinary group with approximately 15 staff members, 20 PhD students, and 8 technicians.

PhD Project

You will be responsible for the PhD Project that will be carried out in close collaboration with the Adaptation Physiology Group of Wageningen University and Research. During approximately the first 2 months you will be introduced to the research and business of HatchTech. Afterwards, you will work for 4 days a week on the PhD project that will lead to a doctoral dissertation. During the other 8 hours you will participate in and contribute to research activities of the other ongoing research projects within HatchTech. It is an ambitious trajectory, and it is important to be flexible, but stick to your tight PhD planning as well.

The aim of the PhD project is to obtain more knowledge about

The objectives of this study are:

  • To collect and analyze spectral data of biomarkers related to gonad development of embryos.
  • To integrate biochemical and genetic assays and correlate to quantitative imaging data.
  • To develop a biomolecular detection assay system, using machine learning methods.

Who are you

  • An MSc degree in Animal Sciences, Biology, Veterinary Science or Biomedical/Biological Engineering or a similar background with affinity to image processing and spectroscopy
  • An interest and preferably experience in the use of quantitative models in research in biology or agriculture
  • A profound interest in both fundamental research on bioanalytical methods as well as applied research on development of tools that are valuable in poultry farming
  • An interest in application of biomolecular analysis and image processing
  • A pro-active, independent work style and enthusiasm for multidisciplinary research
  • Willingness and ability to rapidly assimilate interdisciplinary fields of knowledge from machine learning algorithms to image processing to biochemical assays for the purpose of development of rapid detection of sexing from chicken embryos.
  • Excellent communication skills and proficiency in English (both oral and written)
  • Ability to clearly communicate the bioengineering and scientific principles, design and bioanalysis within the research group
  • Are independent and have innovative ideas;
  • Live nearby Veenendaal or Wageningen.


HatchTech develops and sells innovative technology for hatcheries and chick transport. We support our customers with good service and ongoing coaching. Today we have more than 175 enthusiastic colleagues who make this possible. Our head office is located in Veenendaal (the Netherlands), and with offices in China and Ukraine, we support customers in more than 40 countries.

Whatever your role or specialty, by working at HatchTech you help make the world a better place. From researchers to engineers, salespeople to technicians – we are all innovators, with a common goal: to provide new solutions to critical problems and build a better future. As part of our goal to stimulate creativity and innovation, we encourage a positive, respectful work environment where all of our employees receive the support they need to perform at their best. Our solutions to realize in ovo sexing in chicken eggs fit perfectly within our goals of optimizing animal welfare and sustainability.

Wageningen University and Research delivers a substantial contribution to the quality of life. That’s our focus – each and every day. Within our domain, healthy food and living environment, we search for answers to issues affecting society – such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Of course, we don’t do this alone. Every day, 6,500 people work on ‘the quality of life’, turning ideas into reality, on a global scale. Could you be one of these people? We give you the space you need. For further information about the Adaptation Physiology Group, take a look at

Is this your job?

At HatchTech you will be able to contribute substantially to economically responsible, sustainable and animal- and human friendly production. What you do matters, on global scale. Want to join us?

Do you want more information?

For more information about this position, please contact Suresh Neethirajan, Associate Professor, +31 (0) 683432700  or Carla van der Pol, head of the Research Team of HatchTech or by e-mail: or

Do you want to apply?

With this particular vacancy, you can only apply via AcademicTransfer using the following link:

This vacancy will be listed up to and including 02 July 2021. We hope to schedule the first job interviews in July 2021.


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