/Student project: Greenhouse plant monitoring with novel sensors

Student project: Greenhouse plant monitoring with novel sensors

Research & development - Wageningen | More than two weeks ago

Student project: Greenhouse plant monitoring with novel sensors

The goal of this project is to compare and assess which novel technologies are adequate for plant monitoring in greenhouse horticulture. 

What you will do

Food production is estimated to increase in the near future due to the increase of the global population. Therefore, without further improvements in efficiency, agriculture will become more damaging to the environment. In order to minimise the environmental impact of agriculture, various methods are being employed to decrease waste, minimise resource usage and boost yield. This project is aimed at developing sensors which directly monitor the health status of agricultural plants in greenhouses, thereby allowing optimization of yield and minimization of resources and waste.

We believe that direct knowledge of the chemical content (sugars, water, ions etc.) and flow in plant stems, leaves and fruit will allow earlier detection of stressors than can be achieved by manual inspection, or by environmental monitoring. Such monitoring would allow plants to  be kept closer to an optimal state than would otherwise be possible. The currently available sensors do not give direct information on the chemical content of plants and so the information is lacking.

In this project, we will be working on testing several new sensors currently being developed at OnePlanet. These include optical sensors, RF sensors, as well as commercially available sensors to measure stem diameter and leaf thickness. The first step in the project will be to select appropriate plant varieties for testing and form a plan to grow these plants in the appropriate quantity. In parallel, you will learn how to run the prototype sensors and how to handle and visualize the data. Once ready you will conduct experiments where multiple sensors are attached to one plant and look for insights from the sensors. If time allows, you will also embark on a deep analysis of the data using machine learning techniques to see if sensor fusion can provide insights that each sensor alone cannot.

What we do for you

In this internship you will have the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technologies and equipment’s, in a young and growing Research Institute with a strategic position (collaboration with several groups within WUR, Radboud, Radboudumc, and imec).

Who you are

  • Msc student in Electrical Engineering, Applied Data Science, Applied Physics, Plant Sciences, or a related field.
  • Ability to learn how to work with different sensors and technologies, and troubleshoot equipment.
  • Independent and hands-on-approach in a lab environment.
  • Good data analysis skills. Experience with machine learning is a plus.
  • Knowledge or a keen interest in greenhouse horticulture is appreciated.
  • Good written and verbal English skills.
  • Available for a (minimal) period of 5 months.
  • An EU/EEA national, or studying in the Netherlands.


Does this position sound like an interesting next step in your career at imec? Don’t hesitate to submit your application by clicking on ‘APPLY NOW’.

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