OnePlanet Research Center is, among others, searching for a Senior Electronic System Engineer. Of course we believe it’s a great job opportunity, but is it your cup of tea as well? To give you an insight into what the position entails, we speak with our colleague Jan Willem de Wit, Electrical Engineer within the domain ‘Precision technology in Agriculture & Food’.

“As Electronic System Engineer at OnePlanet Research Center, you can be involved in both engineering and research projects, and at the same time work within socially relevant application areas.”

What was your motivation to start working for OnePlanet?

The past 23 years I have worked within one product group (electronics for access control), although my work was very broad: from digital electronics to analog and RF electronics, firmware, and mechanics. I’ve noticed that in addition to engineering, I also enjoyed research activities. Also I wanted to work in other, especially more socially relevant, application areas. Enough reasons to broaden my horizons. Because OnePlanet Research Center focuses on both research and engineering, while being active within two quite different application areas, it felt like a good fit. Now I can work in a diverse context, not only in terms of activities, but also in terms of subjects and social relevance.

What is the work of an Electronic System Engineer mainly about?

A part consists of the real engineering work. Sometimes ‘thinker’ like quickly and with standard modules create something, in which most of the work is in the firmware. Sometimes just specialized analog electronics for a specific sensor.

Another part is brainstorming about new sensor technologies that colleagues want to apply. In that case I explore what is feasible within the boundaries of the current electronics technologies. Knowing that, if necessary, a custom chip design is also an option within imec, one of OnePlanet Research Center’s founding partners.

A third part of the job, is doing research into the techniques we can develop, for example, to make the growth of potatoes in the ground visible to a farmer.

“I have studied topics such as amplifiers to measure fA currents, localization systems based on RF phase shift, electrical impedance tomography, iot networks, ppg heart rate sensors and electrochemical sensors.”

Can you tell me something about the technology you are engineering and the application you work on?

At the moment I am developing cheaper NO2 sensors to enable measurements of nitrogen in many locations at the same time. As became clear last autumn, measuring the various types of nitrogen is very important to provide insight into emissions from agriculture, traffic and industry. In this way we contribute to making adjustments on a local scale for the preservation of our nature.

Over the past six months, I have also been in contact with many other techniques. I have studied topics such as amplifiers to measure fA currents, localization systems based on rf phase shift, electrical impedance tomography, iot networking, ppg heart rate sensors and electrochemical sensors. The diversity I was hoping for is definitely present at OnePlanet.

What makes your role within the company unique?

I like to work outside my own discipline. I enjoy it when colleagues ask me to think along with their challenges in their own areas of expertise. I mainly work within the Agro & Food domain, but recently, for example, I’ve also worked on a data analysis for the “Preventive Health” domain. We actually have other specialists working on this, but as an electronics engineer you have a different perspective on signal processing than a data analyst. Especially because it’s outside the discipline, you look at things differently. Together you come up with even better solutions.

What if… you could make a futuristic change/development, what would it be?

Circular agriculture with enough yield to feed the world.

Interested in working at OnePlanet Research Center?

We are looking for an experienced Electronic System Engineer to expand our OnePlanet team in Wageningen, Gelderland. Check out the job opening here.