PhD in root-microbe-mineral interactions

 Do you want to contribute to understanding the role of interactions between root, microbes, and minerals for the formation and stabilization of soil organic matter, under current and future climates? Are you excited by experimental work, both in the field and in the glasshouse, and do you want to get to the bottom of how extreme weather events affects root-microbe interactions? We are looking for a PhD candidate within the NWA project “Harnessing root-microbe-mineral interactions for climate friendly agricultural soils”, led by Prof. Franciska de Vries. This project will investigate the role of root-microbe interactions in forming stable soil organic matter in different soil types and under future climate scenarios. We will do this using a range of different approaches, from field experiments to controlled greenhouse experiments, involving stakeholders from the start in a co-creation process, and in collaboration with Dutch Statistics (CBS), Eurofins, Amsterdam Green Campus, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. We are looking for a PhD candidate with a background in plant-soil interactions, and with experience in relevant techniques for studying these interactions, such as advanced molecular characterization techniques such as (pyrolysis)-GC-MS, and/or DNA-based techniques for microbial community analysis, as well as experience in performing controlled greenhouse and incubation experiments.


What are you going to do


You will disentangle root-microbe-mineral interactions and their influence on soil organic matter stabilsation through setting up and carrying out field- and glasshouse-based pot and incubation experiments, as well as through analysing the resulting data (in collaboration with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, LLNL) and communicating results via presentations and publications in leading journals. You will also communicate with project stakeholders (farmers, local governments, policymakers, industry), and be involved in co-creating experimental designs and implementation, together with the postdoc, project PI, and Amsterdam Green Campus. You will spend up to 6 months at LLNL, Berkeley, California, to work with their Environmental Plant Isotope Facility (EPIC ). You will give significant input to the scientific direction of the project, and you will work closely together with the project team, collaborators, and stakeholders. You will determine the priorities of these activities in close consultation with the project PI. You will also be expected to:


  • Actively read the literature relating to (and around) the project
  • Supervision of MSc and BSc students, if and when requested, and contribute to teaching in relevant BSc and MSc courses
  • Take an active part in group meetings, and to give presentations at these when required
  • Plan and manage your own research activity in collaboration with others.


What do you have to offer


  • MSc in Ecology, Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, or a related discipline
  • An interest in, and understanding of, linkages between plants, microbial communities, soil organic matter, and environmental parameters
  • Experience in setting up, running, or sampling field or glasshouse experiments
  • Experience in analysis and interpretation of experimental data – experience in analysing multivariate data is a pro
  • Experience in the analysis of plant and soil samples, in particular of density fractionation methods, stable isotopes, and DNA-based methods
  • Good computational, analytical and statistical skills, including the use of programming languages such as R
  • The ability to present information in an accurate and appropriate format, and to communicate effectively with a range of groups including scientists and stakeholders with interests in soils and their management
  • Good written and spoken English
  • Effective interpersonal skills and ability to work with colleagues at all levels
  • You value a diverse team and are willing to contribute actively to our inclusive and collaborative working culture


It would help in the communication with farmers and other stakeholders if you speak Dutch.


Our offer


A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). The preferred starting date is 1 November 2022. This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.


The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, ranges between € 2.541,-  to € 3.247,- (scale P). This does not include 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% year-end allowance. The UFO profile PhD Candidate is applicable. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants.


The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.


Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:


  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;
  • multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • a complete educational program for PhD students;
  • multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff;
  • multiple courses on topics such as time management or Dutch language, and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;
  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
  • partly paid parental leave;
  • the possibility to set up a workplace at home;
  • a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
  • help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad.


Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.


About us


The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.


The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.


The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) is one of eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. The research at IBED aims to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities. At its core lies an integrated systems approach to study biodiversity, ecosystems and the environment. IBED adopts this systems approach to ecosystems, addressing abiotic (soil and water quality) and biotic factors (ecology and evolution of plants, animals, and microorganisms), and the interplay between those. The IBED vision includes research encompassing experimental and theoretical approaches at a wide variety of temporal and spatial scales, i.e. from molecules and microorganisms to patterns and processes occurring at the global scale. The current position will be based in the Department of Ecosystem and Landscape Dynamics, which covers a breath of research that focusses on the functioning and dynamics of abiotic and biotic components of (geo)ecosystems across landscapes in time. You will be part of the Plant-Soil Ecology laboratory, a vibrant research group that actively values and promotes inclusivity, equity, and diversity. We study the mechanisms through which plants and soil organisms interact, how these interactions are affected by global change, and what the consequences are for ecosystem functioning. We use a range of experimental approaches and techniques, and study natural and managed ecosystems. 


Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.




Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:


Job application


If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the button below. We accept applications until and including 07 September 2022.


Applications should include the following information (all files besides your cv should be submitted in one single pdf file):


  • a detailed CV including the months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience;
  • a letter of motivation;
  • a list of publications;
  • the names and contact details of 2-3 referees (these will only be contacted after an interview)


Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.


The interviews will be held in the course of September 2022.


The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.


If you encounter Error GBB451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.


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118 PhD, Postdoc and Academic Positions at Eindhoven University in Netherlands

118 PhD, Postdoc and Academic Positions at Eindhoven University in Netherlands