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  2. Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen
  3. Director of the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute - Utrecht

Director of the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute - Utrecht

For the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) is seeking an authoritative scientist in mycology …

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Uppsalalaan, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur


For the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) is seeking an authoritative scientist in mycology with an affinity for biodiversity and taxonomy, a large national and international network, a broad outlook on science and strong management skills.

The Westerdijk Institute, an Academy research institute, manages a world-famous collection of living fungi, yeasts and bacteria and is a centre of expertise for mycology. Its research focuses on three priority areas: Agricultural Mycology, Industrial Mycology and Medical Mycology. In addition, the institute has two technical research groups: the Collection group and the Software & Databasing group.

The institute’s researchers study fungal biodiversity in the widest possible sense. They develop and utilise a broad range of techniques for examining fungal taxonomy, biology, ecology and genetics and increasingly make use of fungal bioinformatics and genomics. The unique collection of more than 100,000 living strains of fungi puts the Westerdijk Institute at the top of the global rankings of mycology research institutes.

The institute serves as a centre of expertise and advises scientists, industry, government and the public on issues pertaining to fungi, yeasts and bacteria. It also organises courses on general mycology, medical mycology and mycology as it relates to food and the built environment. In addition to basic biodiversity research, it identifies microorganisms at the request of third parties and advises on problems caused by fungi and yeasts. Staff contribute data to MycoBank and the Dutch Species Register.


  • As the director of the Westerdijk Institute, you will provide inspiring and unifying leadership and bear final responsibility for the institute's strategic direction and operational management, in line with the Academy's strategy. You will have the support of the Managing Coordinator.
  • Your scientific expertise will allow you to serve as a unifying force across the institute's research groups. In addition, you will head one of the institute's existing or future research groups.
  • You will develop a well-defined strategy with respect to the branding and future development of the Westerdijk Institute, identify important trends in science and society, both in the Netherlands and abroad, and respond effectively to these trends.  Your task will be to ensure that the Westerdijk Institute remains a leading national and international institute, where talented scientists can flourish. You will consolidate and improve the international reputation of the collection.
  • You will play a key role in national and international networks and partnerships in the field of mycology and promote interdisciplinary cooperation between the institute and universities, other Academy institutes and institutes belonging to the Dutch Research Council (NWO), for example in the BiodiversityXL partnership and the PROMISE, NIEBA-ARISE and Future Food projects.
  • You will position the institute with bodies that fund research (including the EU and NWO), knowledge institutions, NGOs, government bodies and industry, and by doing so build new partnerships.
  • You will devote yourself to fostering scholarly communication and maximising the impact of the institute’s research activities on society.
  • You will represent the Westerdijk Institute both within the Academy and in national and international bodies and in doing so promote the interests of both the institute and the Academy.


  • You are an authoritative and innovative scientist both in the Netherlands and abroad with fungi as the focus of your research. You have a large national and international network and are demonstrably able to use your network to forge strategic alliances and obtain research grants. You are open to public debate and committed to research integrity and scientific rigour. You are an expert in the field of fungal biodiversity and have an affinity for and experience with taxonomy and genomics and/or bioinformatics.
  • You possess proven leadership skills, you are inventive and engaged, and capable of acting as a unifying force. You advocate and promote an inspiring, safe, diverse and inclusive research environment.
  • You display integrity, you focus on getting results, and you are decisive. You have strong communication skills for both internal and external communication, you are sensitive to the human dimension and you are able to generate broad support.
  • You have an affinity for, an understanding of, and experience in finance and human resources management such that you can assume overall responsibility for the institute in these areas, with the support of the Managing Coordinator.
  • You have a good command of Dutch and English (written and spoken). Foreign candidates should be prepared to acquire a passive and active command of Dutch and within a reasonable period of time.


The employment contract with the Academy will be for an indefinite period.  The appointment to the position of director will be for a period of five years with effect from 1 October 2022, with the intention of reappointment for a second and final term of five years.
Depending on educational background and work experience, the person appointed will be remunerated at scale 16 (of the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities), including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3% of the annual salary.
The Academy offers attractive fringe benefits and arrangements that facilitate a good work-life balance.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact Wilma Koning, Academy Director General, at wilma.de.koning@knaw.nl.

Westerdijk website: https://wi.knaw.nl/page/director
Academy website: www.knaw.nl

Diversity & Inclusion
The KNAW considers a working environment in which everyone feels welcome and appreciated of great importance. A working environment in which attention is paid to individual quality and where development opportunities are paramount. Together we strive for an inclusive culture in which we embrace differences. We would therefore like to invite candidates who want to contribute to this through their background and experience. In the event of equal suitability, preference will be given to the candidate who thus enhances diversity within the Academy.

We will not respond to any supplier enquiries based on this job advertisement.


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