1. Vacatures
  2. Universiteit Utrecht (UU)
  3. PhD or Postdoc position in numerical modelling of plastic and microbe transport in the Atlantic Ocean (1.0 FTE)

PhD or Postdoc position in numerical modelling of plastic and microbe transport in the Atlantic Ocean (1.0 FTE)

Work in an interdisciplinary project to explore Atlantic Ocean microbiome ecosystem connectivity in a changing climate.

7 dagen geleden


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


Marine ecosystems are increasingly affected by climate change and other environmental threats. At the same time, the ocean-based economy is expected to double in the next 20 years. How can we best manage these blue ecosystem services, given the IPCC projections of changing ocean currents?

In the new AtlantECO project, involving 36 partners from across Europe, Brazil and South Africa, we will investigate how the microbial ecosystem in the Atlantic Ocean will be affected by climate change and the presence of pollutants such as plastics. The ambition of AtlantECO is to develop and apply a novel, unifying framework for providing knowledge-based resources to design policies, support decision making and engage with citizens to encourage responsible behaviour to manage the Atlantic system and protect its Ecosystem Services provision.

The Utrecht University team co-leads the Work Package that maps the multi-scale connectivity of nutrients, microbes and plastics, and their interactions, with the goal to create models to advance predictability. We are seeking a PhD or Postdoc Researcher to support this work.

During the project, you will be involved in:

  • developing numerical simulations of nutrients, microbes and plastic based on the OceanParcels framework;
  • assembling nano-, micro- and macroplastics data from state-of-the-art sampling methods;
  • analyzing connectivity of microbes and their exposure to microplastics;
  • collaborating within a large, interdisciplinary project spanning European, Brazilian and South African partners.

By the end of the project, you will have:

  • a deep understanding of the interaction between microbial ecosystems and plastics, in present day and under climate change;
  • advanced skills in numerical modelling and data analysis in python;
  • the skills to communicate your scientific results to a wide audience including peers, media and the general public.


Our ideal candidate has a driven and collaborative spirit and:

  • an MSc or PhD in Physics, Computer Science, Applied Mathematics or a similar field;
  • strong skills in python programming;
  • the ability to cooperate within a wider and interdisciplinary research team;
  • an excellent level of written and spoken English.

Preferably you also have a proven affinity with physical oceanography and experience with software development practices such as version control and unit-testing. In addition, you bring along strong skills in advanced data science.


  • a position for 3 years (Postdoc level) or 4 years (PhD level);
  • a full-time gross salary starting for PhD students at €2,325 and increasing to €2,972 per month during the appointment (scale P). For Postdocs the full-time gross starting salary ranges between €2,709 and €4,274 per month (scale 10);
  • benefits including 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (cao).

In addition to the employment conditions laid down in the cao for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. For example, there are agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment yourself via the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we like to encourage you to continue to grow.

More information about working at the Faculty of Science can be found here.

Additional information

If you have any questions, please contact Dr Erik van Sebille (Associate Professor), via E.vanSebille@uu.nl.

Do you have questions about the application procedure? Send an email to science.recruitment@uu.nl.


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