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PhD position at VU Amsterdam Multiple extreme events in the sub-Arctic (1.0 FTE)

VU Amsterdam is looking for a PhD candidate. Interested? Read more and apply here.

11 maanden geleden


Domplein, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 40 uur
€ 2325 - € 2325 per maand


The Netherlands Earth System Science Centre (NESSC) is currently looking to fill 13 PhD positions with excellent, talented, enthusiastic, highly motivated and goal-oriented candidates, with a no-nonsense mentality. The ideal candidates are interested in past and/or current climate research, are highly motivated to perform research in an excellent, exciting and international working environment, and are committed to a fully-funded 4-year PhD track.

The project “Multiple extreme events in the sub-Arctic” will be hosted at the Department of Ecological Science (Faculty of Science) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam). Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme events in many regions of the world. This can have large impacts on species, the communities they are part of and the processes within ecosystems. If hit hard enough, ecosystems may even be pushed into another state. Extreme events during the growing season are likely to have direct impacts on species survival and growth but an extreme winter even may just as well have lasting impacts on the following growing season.

Summer drought, heat events and fire have received particular attention in the Arctic region as well as extreme winter warming events and rain on snow events. However, the combination of extreme events during winter and summer has received relative little attention despite the fact that both events are likely to occur in the near future and will very likely acerbate each other’s impact on species, communities and ecosystems processes. Considering the current changes in Arctic vegetation, shrubification and permafrost melting, observed as a result of climate warming and the feedback this has on the global carbon cycling and weather patterns there is an urgent need to address the impact of multiple extreme events.

This project will consist of a mixture of field experiments in sub-arctic Scandinavia (mainly the Abisko area) and mesocosm experiments in Amsterdam under controlled conditions. However, there is a considerable amount of freedom within the project, so the position is flexible with regard to focus on plot scale experiments to landscape scale natural events. The focus will be on the effects of extreme events on plant community development, ecosystem processes (carbon and nutrient fluxes, using amongst others 13C and 15N labelling), and on invasive species. The exact focus will among various others depend on the expertise of the candidate.


General requirements for applicants
• Candidates did not reside or carry out their main activity (e.g. work, studies) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months during the 3 years immediately prior to the date of appointment (time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention, compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account)*.
• Candidates hold an MSc degree (or will graduate before the appointment date) in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Ecology, Earth Sciences and/or Environmental Sciences.
• Candidates are in the first four years of their research careers at the start of their appointment (full-time equivalent research experience, measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree entitling him or her to embark on a doctorate) and have not been awarded a doctoral degree.
• Excellent proficiency of the English language (both oral and written).
• The ability to work both independently in challenging environments and in a multidisciplinary team. Excellent communication skills and cooperation skills are required.
• An inquisitive mind-set, accuracy, creativity and self-reliance are very important. You are required to be flexible, mobile and pro-active.
• Enthusiasm to attend the full training programme as offered in the project and to actively contribute to the project aims and objectives.
• High interest in receiving training from supervisors from different institutes, disciplines and sectors, this will require regular travelling within the Netherlands.
• High motivation to contribute to the dissemination of results and outreach to both specialists and the public at large.
• Candidates are excited to move to the Netherlands and to visit a Partner Organisations for a secondment (internship), in or outside the Netherlands, as this is part of the programme. Additional research visits to international institutes and conferences for research collaborations are expected.
• Strong motivation to obtain a PhD degree.

*If you do not qualify for the first criteria, you can still submit your application if you would like to be considered for the NON-COFUND PhD positions.

Specific requirements for this project
For this project we seek a PhD candidate with a good background and affinity in Arctic terrestrial ecology and with expertise in biogeochemical analyses and preferably also in microbial ecology, willing to address the impact of multiple extreme events on sub-Arctic ecosystems.


The selected candidates will be offered a full-time PhD position at one of the NESSC institutes, initially for one year. The first formal assessment will be held between month 10 and 16 of employment, if found positive the ESR will be offered the full 48 months of PhD employment.

The gross monthly salary starts at €2,325 in the first year, and ends at €2,972 in the fourth year (scale P Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities). The salary is supplemented by a guaranteed end-of-year bonus of 8.3% and a holiday allowance of 8% of your yearly salary. We offer a pension scheme (partly paid by employer), collective insurance schemes, parental leave, travel allowance (home to work and for work purposes), and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). Facilities for sports and child care are available.

Additional information

For general or practical information on the NESSC COFUND programme, please contact info@nessc.nl, for project related questions please contact Rien Aerts: m.a.p.a.aerts@vu.nl.
NESSC is a so-called Gravitation Program, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). The programme is co-funded with a grant that has been awarded from the Europen Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme: the Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND program, grant agreement No 847504. Please click here for general information about NESSC and here for NESSC research.