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  3. Postdoctoral researcher in Neotropical Palaeoecology

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Postdoctoral researcher in Neotropical Palaeoecology

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), one of eight research institutes within the Faculty of Science, is seeking an experienced and highly motivated postdoctoral researcher in Neotropical palaeoecology at the University of Amsterdam ...

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Landelijk / geen vaste standplaats
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur
€ 2588 - € 4084 per maand


The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), one of eight research institutes within the Faculty of Science, is seeking an experienced and highly motivated postdoctoral researcher in Neotropical palaeoecology at the University of Amsterdam. The three year position will include conducting fieldwork, laboratory analyses, and statistical analyses of palaeoecological data collected in Amazonia.

The research will quantify human impacts and ecological legacies on Amazonian ecosystems over the last 3000 years through palaeoecological and statistical analyses. The project involves analyzing microfossils, including pollen, phytoliths, and charcoal, found within soils and lake sediments. The researcher will then apply statistical techniques to these data with the aim of generating a transfer function that estimates past human impacts in tropical forest systems. Public outreach and engagement with local communities in Amazonia are also components of the project.

We are looking for a candidate with:

  1. experience in fieldwork in remote areas;
  2. skills in Neotropical pollen;
  3. quantitative skills, including familiarity with R and GIS, and
  4. a successful track record of publications.

The postdoctoral researcher will be expected to produce at least 3 first-author papers in international peer-reviewed journals during the project, and present the results of the research at national and international conferences. The postdoctoral researcher will work with members of the Departments of Ecosystem and Landscape Dynamics and Theoretical and Computational Ecology, and foster cross-departmental collaborations within the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics. There is the possibility, but not the requirement, to contribute to educational tasks, e.g. contribute to teaching within courses of the BSc Biology, BSc Future Planet Studies, MSc Earth Sciences and MSc Biological Sciences.


The candidate must have:

  • a PhD in biology, ecology, geography, or a related discipline;
  • interest and enthusiasm for tropical ecology and palaeoecology;
  • skills in identifying tropical pollen;
  • skills and experience in R and ArcGIS;
  • willingness to work in a multidisciplinary team;
  • proficiency in scientific writing and a track record of publications;
  • he ability to speak, write, and communicate in English at an academic level;
  • experience with fieldwork in remote regions.

Of additional advantage:

  • fluency in Portuguese and/or Spanish;
  • experience in public engagement of science;
  • experience with mentoring and supervising undergraduate students;
  • experience with identifying additional palaeoecological microfossils (i.e. charcoal, phytoliths, non-pollen palynomorphs, diatoms);
  • knowledge of tropical plant families.


We offer a position for 38 hours a week in an exciting, dynamic and international research environment, starting 1 April 2018 (though this date is flexible). The full-time appointment will be on a temporary basis for a maximum period of three years. The initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory assessment it will be extended for a total duration of three years. This position is classified in the function profile Researcher at level 4. The full-time gross monthly salary varies between €2,588 and €4,084 gross per month, depending on relevant experience (salary scale 10). The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable. The annual salary will be increased by 8 % holiday allowance and 8,3 % end-of-year bonus.

Additional information

Interested? For more information on this position please contact:

  • Dr Crystal H. McMichael, Assistant professor, Department of Ecosystem and Landscape Dynamics
    T: +31 (0)20 525 7316

Applications should be mailed to:

Please refer to vacancy number 17-601 in the subject field. Applications should include the following items combined into one PDF file and placed in the following order:

  • motivation letter (max. 1-2 pages, containing your motivation for applying and a description of your previous research experience);
  • list of your 2-3 most significant publications (incl. a short description in 2-3 sentences what is interesting in each paper);
  • CV with applicant’s e-mail address and telephone number, documentation of education, complete publication list, and contact details of two professional references [name, address, telephone and email]. References will only be contacted if the candidate is short-listed.


With over 5,000 employees, 30,000 students and a budget of more than 600 million euros, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is an intellectual hub within the Netherlands. Teaching and research at the UvA are conducted within seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics and Business, Law, Science, Medicine and Dentistry. Housed on four city campuses in or near the heart of Amsterdam, where disciplines come together and interact, the faculties have close links with thousands of researchers and hundreds of institutions at home and abroad.

The UvA’s students and employees are independent thinkers, competent rebels who dare to question dogmas and aren’t satisfied with easy answers and standard solutions. To work at the UvA is to work in an independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.

Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) is one of eight research institutes within the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. Our scientific work aims at a better understanding of the dynamics of ecosystems at all relevant levels, from genes to ecosystems, using a truly multi-disciplinary approach, and based on both experimental and theoretical research. Scientific focus is on aquatic (both freshwater and marine) and terrestrial ecosystems, evolutionary and population biology, ecosystem and landscape dynamics, and theoretical and computational ecology. We want to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities.

The appointment is part of a project funded by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research; NWO) entitled 'The past peoples of Amazonia: assessing ecological legacies'. The project is linked to other current research led by Dr Crystal McMichael, including reconstructing cultural histories from lake sediments in northwestern Amazonia, and linking past human activities with modern ecological observations. The postdoctoral researcher will also get to incorporate their results into larger consortiums where Dr McMichael is a participant, including the LandUse6k working group and the NIMBioS Climate Proxies working group.