PhD Position Benchmarking soil biodiversity - NIOO-KNAW - Wageningen

  • WO
  • Tijdelijk
Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)



Onder het Maaiveld (funded by Nationale Postcodeloterij)

Project description:

Soil biodiversity is crucial for soil health and ecosystem functioning. However, relatively little is known about the spatial and temporal distribution of soil biodiversity in the Netherlands. In a project with IUCN, De Vlinderstichting and Wageningen University & Research, funded by Nationale Postcode Loterij, the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) is performing a systematic survey of Dutch soil biodiversity. The data are used in the Dutch Soil Biodiversity Centre (https://ijkcentrumbodem.nl/nl), which is developing a bench mark for Dutch soil biodiversity. The aim of the present PhD project is to devise an evidence-based benchmarking system for soil biodiversity in the Netherlands based on the data already collected and new data collections. You will study how soil community composition and diversity varies with soil abiotics and land management across the Netherlands. Data from a national soil sampling campaign will be used for a comparative analysis of benchmarking in other disciplines, leading to a user-friendly open access system for soil biodiversity data. You will also carry out experimental research in the Soil Ecotron at NIOO-KNAW to study effects of soil biodiversity enhancement on ecosystem development.

You will coordinate and carry out field sampling campaigns to collect soil samples and standardized observations of site conditions and management, (chemical) lab work, DNA metabarcoding and bioinformatic processing to assess soil biodiversity composition and soil physico-chemical composition. You will also collect data on soil biodiversity and ecosystem processes in the Soil Ecotron experimental facility.

The PhD candidate will be based at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Department of Terrestrial Ecology (NIOO-KNAW). The PhD project will be linked to two larger initiatives: Onder het Maaiveld and the TTW Perspectief SoilProS program). You will closely collaborate with IUCN, De Vlinderstichting, Wageningen University & Research, the Centre for Soil Ecology, SoilProS partners, and other national and international initiatives.



We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with an MSc degree in soil ecology or a related discipline. The following expertise will be needed or developed: spatial data analysis, complex analytical problems, multivariate quantitative analysis, and soil biodiversity assessment. If not available, candidate have to be willing to learn these techniques. Good communication, writing and presentation skills are required. The candidate should be fluent in Dutch and English, and have a driver's license B. Experience with (coordinating) fieldwork and molecular analyses are important assets. The candidate should be able to function well in a multidisciplinary research team.


The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO) is a top research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Mission of the NIOO is to carry out excellent fundamental and strategic research in ecology.



This is a temporary appointment, initially for 1 year and upon satisfaction to be prolonged for a maximum of 4 years (1.0 fte). The preferred starting date is 1 October 2022.


The gross salary (based on 1 fte appointment) starts at € 2.541,00per month in the 1st year, and will gradually increase to a maximum up to € 3.247,00 per month in the 4th year, scale P, Collective Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten), excluding 8% holiday pay and a 8,3 % year-end bonus.


The Netherlands Institute of Ecology, NIOO-KNAW in Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Meer informatie


For more information please contact Prof. Wim van der Putten (tel. +31-6 511 931 57, email w.vanderputten@nioo.knaw.nl), or Dr. Jasper Wubs (tel. +31-317 473 610, e-mail j.wubs@nioo.knaw.nl). Information on the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) can be found at the website: http://www.nioo.knaw.nl/