PhD position: The role of soil biodiversity in forest restoration - NIOO-KNAW - Wageningen

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



Enhancing soil biodiversity for vital forests

Project description:

Forests in the Netherlands are under threat from nitrogen deposition, acidification, drought, and climate change. These processes have been shown to cause massive tree dying events, with strong negative consequences for the associated flora and fauna as well. According to the National Forest Strategy of the Netherlands current forests need be turned into future-proof biodiverse forests by planting broadleaf tree species with high quality litter. However, little is known about the role of soil biodiversity in this forest conversion.

You will carry out field, mesocosm and lab experiments to test the role of soil biodiversity in future-proof forest restoration. For this project, large-scale field experiments will be set up in Nationale Park De Hoge Veluwe in order to determine how promoting soil biodiversity may help to establish future-proof forest.

You will be based at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Department of Terrestrial Ecology (NIOO-KNAW). The project will be carried out in collaboration with the Forest Ecology & Management group of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Nationale Park De Hoge Veluwe.



We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with an MSc degree in soil/forest ecology or a related discipline ready to work in a multidisciplinary research team. Good quantitative analysis, communication, writing and presentation skills are required. The candidate should be fluent in Dutch and English. Driving license B is required. Experience with carrying out and coordinating fieldwork and an experimental approach are required.

One or several of the next skills will be an advantage: soil biodiversity, tree ecology, molecular soil community analyses, bioinformatics, stable isotope probing, soil chemistry, and network analysis. If not available, candidates need to show willingness to learn these techniques.


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 € 2.541,00 00 per month in the 1st year, and will gradually increase to a maximum up to € 3.247,00per 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.

Meer informatie


For more information please contact Prof. Wim van der Putten (tel. +31-6 511 931 57, email wvanderputten@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/