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PhD (3 years) Analytical Environmental Chemistry

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network (ETN), LimnoPlast, is looking for a  highly motivated and talented student with a MSc degree who is interested in an ambitious multidisciplinary project on environmental microplastic contamination, freshwater systems and the link with human exposure.Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

ongeveer een maand geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 - 40 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


LimnoPlast Project’s overall goals
Microplastic is one of the planetary pollution problems that affects practically all habitats, including freshwater. LimnoPlast is an European research project designed to address the problem of microplastics pollution in freshwater systems and train 15 early stage researchers (ESRs). The transdisciplinary project covers the chain of events from emissions to impacts and explores mitigation strategies such as end-of-pipe approaches and polymer redesign.
The early stage researcher described in this vacancy advertisement will be hosted by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and cover the topic: From freshwater to drinking water and food-human exposure to microplastics. The ambitious mandate is to investigate plastic particles and determine these in matrices associated with human exposure, i.e., drinking water and freshwater-related food (e.g., fish from aquaculture) in order to provide the world’s first estimate of human exposure to plastic particles. The researcher will determine if plastic particles have contaminated the living environment of humans, tracking plastic particles sources in the Amsterdam hydrosystem as a case study. In close collaboration with two other early stage researchers working in LimnoPlast, the candidate will design a sampling plan according to best practices, taking into account statistical power, modelling, cost-effectiveness, fit for purpose and needs of data users. Attention to method validation and collection of QA/QC data will be key in this project. The ultimate objective is to understand the potential exposure routes of plastic particles for humans.

Your duties
Develop and validate analytical methodologies to detect, identify, and quantify plastic particles in several different environmental and biological matrices to use in generating an analytical dataset that gives insights into plastic particles.
  • investigate plastic particle distribution in the aquatic environment
  • modelling of plastic particle environmental distribution
  • ensure QA/QC of data produced
  • gather data on potential exposure routes of microplastics for humans
  • inter/transdisciplinary collaborations with other PhD students in the consortium
  • execution of an external secondment at SIAAP - Greater Paris Sanitation Authority (https://www.siaap.fr/siaap-greater-paris-sanitation-authority/)
  • supervision of research traineeships and literature theses of master students within the scope of the LimnoPlast project
  • regular progress updates at LimnoPlast project meetings and group meetings
  • dissemination of results in peer-reviewed journals and at conferences
  • write and defend a PhD thesis at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


  • required diploma: MSc in Analytical environmental chemistry, Analytical chemistry or very closely related degree
  • equired expertise: Analytical environmental chemistry, excellent command of the English language and scientific writing skills
  • recommended expertise: Environmental monitoring and/or Human biomonitoring
Eligibility criteria of Marie Curie Initial Training Networks apply. Only applicants who comply with the following conditions may be considered:
  • at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, candidates must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree
  • conditions of international mobility: Eligible candidates may be of any nationality but must not, at the time of recruitment, have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 last years immediately prior to the reference date


Fixed-term contract with a maximum of 36 months.
LimnoPlast offers the candidate at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam :
  • a generously funded full-time position (duration 36 months) for an early stage researcher (ESR) according to the EU Marie Curie ITN funding scheme (for more information see version 2 on https://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/resources/document-libraries/information-note-fellows-innovative-training-networks-itn_en)
  • a high profile research project in the LimnoPlast Innovative Training Network Program
  • excellent facilities for research and education
  • research training in both academic and nonacademic settings
  • training in state-of-the-art scientific and transferable skills
  • access to large network via LimnoPlast international collaborators and secondment abroad
A challenging position in a socially engaged organization. In accordance with university regulations for academic personnel the gross-per-month salary amounts to €2709 (PhD) during the first year and increases to €2972 (PhD) in the third year, based on full-time employment. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 1.0 FTE.

More information on the set of 15 LimnoPlast PhD positions: https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/457414

Additional information

Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter on or before 1 February 2020. The job interviews will take place via a Skype interview.

Please send the following information (as one pdf file):
  • detailed CV (include information on your BSc and MSc studies, languages, achievements, expertise, laboratory skills)
  • motivation letter, addressed to the LimnoPlast selection committee, explaining your motivation and suitability for the position.
  • contact details of at least 2 references (names, addresses, emails).
  • reference letter from one of the references
  • academic diplomas and certificates, scanned copies
  • official academic transcript (i.e. documents enlisting your performance as BSc and MSc student over time by listing the course units or modules taken, credits gained and the grades awarded). If you have not completed your MSc degree yet include all grades obtained so far.
  • english language skills certificate, for non-native English speakers
N.B. Applications received by e-mail will not be processed. If you have applied by email, please reapply via the VU website https://workingat.vu.nl/home. Vacancy questions

If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:
Name: Dr. Heather Leslie
E-mail: heather.leslie@vu.nl

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