Two PhD positions 'Restoration of European Wetlands'

Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen, Netherlands 🇳🇱

We are looking for

Do you have a passion for doing ecological research at landscape scales? Are you interested in understanding how wetlands respond to large-scale restoration actions? Would you like to contribute to identifying how European wetlands can become more resilient to future changes in climate and land use changes to maintain ecosystem services? Then we invite you to apply for the two PhD positions in our team!

As part of the EU-funded WaterLANDS project, we aim to assess how European wetlands respond to different pressures (drivers) and how ecological restoration can be achieved and sustained under various environmental and socio-economic conditions. We will use multiple indicators of wetland functioning and relate those to key direct and indirect drivers at different spatial scales to identify the thresholds that should not be crossed in order to maintain ecosystem services, including biodiversity. We will assess previous restoration experiences to identify the actions that foster ecosystem resilience to prevent undesirable changes and highlight likely restoration pathways for returning wetland ecosystems to a ‘Safe Operating Space’.

We are looking for two PhD candidates who are keen to perform state-of-the-art research on wetland functioning within an international interdisciplinary team. The ideal candidates will have experience working at landscape and ecosystem scales and will have experience in collecting and analysing data from field campaigns and remote sensing products. Research findings will be published in leading international academic journals, but it is also important to communicate well across disciplines, stakeholders (e.g. government, development) and media. You will also be involved in the supervision of MSc students who perform their thesis research within the framework of the project.

We ask

  • MSc in ecology, environmental, or related field;
  • experience with landscape and ecosystem ecology;
  • skills in analysing spatial and temporal data (e.g. GIS, remote sensing, scenario modelling, large datasets)
  • skills in statistically analysing large datasets
  • team player;
  • good organizational and communication skills;
  • have excellent command of English speaking and writing (preferably contributed to a peer-reviewed paper);
  • experience in collaborating with partners from a variety of cultural and scientific backgrounds is a plus.
  • knowledge on wetland ecology (palustrine, peatlands, estuaries) is a plus.

We offer

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our  Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.395,- per month rising to € 3.061,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.
You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 16th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research’s International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

More information

To learn more about this position, please contact Dr. Juul Limpens ([email protected]) and Dr. Milena Holmgren ([email protected])
For additional information about the process please contact our corporate recruiter Edgar Tijhuis ([email protected]

Do you want to apply?

You can apply up to and including 1 October 2021.

Interviews with the top 10 candidates are planned for the second half of October, tentative dates are 13, 15 and 18 October 2021. Interviews will be online if travel turns out to be impractical. Envisioned starting date of the PhD positions is January 2022. Applications must be uploaded via our webpage and include (1) a cover letter summarizing your motivation to apply and explaining why you are the ideal candidate for this position, (2) your CV, including the names of two references at the end of the CV. Please do not upload any other documents.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

The two PhD positions are part of a collaboration between two chair groups within the department of Environmental Sciences of Wageningen University & Research: the Plant Ecology and Conservation Group (PEN) and the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Group (WEC). The groups collaborate within an international consortium (EU-WaterLANDS project).

The Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation Group studies and teaches the processes and underlying mechanisms that link biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and service delivery and applies these insights to design effective conservation and management strategies for resilient ecosystems.
The Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Group is working to understand how changing environments affect the abundance, distributions, and ecological interactions of wild animals and plants. We study how humans influence wildlife by examining direct mechanisms as well as mechanisms that are part of larger-scale processes. We embrace field-based, experimental and theoretical studies, and we work at levels of biological organization ranging from individuals to ecosystems.

Both chair groups are embedded in the department of Environmental Sciences of Wageningen University & Research, which provides fundamental research and academic education on our living environment. The mission of Wageningen University and Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 6.800 employees and 12.900 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

Apply now