Two PhD Positions in Aquatic Ecology

Radboud University

Nijmegen, Netherlands 🇳🇱

  • Employment: 0.8 – 1.0 FTE
  • Gross monthly salary: € 2,434 – € 3,111
  • Faculty of Science
  • Required background: Research University Degree
  • Application deadline: 24 October 2021

Aquatic systems such as lakes, reservoirs, ponds and ditches, are important greenhouse gas emitters, particularly of methane (CH4). Aquatic bioturbators, notablybottom-dwelling organisms including benthic fish and macroinvertebrates, are known to control ecosystem processes in the sediment. Still, there are many open questions with respect to how bioturbators control CH4 production and consumption (biological effects) and transport through the sediment (physical effects). Knowledge about the role of bioturbators with contrasting activities is therefore essential to understand GHG dynamics in aquatic systems. As one of the two PhD Candidates, you will contribute to expanding this knowledge.

The Department of Aquatic Ecology and Environmental Biology is looking for two PhD candidates on the project ‘Bioturbators drive greenhouse gas emissions from shallow inland waters’. The PhD candidates will jointly design and conduct a range of experiments to assess bioturbator effect on GHG emission in relation to bioturbator traits. The first PhD candidate will focus on overall CO2 and CH4 emissions and the underlying microbial processes in experiments and inland waters in the Netherlands. The second PhD candidate will focus on physical effects of bioturbation – particularly on gas bubble formation and release – and its consequences for greenhouse gas emissions. The latter PhD candidate will incorporate the project findings in an existing sediment-water CH4 flux model. Both PhD candidates will use state-of-the-art experimental mesocosm setups at Radboud University (Nijmegen, Netherlands) and at the University of Koblenz-Landau (Germany). Both PhD candidates will have a 10% teaching load.


We are seeking two enthusiastic, highly motivated candidate ecologists with a strong and proven interest in aquatic ecology and/or ecosystems ecology. You should have an MSc degree (or equivalent) in ecology, microbiology, environmental sciences, or a related field, and be willing to spend approximately 6 months in Landau (Germany). You are pro-active, curious, results-oriented with attention to detail, and can perform well in a project team. We specifically look for persons with an appetite for experimental work. PhD candidate 1 requires a driving licence to be able to travel to field sites. Previous experience with experiments, molecular techniques (DNA extractions, qPCR) and biogeochemical analyses (Greenhouse gas measurements, porewater and sediment analyses) is preferred. For the position of PhD candidate 2, previous experience with modelling, or the willingness to learn this, in programming languages such as R, Python or Matlab would be an asset. The successful candidates for both positions have experience with the statistical analysis of ecological data sets, and are keen to develop expertise in multivariate statistics and ecological modelling. You need to be proficient in written and verbal English.

We are

Aquatic Ecology & Environmental Biology is a highly dynamic, collaborative and interdisciplinary department at Radboud University (RU). We are a young, ambitious, internationally connected research group. We aim for both timely and innovative fundamental research and applied science that lies at the heart of society. Working at the Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences (RIBES; formerly known as the Institute for Water and Wetland Reseach) will provide you with opportunities to deepen the interdisciplinary aspects of your research, investigating key ecological drivers and processes that explain the functioning of wetlands and the ecosystem services they provide. Your research will be embedded in ongoing research lines in the field of wetland ecology and plant-microbe interactions, and you will collaborate with colleagues from different universities and institutes in the Netherlands and beyond. The supervisor team consists of Sarian Kosten and Annelies Veraart (both RU), Andreas Lorke (University of Koblenz-Landau) and Dick van Oevelen (NIOZ).
Radboud University
We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!

We offer

  • An employment of 0.8 (5 year contract) – 1.0 FTE (4 year contract).
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,434 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,111 from the fourth year onwards (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. 
  • You will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract) or 3.5 years (5 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment  and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 29 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.

Additional employment conditionsWork and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University’s primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.

Would you like more information?

For questions about the position, please contact Sarian Kosten, Associate Professor at +31 (0)24 365 24 72 or [email protected].

Practical information and applications

You can apply until 24 October 2021, exclusively using the button below. Kindly address your application to Sarian Kosten. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:

  • Letter of motivation.
  • CV including contact details of two academic references.
  • A brief (max. 1 page) overview of research ideas/plans you would want to develop with your supervisors during this PhD.
  • A digital copy of your MSc degree certificate.

The first round of interviews will take place on 11 and 12 November. You would preferably begin employment on 1 January 2022.
We can imagine you’re curious about our application procedure. It offers a rough outline of what you can expect during the application process, how we handle your personal data and how we deal with internal and external candidates.

We drafted this vacancy to find and hire our new colleague ourselves. Recruitment agencies are kindly requested to refrain from responding.