Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) in Physical Geography in the Context of Sustainability

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands 🇳🇱

Are you an experienced geoscience teacher and researcher focusing on the Earths’ surface, and are you keen to use this knowledge to tackle societal issues related to sustainability? Are you passionate about physical geography?

Please apply at the Department of Earth Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. 

FTE: 0.8 – 1


This position has a focus on the functioning of terrestrial environments in a changing world. We seek a candidate that will merge traditional research fields with innovative techniques and applications, to strengthen both the teaching and research in the fields of geomorphology, (soil) erosion, and (re-)sedimentation, in order to tackle current and future questions related to sustainability.
This position will have a relatively high teaching load. Besides general classroom teaching, the courses to be taught include fieldwork and excursions, for the Earth Sciences as well as the Earth, Economics and Sustainability teaching programs.  Potential research focus areas may include, but are not restricted to: carbon and nitrogen cycling by geomorphic processes, sediment contamination by e.g. (micro)plastics and heavy metals, geochemical interaction between sediments and groundwater, and interactions between vegetation and landscape evolution. We welcome candidates with experience in using GIS, sediment analyses and/or landscape evolution modelling.

Facilities in the Department include a sediment and palynological/plant macros fossil laboratory setup (CNS, TGA, grain size/shape analysis), a stable isotope lab, a cosmogenic nuclide sample preparation lab, and an organic geochemistry lab. The isotope geochemistry facilities are being extended through a recently obtained NWO Groot grant, see

Your duties

  • contribute to further development of the teaching programs
  • coordinate and teach courses offered in BSc and MSc Earth Science and BSc Earth, Economics and Sustainability programs
  • carry out creative research by acquiring external funding and publishing your results in scientific journals
  • make impact on the field as witnessed by a variety of indicators, for example, invited presentations at (international) meetings, media coverage, and peer recognition
  • supervise PhD students


We offer a challenging position for someone with

  • a PhD degree in a topic relevant to what is outlined in the job description above, with post-PhD research experience (proven by publications)
  • demonstrated ability to initiate and develop research
  • experience in, and affinity with, teaching (development and/or coordination of courses) in relevant fields
  • a basic teaching qualification (BKO), an equivalent qualification from a university outside the Netherlands, or willingness to obtain such a qualification during the tenure track
  • although not a requirement at the date of appointment, it is expected that a C1 level in both Dutch and English will be reached before the end of the tenure track. The department offers BSc courses in Dutch, and MSc courses in English
  • an interest in sustainability within the context of Earth sciences


A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3,807 (scale 11)
and a maximum €5,211 (scale 11), depending on your education and experience. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The initial employment contract will affect a period of 6 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • child daycare facilities available on campus
  • good paid parental leave scheme
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance)


The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

About the department
The Department of Earth Sciences has approximately 35 permanent staff members organized in twelve research groups collaborating in four broad research themes. The Department studies all aspects of the dynamics of the Earth with an integrated approach to quantify the interplay and feedback mechanisms between the interior, surface and atmosphere of the Earth. The Department teaches in the BSc programs Earth Sciences and Earth, Economics and Sustainability, as well as in the MSc programs Earth Sciences and Hydrology. The Department’s excellence in teaching is underlined by its high scores in annual national student evaluations.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until January 31, 2022, 

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: R.T. van Balen
Position: professor
E-mail: [email protected]

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