Postdoc Position: “Fate and ecological impact of emerging contaminants in the delta filter“

NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Texel, Netherlands 🇳🇱

Job description

The Department of Ocean Systems (OCS) at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research is looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher with a background in environmental science, (biogeo)chemistry or a related field. In this 1-year position, you will integrate existing data and generate new data on the dynamics of contaminants from waste-water treatment processes at the terrestrial-marine interface.

This work is one of three short-term, strongly aligned sub-projects of the project “Towards clean and sufficient water for anthropogenic use and ecology” within the framework of the National Science Agenda (NWA).


Due to intense exploitation, the availability and quality for anthropogenic uses (drinking water, industry, agriculture) are under increased pressure. As waste streams from water treatment processes are released into surface waters, this also impacts on environmental water quality and the health of aquatic ecosystems. Although there are legal obligations to reduce pollution, e.g. within the targets of the EU Water Framework Directive, ecosystems are still strongly affected by municipal and industrial waste streams, containing a mixture of contaminants. These waste streams include treated waste water (effluent), sludge and/or other water-carrying wastes from water treatment plants and harbours, and by-products from water purification processes. In the overall project, we therefore aim to integrate current knowledge and future perspectives on contamination routes and their impact in three sub-projects: (1) marine biogeochemistry and ecology, (2) freshwater resources management, and (3) anthropogenic contamination incl. water/waste stream treatment. Doing so, we provide a systems perspective for an overarching research agenda requiring cutting-edge innovations towards responsible use of water resources. In the postdoc advertised here, you will work on sub-project 1 and investigate the impact of waste streams on aquatic biogeochemistry and ecology.


At NIOZ-OCS, we study aquatic processes from a variety of disciplines including aquatic geochemistry and ecology. Samples are collected from all over the world, and (biogeo)chemical experiments are performed on our research vessels or in the laboratories at our institute on Texel. For this project, there is collaboration with the institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics at the University of Amsterdam (UvA-IBED). UvA-IBED aims to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities. The candidate will be appointed at NIOZ-OCS, with flexibility in work location in light of the short duration of the project.


This postdoc position in the project will focus on identifying major waste streams from point sources (e.g. wastewater treatment plants, sludge processing facilities) to the freshwater-saltwater transition (the “delta filter”) where flow patterns and salinity gradients – with associated sorption and flocculation processes – affect the mobility of contaminants. Special focus is on (1) pollutants of emerging concern such as novel persistent organic pollutants and pharmaceuticals and (2) the role of the sediment in removing/recycling these contaminants. A key questions is to better understand how far from the point-source pollution reaches, particularly to what extent it can pass the delta filter. These key questions about the environmental impact of water treatment processes are addressed by combining exploration of existing (monitoring) datasets with field work and lab work. Water and sediment samples collected from relevant locations in the delta filter are analyzed for chemical composition, microbiology and pollutants using state-of-the-art analytical facilities at NIOZ-OCS and UvA-IBED.

Job requirements


You must have completed your PhD in environmental science, chemistry or related discipline. It would be advantageous if you have one or more of the following skills:

  • Laboratory work and affinity for field work;
  • Capacity to work independently, combined with a passion for teamwork because the project involves a broad consortium that executes three closely-aligned research projects.
  • Data analysis and visualization, including GIS

Due to the international character of our research, good command of spoken and written English is essential

We highly encourage applicants from all members of our community and of diverse background, including LGBTQI+, to join us.


We are offering a 1-year full-time Postdoc position. Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO-i (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). The salary is compliant to the CAO-OI (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes) scale 10 or 11 depending on relevant experience. Furthermore, NIOZ offers a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus of 8,3% of the gross annual salary, flexible work arrangements and 42 days of holiday leave (fulltime position).

You may expect attractive secondary employment conditions.


If you are interested in this opportunity, please submit a CV, a cover letter, and names and contact information of 2 references. The cover letter should clearly state your motivation and suitability for this position. To apply for this position, click the apply button on the right. 

Closing date for applications: when position is filled. Suitable candidates will be invited for an interview as soon possible.

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact Dr. Peter Kraal. For additional information about the procedure, please contact HR via

Please visit the Department of Ocean Systems here.




IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development