PhD Sublethal effects of psychotropics on aquatic species, populations and ecosystems, how relevant are subtle effects for real-world ecosystems?

Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen, , NL

We are looking for

We are seeking a PhD candidate in the NWO funded project Psychopharmac’eau who is interested in interdisciplinary research into the possibilities to assess the  environmental effects of psychotropics.
The Psychopharmac’eau project will be carried out in a project team consisting of 3 PhD students involving researchers from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and Wageningen University and Research. You will also work closely with partners in the water sector.

Over a million people in the Netherlands use psychotropics, like anti-depressants and anti-psychotics. After use residues enter surface waters, where they are known to affect aquatic organisms. Currently, very limited information is available on the environmental risks. As psychotropics are designed to affect the nervous system, they are also known to affect aquatic organisms at very low and environmentally relevant concentrations and are expected to mimic so-called info-chemicals, influence natural communication and cause effects on the behaviour of organisms. The PhD projects aims to assess the effects of psychotropics at the individual, population as well as the ecosystem level, by the use of laboratory and microcosm and mesocosm experiments.

We ask

  • a highly motivated and skilled PhD candidate with a recent university MSc degree in environmental sciences, biology or related area.
  • a result-driven team player
  • good communication skills and good proficiency in English (both oral and written).
  • experience in ecosystem-level experimentation in relation to the ecological effects of chemicals, while experience in ecological modelling is a plus.

We offer

In principle this is a 48-month PhD position. We offer you a temporary contract for 12 months which will be extended with three years if you perform well (after go/no go evaluation). Salary will increase from € 2325,- gross per month in the first year up to € 2972,- in the last year, based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week).

In addition, we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance
  • a structural end-of year bonus of 8.3%
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions
  • flexible working hours that we determine together in good consultation
  • excellent pension plan through ABP
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes, e.g. the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra for extra leave
  • a flexible model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan
  • a lively workplace on the Wageningen Campus
  • make use of the sports facilities on campus for a small fee.
Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with our internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for personal initiative in a learning environment. With us you get a versatile job in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.
More information

For more information about this function you can contact, Professor of Chemical Stress Ecology, telephone +31-317-481615 or by e-mail; [email protected]

For more information about the procedure you can contact Edgar Tijhuis, corporate recruiter, e-mail [email protected]

Do you want to apply?
This can be done directly via the application button at the vacancy on our website so that we can process your personal data with your permission. This vacancy is open until 24 April 2020. We want to plan the first job interviews soon after the closing date of this vacancy.

Equal opportunities employer
We are an employer that offers equal opportunities. We are happy to receive applications from all suitably qualified people regardless of race, gender, functional impairment, religion / belief, sexual orientation or age. We believe that a diverse and inclusive working environment makes us a more relevant, competitive and resilient organization. Click here for more information about working at WUR with a functional impairment.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen is a center for research and entrepreneurship. 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. It is a historic university town of about 36,000 residents in the central Netherlands. The academic community hails from more than 100 countries, giving the town a lively, international feel. Our highly qualified team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

The WUR International Community page contains practical information about what we do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen.

We are

The mission of our University is to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialised research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With approximately 30 locations, 6,500 employees, and 12,000 students, it is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the unique approach of Wageningen. We have been named Best Employer in Education category 2019-2020. Click here for more information about working at Wageningen University & Research.

The department of Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management of Wageningen University focusses on the following research areas: the ecological structure and functioning of marine and freshwater systems, the physical-chemical quality of surface waters and sediments, the impact of water quality on human use of surface water, including diversity modelling of ecosystem relations and the fate and effects of substances. The research of the group is multidisciplinary (environmental engineering, environmental chemistry and aquatic ecology) and ranges from the laboratory scale (detailed process studies) to the scale of actual ecosystems (field studies).

The multidisciplinary expertise of the team comes together in the development of integrated models for ecosystem and water quality management. The chemical stress ecology sub-group aims to incorporate more ecological theory by introducing novel methods, among others, traits based approaches and mechanistic effect models. This to improve the ecological risk assessment of chemicals but also to obtain a better linkage with the assessments of effects of emerging chemicals and multiple stressors, the latter also including non-chemical stressors like climate change, habitat destruction and flow alteration.

More information about Wageningen Campus you can find here.





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development