Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)

Technical/Laboratory Assistant for the ERC Project VORTEX

The department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry (MMB; principal investigator dr. Helge Niemann) is looking for a highly motivated Technical/Laboratory Assistant with a strong background in biogeochemical/microbiological and/or biomolecular work to support research within the framework of the ERC Project VORTEX.

VACANCY ID: 2018-004
CLOSING DATE: April 5th, 2018


Massive anthropogenic environmental change in our era has put the oceans under high pressure. The ongoing pollution with synthetic plastic debris is of particular concern to safeguarding the marine realm in the future. The ongoing contamination of oceans primarily is caused by so called ‘micro plastics’ (plastic items that are small in size).

Plastic debris impacts marine organisms and ecosystems in multifaceted ways, and plastics are generally considered as inert in the environment. Plastic particles in marine sediments were even suggested to become a new marker horizon for the Anthropocene epoch. Yet, recent research suggests that specialised microbes can utilise at least some plastic types as a carbon source.

To further assess the longevity and fate of plastic litter in the marine realm, we need to test the potential of microbial plastic degradation. At the same time, we must unravel degradation pathways and identify plastic-degrading microbes.

In the ERC project VORTEX (grant holder: dr. Helge Niemann), we will trace plastic-derived carbon into degradation products and microbial biomass across a broad range of environmental conditions. In order to achieve research goals, we will initiate incubation experiments in the environment and under controlled laboratory conditions. Different analytical tools will be applied to meet the project goals, including isotope probing/tracing assays in combination with genetic analyses and microscopy.


Are you a highly motivated technical/laboratory assistant and have you been working in biogeochemistry/microbiology and/or microbial ecology labs? Do you have experience with experimental work (e.g. setting up microcosms and enrichment cultures)? Then we would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and learn more about your expertise. Especially if you also have some experience in applying molecular tools (e.g. DNA/RNA extraction, PCR, FISH) or conducted biogeochemical measurements (e.g. stable carbon isotope analyses on headspace gases).

Since you will be working in an international research project, in the lab and in the field, a very good command of (spoken) English is essential.


Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO-I (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). We offer a position for 4 (fulltime) or 5-years (80%) with an excellent salary, a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus and flexible work arrangements. You may expect very attractive secondary employment conditions. We offer generous relocation expenses for employees coming from abroad and support with finding accommodation.


For additional information about this vacancy, please contact Dr. Helge Niemann.

For additional information about the procedure, please contact Jolanda Evers (senior HR advisor).

posted: 14 February 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.