PhD Candidate in Environmental Sciences (1.0 fte)

Vacancy number 17-082

The Faculty of Science and Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) is looking for a PhD candidate to conduct research on impacts of distinct types of mycorrhizas of soil carbon cycling processes (1.0 fte)

Key responsibilities

The Institute of Environmental Sciences of Leiden university seeks a highly motivated PhD candidate to conduct experimental research aimed to understand impacts of distinct types of mycorrhizal fungi on processes of soil carbon sequestration. Soil carbon sequestration is an important but hardly understood mechanism counterbalancing atmospheric CO2 emissions and thereby climate change. Growing evidence suggests that vegetation stands featuring different mycorrhizal types differently relate to principle aspects of belowground carbon accumulation processes. However, the mechanisms involved and the causality therein are poorly understood. Within this PhD program the candidate will conduct research aimed to experimentally unravel these mechanisms through a combination of microbiological, physiological and ecological methods to examine plant-soil-microbial interactions in lab and possibly field conditions.

Selection criteria

  • Master's degree in one of the following topics: ecology, biology, plant sciences, environmental sciences or their equivalents;
  • Understanding of plant and fungal taxonomy;
  • A background in plant-soil interactions or/and microbial ecology is desirable;
  • Knowledge of molecular biology methods will be an advantage;
  • Statistical analysis skills, i.e. good level of mastering R, Matlab or alike tools will be appreciated; otherwise a demonstrated ability to rapidly acquire such skills is a pre-requirement;
  • Proficient in spoken and written English;
  • Good communication skills;
  • A strong interest in a scientific career.

Research at our Faculty/Institute

The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are driven by curiosity to expand fundamental knowledge and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor's and twelve master's programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 1,300 staff and almost 4,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden's Bio Science Park, one of Europe's biggest science parks, where university and business life come together. For more information, see

Terms and conditions

We offer an one year term position with the possibility of renewal based on need, funding and performance. Salary range from 2,191.- to 2,801.- gross per month (pay scale P, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses(8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. Information about Leiden University at

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.


Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.


Enquiries can be made to the anticipated supervisor dr. Nadia Soudzilovskaia at email


To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to S. van den Oever at Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number: letter of motivation and a cv. Only applications received no later than 1 May 2017 will be considered. Starting date of the PhD project is 1st September 2017. Selection will take place in the second half of May 2017.

posted: 21 April 2017     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.