Utrecht University has great ambitions for its teaching quality and study success rates. This also applies to its clear research profiles which are centred around four themes: Dynamics of Youth, Institutions, Life Sciences and Sustainability. Utrecht University plays a prominent role in our society and contributes to finding the answers to topical and future societal issues. UU wishes to be a home for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.

PhD position on Assessing carbon sequestration in blue ecosystems (4 years)

The C-Blues project on Carbon sequestration in BLUe EcoSystems aims to advance the scientific knowledge on blue carbon ecosystems - seagrasses, tidal marshes, mangroves and macroalgae - in order to promote the role of blue carbon ecosystems in sequestering greenhouse gas emissions and their inclusion into climate mitigation.

At Utrecht University, we seek a motivated PhD student with knowledge and experience related to marine ecology and biogeochemistry to conduct:

  1. field experiments and sampling of sediment cores, operating autonomous sensors, and perform seawater collection, in nearshore salt marsh, seagrass, and possibly mangrove ecosystems,
  2. sample processing of collected field data in the lab using geochemical analytical instrumentation such as mass spectrometry of sediment material and seawater analyses (e.g. titrations), and
  3. to work with international consortium colleagues.

The successful candidate will have experience conducting laboratory and data analyses, will be able to work independently and within a team, and display creativity and motivation about the project objectives.

Background knowledge in marine biology and carbonate chemistry is a plus. You will work on site at field locations in different European coastal regions for extended periods of time (potentially 1 -2 months on site). The successful student will be directly supervised by Cale Miller with secondary supervision support by Jack Middelburg at Universiteit Utrecht.

You are expected to publish your results in peer-reviewed academic journals as Open Science contributions. A personalised training programme will be set up, reflecting your training needs and career objectives. About 20% of your time will be dedicated to this training component, which includes training on the job in assisting in the Bachelor's and Master's programmes of the department at Utrecht University.



As the ideal candidate, you have:

  • A Master's degree in Marine Ecology, Marine Biogeochemistry, or a related field, ultimately obtained at the start of the position;
  • Experience with, and ability to perform, field work and laboratory environmental science techniques;
  • Experience conducting analytical chemical measurements;
  • Knowledge on blue carbon ecosystems.

Other desired skills:

  • Working with programming software such as Matlab, R or Python;
  • General background in statistical methods;
  • Knowledge on basic physiology of macrophytes;
  • Knowledge on carbonate chemistry and the carbon cycle;
  • Good organisational and communication skills;
  • Excellent skills in writing and speaking English (c1 level);
  • An open, critical, and interdisciplinary mindset.

If you already have a PhD degree, unfortunately, we cannot consider you for this position.

Terms of employment:

You will be offered a full-time PhD position, initially for one year with extension to four years in total upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The gross monthly salary starts with € 2,770 in the first year and increases to € 3,539 in the fourth year of employment with a full-time appointment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8,3% per year. A pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities.

In addition to the collective employment conditions, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development, leave arrangements, sports and cultural schemes, and you get discounts on software and other IT products. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow. For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.

About the organisations:

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With a population of 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, Sustainable Development, and Human Geography & Spatial Planning.

The Department of Earth Sciences conducts teaching and research across the full range of the solid Earth and environmental Earth sciences, with activities in almost all areas of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, biogeology and hydrogeology. The department hosts a highly international tenured staff of over 50 scientists and more than 110 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. Our research programme spans four intertwined themes: Climate & Life, Earth interior, Earth materials, and Environmental Earth Sciences. We house or have access to a wide variety of world-class laboratories, including our HPT-laboratory.

About Utrecht:

Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands with a population of nearly 360,000 and forms a hub in the middle of the country. Its historical city centre and its modern central station can easily be reached from our campus in Utrecht Science Park by public transport or by a 15-minute bicycle ride. Utrecht boasts beautiful canals with extraordinary wharf cellars housing cafés and terraces by the water, as well as a broad variety of shops and boutiques.

Additional information:

For informal questions, please contact Dr Cale Miller at c.a.miller@uu.nl.

How to apply:

To apply, please use this link to go to the advertisement on UU's own website and follow the guidelines mentioned there. We aim for a quick selection procedure after the application deadline of May 15th, 2024. The preferred starting date is as soon as possible thereafter.

Note that international candidates that need a visa/work permit for the Netherlands require at least four months processing time after selection and acceptance. This will be arranged with help of the International Service Desk (ISD) of our university. Finding appropriate housing in or near Utrecht is your own responsibility and, unfortunately, we must warn that it is a tight market at the moment. In case of general questions about working and living in The Netherlands, please consult the Dutch Mobility Portal.

Online screening may be part of the selection. Commercial response to this ad is not appreciated.

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posted: 30 April 2024     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.