PhD position(s) in Tropical Paleoecology and Biogeography

PhD position(s) in Tropical Paleoecology and Biogeography

Published Deadline Location
9 Dec 15 Jan Amsterdam

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Job description

Are you looking to do a PhD in tropical regions with a focus in paleoecology, modern ecology, and biogeography? Do you have experience in, and affinity for, fieldwork in tropical regions? We have two PhD positions to work within the ERC-funded project ALPHA, or Assessing Legacies of Past Human Activities in Amazonian forests, led by Dr. Crystal McMichael. This project will generate paleoecological datasets, and integrate them with existing ecological datasets from the RAINFOR network, to assess how and whether past human activities affected the structure and composition of Amazonian forests.

What are you going to do?

In this position, you will work closely together with other team members, and develop your thesis in close consultation with the project PI (McMichael) and an advisory team. 

Your specific tasks will consist of:

  • perform fieldwork in remote regions of Amazonia;
  • collect and analyze herbarium material for analysis;
  • analyzing charcoal and phytoliths from collected samples;
  • experimental design and analysis of components of your thesis;
  • writing at least four manuscripts (chapters) for the completion of your thesis;
  • presenting your work at national and international conferences;
  • collaborating with team members;
  • supervising BSc and MSc students;
  • teaching in BSc and/or MSc courses.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


  • Master degree Biological Sciences, Earth Sciences, Ecology, or related field;
  • highly motivated;
  • ability to perform fieldwork in remote locations of Amazonia;
  • passion and enthusiasm for ecology, paleoecology, or biogeography;
  • fluent in written and spoken English;
  • competency with Excel and programming in R;
  • familiarity with light microscopy techniques (preferred).

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1.5 years.

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week, preferably starting after 1 March 2020. Initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be  €2,325 to €2,972 (scale P) gross per month, based on full-time employment (38 hours a week). These amounts are exclusive 8 % holiday allowance and 8,3 end-of-year bonus. A favorable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits? Then find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.


University of Amsterdam

With over 5,000 employees, 30,000 students and a budget of more than 600 million euros, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is an intellectual hub within the Netherlands. Teaching and research at the UvA are conducted within seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics and Business, Law, Science, Medicine and Dentistry. Housed on four city campuses in or near the heart of Amsterdam, where disciplines come together and interact, the faculties have close links with thousands of researchers and hundreds of institutions at home and abroad.  

The UvA’s students and employees are independent thinkers, competent rebels who dare to question dogmas and aren’t satisfied with easy answers and standard solutions. To work at the UvA is to work in an independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.


Faculty of Science – Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 6,500, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) is one of eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. The research at IBED aims to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities. At its core lies an integrated systems approach to study biodiversity, ecosystems and the environment. IBED adopts this systems approach to ecosystems, addressing abiotic (soil and water quality) and biotic factors (ecology and evolution of plants, animals, and microorganisms), and the interplay between those. The IBED vision includes research encompassing experimental and theoretical approaches at a wide variety of temporal and spatial scales, i.e. from molecules and microorganisms to patterns and processes occurring at the global scale.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2325—€2972 per month
  • University graduate
  • 19-837


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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