Two PhD positions in Dynamics of Ecology (1.0 FTE)

Two PhD positions in Dynamics of Ecology (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
24 May 1 Aug Utrecht

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Fascinated by the complexity of ecological systems? Interested to work at the forefront of quantitative research in the dynamics of biodiversity? Apply now!

Job description

Ecology is inherently complex, yet the global decline of biodiversity and rapid loss of natural areas emphasizes the urgency of the challenge to understand how ecosystems change, to identify the main processes shaping ecological communities. At the same time an ever-increasing amount of data is becoming available, such as large-scale and long-term inventories or (long-term) experiments, which ask for new interdisciplinary methods to make full use of their potential.
The newly formed research unit Quantitative Biodiversity Dynamics (QBD) aims to achieve a better understanding of the dynamics of biodiversity by developing and applying novel and highly interdisciplinary approaches to quantify processes underlying the origination, maintenance and dynamics of biodiversity. Within QBD we have two exciting PhD positions available with a different research focus:

Position 1: Theoretical development of methods to quantify the dynamics of biodiversity
You are interested in the theoretical development of these methods to quantify the dynamics of biodiversity. You will address how to apply and extend current approaches in the field of non-linear dynamics, topological geometry, timeseries analyses and information theory towards a more dynamical interpretation of ecology in the face of non-linear dynamics and (environmental) noise or disturbances. This includes, but is not limited to understanding the robustness of predictions using these methods, scalability issues, the comparison with existing methods and development of novel approaches combining these disciplines.
Position 2: Translating ecological research in efficient management strategies
You are interested in the translation and development of quantitative ecological analyses towards effective management strategies. You will address how to translate existing and novel descriptive ecological analyses towards effective management strategies. This will include but is not limited to the incorporation of explicit quantitative studies in policy and management strategies as well as potentially including software development for implementation by stakeholders. You will explore (inter)national case-studies using these methods including designing trial run restoration and/or management strategies resulting from quantitative analyses and interpretation.


Utrecht University


We are looking for a candidate with:

  • an MSc in Mathematics, Physics or Biology with a clear theoretical background;
  • fluency in English, both in speech and writing;
  • a strong interest in ecological theory, complex systems analysis and (non-linear) dynamics;
  • a strong interest in working collaboratively and interdisciplinary on complex problems.

Conditions of employment

  • a full-time position for four years;
  • a full-time gross salary that starts at €2,443 and increases to €3,122 per month in the fourth year (scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (cao));
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions laid down in the cao for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. For example, there are agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment via the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we like to encourage you to continue to grow.

More information about working at the Faculty of Science can be found here.


You will be appointed in the research unit of Quantitative Biodiversity Dynamics, an interdisciplinary collaboration between Utrecht University Botanic Gardens and the Departments of Biology, Mathematics, Information Sciences as well as the Center for Complex Systems of Utrecht University. We are embedded in the research group of Ecology and Biodiversity at the Department of Biology, part of the Faculty of Science, which consists of many fundamental connections. We have six departments: Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. Each of these departments consists of various institutes that together focus on important social issues. Even more fundamental are the individual research groups, the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects. Find out more about us.

Utrecht University is a friendly and ambitious university at the heart of an ancient city. We love to welcome new scientists to our city – a thriving cultural hub that is consistently rated as one of the world’s happiest cities. We are renowned for our innovative interdisciplinary research and our emphasis on inspirational research and excellent education. We are equally well-known for our familiar atmosphere and the can-do attitude of our people. This lively and inspiring academic environment attracts researchers, professors and PhD candidates from all over the globe, making both the university and the Faculty of Science a vibrant international and wonderfully diverse community.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2443—€3122 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1188877



Padualaan 8, 3584 CH, Utrecht

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