Postdoctoral Fellows in AI for Biodiversity Monitoring

Postdoctoral Fellows in AI for Biodiversity Monitoring

Published Deadline Location
10 Jun 26 Jun Leiden

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Would you like to create AI algorithms to automatically detect hundreds of animal and plant species in the wild? To help monitor biodiversity across Europe? To collaborate with AI and biodiversity experts, as part of a team and with partners in many European countries?

Job description

Naturalis is looking for Postdoctoral Fellows in AI for Biodiversity Monitoring. We have two positions available, as part of projects funded by Horizon Europe. At Naturalis, you will work in a team with experts in both AI and biodiversity, and you will also collaborate with project partners in other European institutions.

Machine learning ("AI") automatic recognition has a huge potential for large-scale biodiversity monitoring. In this project you will work on creating algorithms that perform highly accurate recognition in the wild, across a wide range of species of European importance (such as birds, bats, pollinators, molluscs, indicator species, invasive alien species), across multiple countries and habitats. You will implement and validate algorithms for high accuracy, robustness and generality, focussing on the species and habitats identified as important by our consortium. You will co-curate audio/image datasets from collections and other media, for robust algorithm training and validation. You will work with software developers and IT staff to deploy these algorithms as live services.

You may specialise in images, or sounds, or both, according to the mix of skills in the team and the demands of the project.

The work will be carried out in the Evolutionary Ecology research group, which focuses on contemporary evolution. Its 6 principal investigators, 2 postdocs and 4 PhD students all study how man-made environments create selective landscapes that invoke adaptations of wild animals and plants. 




Essential knowledge, skills and experience:

  • A PhD* in a topic such as machine learning, quantitative ecology, quantitative biology, signal processing, bioinformatics or similar
  • Evidence of the ability to conduct high-quality research and write publications for high impact scientific journals/proceedings
  • Excellence in written and oral communication in English
  • Self-directed planning and time management skills
  • The ability to work independently as well as collaboratively within the research group
  • Proficient in programming e.g. Python, PyTorch, or Tensorflow

Desirable knowledge, skills and experience:

  • Experience of working with media data (audio and/or images), ideally within the context of automatic recognition
  • Proven experience collaborating with colleagues in other research disciplines
  • You have an interest in/affinity with biodiversity, and the field of natural sciences and biology
  • Experience in grant writing/demonstrated ability to acquire external funding
  • Work experience in multiple research environments
  • Experience in teaching and/or supervising student projects

* We will take your application into consideration if you are close to finishing your PhD (which means your PhD defence is scheduled within three months after the starting date).

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year with possibility of extension.

We offer

A contract (36 hours per week) for a period of one year, with the intention to be extended with one and potentially two more years after a successful first year evaluation, and a monthly salary between € 3,208.- and € 4,738,-  (depending on relevant experience). The planned start date is November 1st 2022.

The successful candidate will be employed by Naturalis in Leiden and benefit from our inspiring working atmosphere, as well as the buzzing scientific atmosphere of Leiden. Our Research Coordination Office also provides ample support to our scientific staff.

Our institute promotes gender equality and wants to enhance the diversity of staff members.


Naturalis Biodiversity Center

Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden is the Dutch national research institute for biodiversity and systematics. With our collection of 42 million specimens, one of the world's largest natural history collections, and our state-of-the-art research facilities we offer the (inter)national research infrastructure for species, identification and monitoring (for example in the projects ARISEDiSSCo and Xeno Canto). We run nature identification services processing many millions of images/month for users including citizens and regional government agencies. We closely collaborate with many Dutch universities, research institutes, industry, and government. We host over 120 researchers including 14 academia embedded professors and 40 PhD students. We present the history of our planet, and the diversity of life on Earth, through permanent and temporary museum exhibitions, educational programmes, and online presence, with more than 400,000 visitors per year. All in all, a unique combination of science and culture in the Netherlands and elsewhere in the world!

The research department is organised in 7 research groups comprising researchers and their postdocs and PhD-students. Naturalis has a completely new lab building, including state-of-the-art molecular facilities, microCT scanners and electron microscopy (SEM and TEM).


  • Research, development, innovation; Postdoc
  • Engineering; Natural sciences
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • €3208—€4738 per month
  • Doctorate
  • AT NA 20220610


Darwinweg 2, 2333 CR, Leiden

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