Assistant or Associate Professor in Land Cover & Land Use Dynamics

Assistant or Associate Professor in Land Cover & Land Use Dynamics

Published Deadline Location
12 Dec 31 Jan Amsterdam

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Job description

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam is opening up several new positions to collaboratively further strengthen the research within the institute.
The research is carried out as a collaboration between the four research departments at IBED:
  1. Ecosystem and Landscape Dynamics (ELD)
  2. Evolutionary and Population Biology (EPB)
  3. Freshwater and Marine Ecology (FAME)
  4. Theoretical and Computational Ecology (TCE)
For one of the positions, embedded in the TCE department, we are looking for a new
Assistant or Associate Professor in Land Cover & Land Use Dynamics (0.8 - 1.0 FTE) focusing on developing and applying models and spatio-temporal data analytics for understanding and predicting the impact of land cover and land use change on biodiversity, ecosystem services or animal habitats.

Ongoing changes in land cover and land use have a major impact on our planet. In the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystems Dynamics at the University of Amsterdam we want to improve our understanding of the consequences of these changes for biodiversity, ecosystem dynamics, and ecosystem services.

Are you a researcher combining diverse Earth Observation datasets (e.g. satellite, lidar and/or radar) with advanced spatio-temporal modelling, informatics and artificial intelligence to gain new insights into the current and future consequences of human activities for species and their habitats?
Then join us at the Department of Theoretical and Computational Ecology (TCE).

Profile Assistant or Associate Professor Land cover dynamics

We are looking for an innovative scientist who uses computationally intensive ecological and environmental research (e.g. data mining, big data analysis, and spatio-temporal modeling) in combination with remote sensing (e.g. satellite, airborne and/or drone data) and biodiversity data (e.g. from structured monitoring programs, vegetation surveys, citizen science, wildlife and insect cameras, acoustic sensors, or bird radars) to address how land use and land cover changes impact biodiversity, ecosystem services and animal habitats. Potential linkages with biodiversity and ecosystem research elsewhere in IBED would be welcome. With skills in remote sensing and big data analytics, the successful candidate can enhance our education at both the BSc and MSc in relation to the use of geospatial analyses and AI tools for environmental, biodiversity and ecosystem research. The research should preferably contribute to innovative approaches at the science-policy interface, e.g. the digital mapping of habitat quality and habitat condition in the context of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, or the development of Digital Twin infrastructure for modelling and forecasting changes in biodiversity.

Introduction to the department of Theoretical and Computational Ecology
This position will be embedded within IBED's Department of Theoretical and Computational Ecology.
However, it is anticipated that the successful candidate would have the potential to develop linkages to other departments within IBED and elsewhere in the university.
Research in the Department of Theoretical and Computational Ecology addresses the complexity of ecological systems in terms of processes, patterns, diversity and functioning. We strive to understand abiotic and biotic drivers of global biodiversity, animal movement and dynamics of ecological communities using advanced theoretical and computational approaches. We address how organisms cope with changing environmental conditions and how nature and life is distributed across our planet. Our research also addresses societal challenges related to sustainable development (e.g. wind energy development), human-wildlife interactions and biodiversity decline.

Our research is organized along three main areas:
  1. Theoretical ecology and evolution where we advance ecological theory through mathematical developments, conceptual structures, and theoretical syntheses
  2. Animal movement and behavioral ecology where we advance understanding of intrinsic and external causes and consequences of animal movement and apply our knowledge to address human wildlife conflicts
  3. Biogeography & macroecology where we quantify how biodiversity and abiotic components of the Earth system interact and vary across space and time, and how responses of species and ecosystems can be predicted and forecasted.
We conduct computationally intensive research through mathematical modelling, spatial explicit modelling, big data analysis, machine learning, development of e-science infrastructure and virtual labs. Our research directly and indirectly contributes to scientifically informed policies. We have been instrumental in developing new methods and analytical approaches for bio-logging, combining GPS and accelerometry (, as well as radar monitoring of animal movement. Our facilities include the UvA Bird Tracking System, two BirdScan radars (bird/insect radars), an operational weather radar data pipeline for ecological research, virtual laboratories for ecological research including centralized databases, a GIS studio, demonstration sites in the biodiversity monitoring infrastructure NIEBA ARISE and UvA-FNWI high performance computing facilities. Furthermore, IBED has a computational support team.

Research profile (~50% of the time)
The successful candidate will perform cutting edge research in developing and applying models and spatio-temporal data analytics for understanding and predicting the impact of land cover and land use change on biodiversity, ecosystem services and habitat quality and condition. This will require integrating diverse types of data such as species distributions, biodiversity inventories or aerial biomass flows derived from various digital and in-situ observational sources with remote sensing observations from satellites (e.g. Copernicus Earth observation programme) or airborne and drone imagery. Depending on the expertise of the candidate, the emphasis may lie on a regional, continental or global scale, or a combination across scales. The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate an ability, and enthusiasm, to collaborate with experts already present within IBED, both within the TCE department and our other departments.

Key research responsibilities include:
  • Develop and establish a research line with a focus on land use impacts on ecosystems by using computational approaches in combination with remote sensing and big biodiversity and environmental data resulting in publications in leading academic journals
  • Supervise research of PhD candidates and postdocs
  • Acquire external funding to sustain and expand your research line.
  • Actively pursue collaborations with relevant stakeholders inside and outside academia.
  • Contribute to scientific outreach and /or societal engagement
On average, IBED staff contribute 30-40% of their time to education, including lecturing and supervising of BSc and MSc students in one or more of the core programs we are involved in: BSc Future Planet studies, BSc Biological Sciences, MSc Earth Sciences, MSc Biological Sciences. Depending on the expertise there are possibilities for contributing to education in new programs in FNWI such as Science and Design. We are searching for a candidate that will contribute to and develop computational learning lines in the core programs we are involved in. Examples of courses to contribute to include: Remote Sensing, Digital Earth, GIS/RS Science in Ecosystem Dynamics, Biodiversity and Global Change Biodiversiteit en Ecologie, Dynamische systemen in de Biologie and Toekomstperspectief voor de Aarde. Furthermore, the candidate is expected to supervise individual BSc and MSc student projects. Staff members are also expected to contribute to the organization of educational programs (e.g. serve as committee members on education or exam committees).

Staff members are also expected to contribute approximately 10% to organisational tasks at the institute or faculty level, such as involvement in educational programs (e.g. serve as committee member or in examination boards). The overall balance of the work load for this position will be approximately 50% research, 40% education, and 10% administration.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


  • A PhD in ecology, physical geography, remote sensing, or a closely related field.
  • Strong quantitative skills and demonstrated experience in programming, modeling and statistical analyses (e.g. R or Python), incl. analyses of spatial, environmental and geographic datasets
  • Strong didactic skills, as evidenced by a track record of delivering university education on biodiversity and ecosystems, physical geography, remote sensing and/or numerical/computational skills.
  • A qualification in university education (equivalent to the Dutch "University Teaching Qualification" BKO); or obtaining the BKO within the first 1-2 years of appointment.
  • A compelling track record of publishing in international peer-reviewed journals and obtaining external research funding.
  • Experience in implementing machine learning, deep learning or other AI methods in ecological or geospatial research.
  • Experience of supervising BSc, MSc and PhD researchers.
  • Fluency in English and in Dutch; or ability to learn Dutch to a level appropriate for communication within the institute and education program.
  • A driven personality and a good team-player
  • Familiarity with funding mechanisms in the Netherlands
  • Extensive network in the field
  • Experience with public outreach and societal engagement

Conditions of employment

A temporary contract for 30-38 hours a week, preferably starting early in 2023 for the duration of 18 months. The position will be permanent, subject to a positive evaluation of your performance during this initial 18-month temporary appointment.
The position will be at the Assistant Professor (Universitair Docent) or Associate Professor (Universitair Hoofddocent) level.
Your salary, depending on your relevant experience on commencement of the employment contract, ranges between €3.974 to €6.181 gross per month if appointed on Assistant Professor level or €5.506 to €7.362 gross per month if appointed as Associate Professor, on the basis of a full working week of 38 hours. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8.3% year-end allowance. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.

Career perspectives & support
IBED offers opportunities for further career development, from Assistant to Associate Professor and from Associate Professor to Full Professor. The position is accompanied by a start-up package.


Faculty of Science

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Together, we create a vibrant, challenging and well-equipped research environment at Amsterdam Science Park. 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 systems underlying biological processes.

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics 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 and biotic factors, 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. The University of Amsterdam has excellent high performance computing facilities. Furthermore, IBED has a dedicated computational support team with specialized knowledge of bioinformatics, (geo)database management and scientific programming. IBED also works with non-academic partners to deliver transdisciplinary science for society.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


  • Assistant professor
  • Natural sciences
  • 30—38 hours per week
  • max. €3974 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 10952


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Science Park 904, 1098XH, Amsterdam

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