Associate professor in the ecology of biogeochemical cycling

Associate professor in the ecology of biogeochemical cycling

Published Deadline Location
18 Jan 6 Feb Amsterdam

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Are you passionate about research and teaching in ecology and biogeochemical cycling? Do you want to work in an enthusiastic and diverse team? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Job description

Are you an experienced researcher in biogeochemical cycling, particularly in the context of land-use and climate change? We are looking for a long-term colleague who can emphasize the earth sciences dimension in our focus on ecological and evolutionary aspects of carbon, nutrient and water cycling to help understand and solve pressing environmental issues related to human activities on planet Earth.

The Systems Ecology section (one of two Ecology and Evolution groups in A-LIFE) has an internationally recognized strong track record in biogeochemistry, biodiversity, plant trait ecology and microbial ecology. Burning environmental and societal issues, like global climate change, land-use and nitrogen deposition, are an integral part of this research. Crossing these themes, we have been on the international forefront of research on peatlands from temperate to polar regions. We also work on land management and the policies needed to safeguard these unique ecosystems, and their carbon storage and climate change mitigation function, into the future. We like to to strengthen and expand this research field in our section. In particular, we are looking for someone who will study the microbial and biophysical mechanisms underpinning carbon and nutrient dynamics in peatlands.

The position entails about 40% teaching, 40% research, 20% management (e.g. via heading a teaching or research related committee). You are expected to teach and coordinate courses in the bachelor curriculum Biology (which has been rated Top Curriculum at the national level for six years running) as well as in the MSc Ecology and Evolution curriculum, which is shared between Vrije Universiteit and University of Amsterdam. In addition you will supervise BSc and MSc students in their research thesis projects.

If you are interested in this position, we would like you to include a concise research statement and teaching statement (each max. 1.5 pages) in your application materials. In the research statement, please identify and present how your research plans will contribute to the research portfolio of the section Systems Ecology as well as to that of A-LIFE. In the teaching statement please reflect on your teaching vision and explain how you might contribute to the teaching in the above-mentioned curricula.

Your duties
  • lead and execute scientific research projects, and publish in high quality journals
  • develop a primarily externally-funded research programme in your research field
  • develop and promote academic leadership
  • teach BSc and MSc courses related to ecology and biogeochemistry, environmental changes and management, biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • provide high quality training and supervision to PhD students and postdocs
  • supervise MSc and BSc student projects
  • take up the position of internship coordinator of the joint VU-UvA Ecology and Evolution master
  • engage in professional development activities related to teaching


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • a PhD degree in Ecology
  • a strong international scientific record in ecology and biogeochemistry in the context of environmental pressures, and preferably on peatlands
  • proven experience with acquiring funding in this research field, aided by your extensive network with academic and societal partners nationally and internationally
  • proven academic teaching record with a formal professional academic teaching qualification
  • a strong commitment, innovative spirit and a clear vision in teaching
  • excellent communication skills (written and spoken English) and team sprit
  • proficiency in Dutch is not required at application stage. However, we do expect you to develop at least a passive proficiency in the first three years

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 18 months.

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of € 5,506 (scale 13)
and a maximum € 7,362 (scale 14), depending on your education and experience. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

We offer a position at the level of Associate Professor. A career plan to grow from Associate Professor to Full Professor will be made and formalized in a Career Track agreement. The initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months. 15 Months after the starting date, performance will be evaluated. After a successful evaluation permanent employment will be granted.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge
  • contribution to commuting expenses


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor - from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam's Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to more than 11,000 students.

About the institute
You will be part of the section Systems Ecology, which is part of the Amsterdam Institute for Life and Environment (A-LIFE) at VU. A-LIFE brings together the groups of Molecular Cell Biology, Environment & Health, and Ecological Sciences. Our aim is to advance the fundamental understanding of the interplay between life and its environment. A-LIFE seeks to connect properties and behaviors across all scales, from molecules to ecosystems, including human populations.


  • Associate professor
  • 30.4—38 hours per week
  • €5506—€7362 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 13587


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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