Postdoctoral research position on a project to quantify spatial patterns in Antarctic terrestrial biodiversity

Postdoctoral research position on a project to quantify spatial patterns in Antarctic terrestrial biodiversity

Published Deadline Location
25 Jan 7 Feb Amsterdam
"Do you have experience with synthesizing and upscaling ecological research data related to polar ecosystems? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam."

Job description

Protecting Antarctic biodiversity is a key aspect of the Antarctic Treaty System, but difficult to achieve given the paucity in spatially explicit data of Antarctic terrestrial biodiversity. To address this issue, a multidisciplinary project "The Antarctic biota count (ABC)" is ongoing to deliver spatially explicit data on terrestrial biodiversity along the Antarctic Peninsula. By quantifying spatial patterns and cryptogam (moss and lichen) functional traits underlying biodiversity and associated ecosystem process rates we aim to develop a systematic approach to Antarctic conservation planning. Within the ABC project we are looking for a motivated researcher who wants to contribute to Antarctic conservation through integrating data from this project on spatial biodiversity patterns and ecosystem processes. The main objective is to deliver a data-driven approach to Antarctic conservation planning and provide a baseline to which future changes can be monitored. The project runs in close collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey (UK).

Applicants are requested to write a letter in which they describe their abilities and motivation, accompanied by a curriculum vitae and the names of one or two references.

Your duties
  • integrate the data on cryptogam and invertebrate biodiversity patterns obtained from the ABC-project and literature into a single online tool to inform policy makers and ATM members on decisions regarding specially protected nature reserves (ASPAs) in the Antarctic terrestrial environment
  • translate the biodiversity and trait data so that it can be implemented by policy makers
  • freedom to address further fundamental research questions regarding cryptogam trait ecology


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • PhD in ecological sciences with experience in functional traits and biodiversity
  • experience in polar ecology is advantageous
  • experience with management and spatial analysis of large data sets (e.g. GIS, meta-analysis, remote sensing analyses)
  • experience with communicating science to policy makers or willingness to develop this
  • proficiency with statistical approaches and use of R.
  • excellent social skills to work in an interdisciplinary international research team
  • English language proficiency both in speech and in writing, the latter evidenced by high-level international publications

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,960 (scale 10)
and a maximum €4,670 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. The job profile 'Onderzoeker 4' is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The initial employment contract will affect a period of 1 year.
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
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • 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.

The section Systems Ecology answers fundamental ecological and evolutionary questions regarding the relationship between organisms and their environment at the full array of hierarchical levels: from molecular ecology to ecosystem research. The department comprises a dynamic community of researchers and provides an excellent research environment with state-of-the-art facilities and high quality training.

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 07/02/2023. The job interviews are planned for late February or early March, when possible please take them into account when applying for the position.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Prof.dr. J.H.C. Cornelissen
Position: Full Professor

No agencies


  • Postdoc
  • max. 30.4 hours per week
  • €2960—€4670 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 13615


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 7 Feb 2023 23:58 (Europe/Amsterdam).