PhD ClipsMicro reducing emissions NIOO-KNAW - Wageningen

PhD ClipsMicro reducing emissions NIOO-KNAW - Wageningen

Published Deadline Location
14 Feb 27 Mar Wageningen

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Can cover crops and compost combat climate change? Discover how to steer soil and residue microbiomes to obtain climate friendly agricultural soils.

Job description

The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO) is a top research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Mission of the NIOO is to carry out excellent fundamental and strategic research in ecology.

The department of Microbial Ecology offers a:

PhD POSITION on Reducing greenhouse gas emission from agricultural soils within the ClipsMicro

(Climate proof soils by steering soil and residue microbiomes) financed by NWA (National Science Agenda, Climate friendly agricultural soils).

The ClipsMicro project

Dutch agriculture faces the major challenge of contributing to reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. This objective can be contributed to by sequestrating more CO2 in soils and crops while at the same time reducing the emission of other greenhouse gases. In the NWA call 'Climate-friendly agricultural soils' two projects focus on how microbes in the soil, separately or in collaboration with plants, can contribute to increased carbon storage and decreased emissions of greenhouse gases, especially nitrous oxide. Within the ClipsMIcro project, researchers from Utrecht University (UU) , the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), the Louis Bolk Institute and Aeres University of Applied Sciences (Dronten) will be working with companies from the agricultural, horticultural, the plant breeding, the composting and soil analysis sectors. This combination of scientific and agro-business partners will develop novel strategies that utilize refined composts and cover crops to steer and nurture microorganisms in soil and organic inputs to realize a year-round contribution of the soil microbiome to carbon sequestration and mitigation of GHG emissions in arable sandy soils.

Whitin the ClipsMicro project we are hiring two PhD students that collaborate closely. One student is appointed at NIOO-KNAW, one at UU. This opening describes the PhD position at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW). For the Job position at UU, with a focus on enhanced carbon sequestration using refined compost, please see the opening at Utrecht University.

PhD position at the NIOO

You will be testing cover crops on their potential to inhibit nitrification and hence, reduce emission of N2O from soils and will determine the chemical compounds responsible for this biological nitrification inhibition (BNI). With selected BNI-cover crops, you will execute greenhouse and field experiments where you will assess the effects of combinations of cover, main crop and refined composts on greenhouse gas emissions and dynamics of the living and dead microbial biomass. You will also focus on diversity and functioning of microbial groups involved in nitrogen and carbon cycling and will relate this to physical and chemical soil properties. Experiments will be carried in close cooperation with a PhD based at Utrecht University as well as with partners involved in the project. Experience in one of the following fields is required; chemical analytical (GC, MS, IRMS or similar), molecular biological analyses, soil chemical and physical; soil microbiology; biogeochemistry.


This is a temporary appointment, initially for 1 year and upon satisfaction to be prolonged for a maximum of 4 years (1.0 fte). The preferred starting date is 1 September 2023.


The Netherlands Institute of Ecology, NIOO-KNAW in Wageningen, The Netherlands.


For more information please contact dr. Paul Bodelier (tel. +31-317473485, email or prof. Eiko Kuramae ( (Tel. +31 31747502). Information on the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) can be found at the website: Information on the ClipsMicro project can be found;


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)


General requirements:

We are looking for highly motivated candidates with MSc degrees in soil (microbial) ecology, biogeochemistry or a related discipline. For all candidates we require good communication, writing and presentation skills. We expect you to be fluent in English and have a driver's license B. Speaking Dutch will be an advantage. The candidates should have experience with statistical analyses, including multivariate quantitative analysis. If not available, candidates have to be willing to learn these techniques. Experience with (coordinating) fieldwork are important assets. The candidate should be able to function well in a multidisciplinary research team and be able to communicate about results and research questions with a wide variety of stakeholders.

Conditions of employment

Terms of employment
Depending on education and experience the minimum salary is € 2.541,00 and the maximum salary is € 3.247,- gross per month for a full-time appointment (scale P cao Nederlandse Universiteiten/KNAW). This is exclusive of 8% vacation allowance, 8.3% year-end bonus, travel allowance, internet allowance, home working allowance and pension accrual with ABP.

The KNAW offers its staff an excellent package of secondary benefits. A package that meets the different needs of employees depending on their stage of life, lifestyle or career ambitions. For example, by working an extra two hours a week, it is possible to increase the number of days off from 29 to 41 days a year (with full-time employment).

For a complete overview of the terms of employment, please refer to the web page: werken bij de KNAW.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1394


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

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Droevendaalsesteeg 10, 6708PB, Wageningen

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