Assistant Professor Spatial Ecosystem Resilience (1.0 FTE)

Assistant Professor Spatial Ecosystem Resilience (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
5 Apr 31 May Utrecht

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Would you like to develop and test theory for emerging resilience by spatial processes through mathematical modelling? Then apply.

Job description

The Section Environmental Sciences of the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University invites self-motivated candidates for a tenure-track assistant professor position in Spatial Ecosystem Resilience. We look for candidates who have an excellent research record and an interest to teach in our Bachelor's programme Global Sustainability Science as well as our Master's programmes Sustainable Development and Water Science and Management. 

There is an urgent need to understand the critical effects that global change can have on the earth, its system elements and ecosystems. One area of concern is the imminent tipping of earth system elements and ecosystems. Recent discoveries indicate that tipping could be evaded and even reversed in these systems through spatial processes, thereby creating unexpected pathways of resilience. You will develop and test theory for emerging resilience by spatial processes through mathematical modelling and link this with real tipping-prone ecosystems undergoing global change. Central to your approach is the combination of modelling and empirical work including the analysis of data from remote sensing and large global data sets (for instance through Google Earth Engine).

The successful candidate is expected to develop an internationally renowned research line and acquire new research funds. Coaching and supervising PhD candidates will also be one of the responsibilities. Teaching will include courses related to system analysis, environmental change, quantifying resilience, as well as interdisciplinary or methodological courses. You will also supervise individual BSc theses and MSc thesis projects. The working time will be split between 50% teaching and 50% research for the first two years, and 60% teaching and 40% research thereafter.

The section Environmental Sciences is one of the five research groups of the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. It is a dynamic, ambitious and internationally leading team of researchers with a focus on fundamental and applied research on human-environment-ecosystem interactions, through a system approach and across spatial and temporal scales. The research of the Copernicus Institute has been evaluated by an international review in 2021 as being of excellent scientific quality.


Utrecht University


We look for candidates with a PhD in environmental sciences and/or ecology or a related discipline, and with proven interest in and experience with spatial system analysis, remote sensing, and the analysis of large global datasets. We encourage applications from candidates who additionally:
  • have affinity in working in an interdisciplinary research and teaching environment;
  • have experience with and interest in academic teaching;
  • hold a Dutch Teaching Qualification (BKO) or are willing to acquire this in the near future;
  • have an eye for innovations in teaching methods and are prepared to contribute to the optimization of the quality of teaching;
  • have scientific creativity and productivity, as shown by recent peer-reviewed publications in relevant fields of research;
  • are fluent in English speaking and writing at an academic level;
  • are effective and efficient, able to think outside the box, have excellent social skills and are team players;
  • are willing and able to acquire and carry out externally funded projects.

Conditions of employment

We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for 18 months in an international working environment. Permanent employment will be offered based upon good performance, according to the Faculty’s performance indicators, after one year. The gross salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience  - ranges between €3,974 and €5,439 (scale 11 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year.

In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The position is embedded at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, in the Environmental Sciences group. The Copernicus Institute is the scientific institute for sustainability research and teaching of Utrecht University. The mission of the Environmental Sciences group is to understand human-environment-ecosystem interactions, through a system approach and across spatial and temporal scales, for a sustainable society, healthy environment and resilient ecosystems.


  • Lecturer; Assistant professor; Associate professor; Professor
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €3974—€5439 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 1208438



Princetonlaan 8a, 3584 CB, Utrecht

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