Assistant Professor Biological Feedbacks in the Marine Carbon Cycle

Assistant Professor Biological Feedbacks in the Marine Carbon Cycle

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12 Oct yesterday Amsterdam

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Job description

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam started 2023 with 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:

For one of the positions, embedded in the FAME department, we are now looking for a new Assistant Professor Biological Feedbacks in the Marine Carbon Cycle.

An improved understanding of the global carbon cycle, including its feedback mechanisms and potential controls, is one of the major scientific challenges of the 21st century. Marine organisms play a key role in the global carbon cycle. Large quantities of CO2 are fixed by marine phytoplankton, seagrass beds and kelp forests; marine bacteria and sponges process massive amounts of organic carbon; calcium carbonate is incorporated in the shells and skeletons of molluscs, corals and many other calcifying organisms. All these biological processes are strongly affected by environmental change. Yet, quantitative understanding of the biological feedbacks in the marine carbon cycle is still in its infancy.

Introduction to the department of Freshwater and Marine Ecology
The research will be embedded in the Department of Freshwater and Marine Ecology (FAME) of the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Our research aims to unravel how aquatic ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities. The focus lies on the interactions between aquatic organisms and their abiotic environment, including the roles of different organisms in primary production, biogeochemical cycles and water quality, and the temporal and spatial dynamics that emerge from these interactions.

Research in our department spans five research field: (1) Aquatic environmental chemistry, (2) benthic ecology, (3) microbial ecology, (4) plankton ecology & evolution, and (5) coral reef ecology. Our approach includes detailed molecular studies, advanced laboratory experiments, dedicated field studies, and the development of new mathematical models. We have extensive analytical facilities for chemical analyses, culture facilities for bacteria, phytoplankton and aquatic invertebrates, and a fully equiped research vessel for lake research. Furthermore, we frequently join oceanographic cruises through the Dutch National Marine Facilities and have a long-standing collaboration with the Caribbean research institute CARMABI for coral reef research.

The University of Amsterdam has excellent high performance computing facilities and IBED has a dedicated computational support team with specialized knowledge of bioinformatics, (geo)database management and scientific programming.

With an improved scientific understanding, we aim to support the sustainable management of freshwater and marine ecosystems at local and global scales.

Research profile
We wish to appoint a promising candidate developing mathematical or computational models at the interface of marine biology, biogeochemistry and climate change, and with a keen interest to investigate biological feedbacks in the marine carbon cycle.

The candidate is expected to develop their own research line and to contribute to collaborative research within the institute and with (inter)national partners. It would be ideal if the candidate works on models that can connect one or more of the research fields in our department to the marine carbon cycle. Examples of potential lines of research of the successful candidate include dynamics of dissolved organic carbon, global models of marine primary production, CO2 fixation and plankton community structure, the biological carbon pump and ocean-atmosphere CO2 exchange, impacts of ocean acidification on calcifying organisms, blue carbon in coastal ecosystems, and so on.

We appreciate data-driven model approaches, and also welcome candidates that would like to combine models with global data analysis or remote sensing of marine ecosystems. Research that can link carbon dynamics across the freshwater-marine continuum would also fit excellently within the department.

In IBED, close collaboration within and between departments is encouraged. For example, the Department of Theoretical and Computational Ecology (TCE) holds extensive expertise in modelling and computational research, and have opened new positions on climate change and land use impacts. The Department of Ecosystem and Landscape Dynamics (ELD) has recently hired an Assistant Professor ‘Carbon cycle dynamics in terrestrial ecosystems’ linking modelling and empirical data analysis, which creates a further interesting opportunity for potential collaboration.

Educational profile
The candidate is expected to contribute to one or more of the university teaching programs that IBED is involved in, such as the BSc Future Planet Studies, BSc Biological Sciences, MSc Earth Sciences and MSc Biological Sciences. Educational tasks include lectures in courses, teaching of skills and techniques in laboratory and fieldwork, the development of programming skills, and the supervision of BSc and MSc students during internships. For this position, we are searching for educational expertise in the fields of aquatic biogeochemistry and/or ecosystem models as well as the teaching of programming skills relevant in these fields. Examples of courses to contribute to include: Dynamische systemen in de Biologie, Toekomstperspectief voor de Aarde, Biological Oceanography and Digital Earth. There will also be opportunities to develop new courses in the field of aquatic biogeochemistry, Earth system models and/or marine remote sensing.

In addition, all our staff members are expected to contribute some of their time to organisational tasks in research and/or education management at the university.

What are you going to do?
  • Conduct and develop high-quality research within the area of academic specialisation resulting in publications in leading academic journals;
  • Supervise research of PhD candidates and postdocs;
  • Contribute to education, in the fields of aquatic biogeochemistry and/or ecosystem models;
  • Supervise research internships and literature reviews of BSc and MSc students;
  • Acquire funding through national and international research grants, governmental or private sectors;
  • Collaborate with colleagues in the department of Freshwater and Marine Ecology, and in other departments of IBED;
  • Engage in and foster collaboration with other scientists in the Netherlands and abroad, to build a broad national and international network;
  • Contribute to scientific outreach through diverse media channels, public events or engagement with stakeholders outside academia.

The overall balance of the work for this position will be approximately 50% research, 40% education, and 10% organisational tasks.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


The successful candidate will have
  • A PhD in a relevant research field (e.g., oceanography, biogeochemistry, marine biology, climate change research);
  • Several years of postdoctoral experience (or similar level);
  • Excellent modeling skills, with experience with models in e.g. biogeochemistry, oceanography and/or earth sciences;
  • Proven knowledge of biological processes in the marine carbon cycle;
  • A good track record of publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals;
  • At least some experience in university teaching, for instance in the field of marine biogeochemistry, ecosystem dynamics and/or ocean-climate models;
  • Experience supervising BSc, MSc and/or PhD students;
  • Team player, with interest in collaborative (inter-disciplinary) research across the fields of marine biology, biogeochemistry and computational modeling;
  • Ability to acquire research funding;
  • Fluency in English and in Dutch; or ability to learn Dutch to a level appropriate for communication within the institute and education program (B2 level).

  • Extensive network in marine biology, biogeochemistry and/or ocean climate sciences;
  • Experience with public outreach and societal engagement;
  • Scientific creativity and innovative analysis, i.e., the extra spark that is needed to work at the forefront of scientific research.

Conditions of employment

A temporary contract for 30-38 hours a week, preferably starting early in 2024 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) level.

Your salary, depending on your relevant experience on commencement of the employment contract, ranges between € 4,332 to € 5,929 gross per month 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.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:
  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;
  • Multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • Multiple courses on topics such as time management and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;
  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
  • Partly paid parental leave;
  • The possibility to set up a workplace at home;
  • A pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • The possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
  • Help with your registration at UvA Staff Housing (application for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad).

Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.

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. 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 functioning of the brain.

The Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics is one of eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science. 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 (soil and water quality) and biotic factors (ecology and evolution of plants, animals, and microorganisms), 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. IBED also works with non-academic partners to deliver transdisciplinary science for society.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

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. €4332 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 12224


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Science Park 904, 1098XH, Amsterdam

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