PhD Position on Assessing Carbon Sequestration in Blue Ecosystems

PhD Position on Assessing Carbon Sequestration in Blue Ecosystems

Published Deadline Location
27 Mar 15 May Utrecht

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Join our exciting project on Assessing carbon sequestration in BLUe EcoSystems, that brings together researchers from 18 European and 3 Chinese institutes.

Job description

The C-Blues project on Carbon sequestration in BLUe EcoSystems aims to advance the scientific knowledge on blue carbon ecosystems – seagrasses, tidal marshes, mangroves and macroalgae – in order to promote the role of blue carbon ecosystems in sequestering greenhouse gas emissions and their inclusion into climate mitigation.

Your job
At Utrecht University, we seek a motivated PhD candidate with knowledge and experience related to marine ecology and biogeochemistry to conduct:
  1. field experiments and sampling of sediment cores, operating autonomous sensors, and perform seawater collection, in nearshore salt marsh, seagrass, and possibly mangrove ecosystems;
  2. sample processing of collected field data in the lab using geochemical analytical instrumentation such as mass spectrometry of sediment material and seawater analyses (e.g. titrations); and
  3. to work with international consortium colleagues.

You will work on site at field locations in different European coastal regions for extended periods of time (potentially 1-2 months on site). You will be directly supervised by Cale Miller with secondary supervision support by Jack Middelburg at Utrecht University.

You are expected to publish your results in peer-reviewed academic journals as Open Science contributions. A personalised training programme will be set up, reflecting your training needs and career objectives. About 20% of your time will be dedicated to this training component, which includes training on the job in assisting in the Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes of the department at Utrecht University.


Utrecht University


You have experience conducting laboratory and data analyses, are able to work independently and within a team, and display creativity and motivation about the project objectives. Background knowledge in marine biology and carbonate chemistry is a plus. Furthermore, you have:
  • a Master’s degree in Marine Ecology, Marine Biogeochemistry, or a related field, ultimately obtained at the start of the position;
  • experience with, and ability to perform, field work and laboratory environmental science techniques;
  • experience conducting analytical chemical measurements;
  • knowledge on blue carbon ecosystems.

Other desired, but not required, skills:
  • working with programming software such as Matlab, R or Python;
  • general background in statistical methods;
  • knowledge on basic physiology of macrophytes;
  • knowledge on carbonate chemistry and the carbon cycle;
  • good organisational and communication skills;
  • excellent skills in writing and speaking English (C1 level);
  • an open, critical, and interdisciplinary mindset.

If you already have a PhD degree, unfortunately, we cannot consider you for this position.

Conditions of employment

We offer:
  • a position for one year, with an extension to a total of four years upon a successful assessment, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this total period;
  • a working week of 36 hours and a gross monthly salary between €2,770 and €3,539 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale P under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU));
  • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO NU.

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development, leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities, as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University.


Universiteit Utrecht

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 Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow.

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 Department of Earth Sciences conducts teaching and research across the full range of the solid Earth and environmental Earth sciences, with activities in almost all areas of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, biogeology and hydrogeology. The department hosts a highly international tenured staff of over 50 scientists and more than 110 PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers. Our research programme spans four intertwined themes: Climate & Life, Earth interior, Earth materials, and Environmental Earth Sciences. We house or have access to a wide variety of world-class laboratories.

The department and its facilities are located at Utrecht Science Park. Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands with a population of nearly 360,000 and forms a hub in the middle of the country. Its historical city centre and its modern central station can easily be reached from the Science Park by public transport or by a 15-minute bicycle ride. Utrecht boasts beautiful canals with extraordinary wharf cellars housing cafés and terraces by the water, as well as a broad variety of shops and boutiques


  • PhD; Research, development, innovation; Education
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3779



Princetonlaan 8a, 3584CB, Utrecht

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