PhD position at VU Amsterdam on High latitude carbon-fire feedbacks (1.0 FTE)

PhD position at VU Amsterdam on High latitude carbon-fire feedbacks (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
5 Apr 19 May Utrecht

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VU Amsterdam is looking for a PhD candidate on High latitude carbon-fire feedbacks (1.0 FTE). Interested? Read more and apply here.

Job description

- Please note that this is a position at the VU Amsterdam -

Little is known about the carbon fluxes (CO2 and CH4) during and after tundra fires. The PhD candidate will visit burned tundra sites to estimate direct carbon losses due to fire and the longer-term impact of fire on the carbon balance of tundra ecosystems, including post-fire degradation and recovery of underlying permafrost. Field measurements will be combined with satellite imagery for up-scaling, and with predictions of future climate and lightning to better understand the vulnerability of high latitude carbon stocks to fire.  

The project is one of 30 PhD positions focusing on climate research, still available and to be found on the NESSC website (Netherlands Earth System Science Centre). NESSC is a so-called Gravitation Programme, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). The programme is co-funded with a Grant that has been awarded from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme: the Marie S.Curie COFUND programme, grant agreement No 847504. For this reason a minimum of 13 of the PhD positions are subject to EU eligibility criteria, to be selected when all applications have been received.


All PhD positions have full funding for four years and employment conditions are subject to the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement. The PhD positions will be hosted at one of the NESSC research institutes: Utrecht University, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Radboud University Nijmegen, VU University Amsterdam or Wageningen University.

NESSC brings scientists together with a background in Physics, Earth Sciences, Ecology and Mathematics. To better understand the processes behind climate change and to improve future climate projections and predictions. NESSC offers young academics the opportunity to work on important scientific topics in not previously existing partnerships, and thus creates the conditions for innovative, groundbreaking and multidisciplinary research, including both experimental and theoretical approaches. Please click here for general information about NESSC and here for NESSC research.


Utrecht University


NESSC will host excellent, talented, enthusiastic, highly motivated and goal-oriented Early Stage Researchers, with a no-nonsense mentality. The ideal candidates are interested in past and/or current climate research, are highly motivated to perform research in an excellent, exciting and international working environment, and are committed to a 4 year PhD track. They are excited about moving to the Netherlands and to perform a secondment at one of the NESSC COFUND Partner Organisations in the Netherlands or globally. 


For this project we seek a PhD candidate with a Master’s degree in Earth Sciences, Ecology or Remote Sensing.

General requirements for applicants

  • Candidates did not reside or carry out their main activity (e.g. reside, work, studies) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months during the 3 years immediately prior to the date of appointment (time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention, compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account)*.
  • Candidates hold an MSc degree (or will graduate before the appointment date) in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Ecology, Earth Sciences and/or Environmental Sciences.
  • Candidates are in the first four years of their research careers at the start of their NESSC COFUND appointment (full-time equivalent research experience, measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree entitling him or her to embark on a doctorate) and have not been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • Excellent proficiency of the English language (both oral and written).
  • The ability to work both independently in challenging environments and in a multidisciplinary team. Excellent communication skills and cooperation skills are required.
  • An inquisitive mind-set, accuracy, creativity and self-reliance are very important. You are required to be flexible, mobile and pro-active.
  • Enthusiasm to attend the full training programme as offered in the project and to actively contribute to the project aims and objectives.
  • High interest in receiving training from supervisors from different institutes, disciplines and sectors, this will require regular travelling within the Netherlands.
  • High motivation to contribute to the dissemination of results and outreach to both specialists and the public at large.
  • Enthusiasm to visit a Partner Organisation for a secondment (internship), in or outside the Netherlands, as this is part of the programme. Additional research visits to international institutes for research collaborations are expected.
  • Strong motivation to obtain a PhD degree.

*If you do not qualify for the first criteria, you can still submit your application if you would like to be considered for the NON-COFUND positions.

Conditions of employment

The selected candidates will be offered a full-time PhD position at one of the NESSC institutes, initially for one year. The first formal assessment will be held between month 10 and 16 of employment, if found positive the ESR will be offered the full 48 months of PhD employment.

Your gross salary will be in line with the Collective Labour Agreement of your employer. The full-time gross monthly salary ranges from €2,325 to start with in the first year, to €2,972 in the fourth year. 

The salary is supplemented by a guaranteed end-of-year bonus of 8.3% and a holiday allowance of 8% of your yearly salary. We offer a pension scheme (partly paid by employer), collective insurance schemes, parental leave, travel allowance (home to work and for work purposes), and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). Facilities for sports and child care are available.


The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 23,000 students. We employ more than 4,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.


Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.

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 around 6,000 students.

The Department of Earth Sciences studies the Earth as a fully coupled system with emphasis on the interactions between the geo-, hydro-, bio-, cryo-, and atmosphere. Our main goal is to improve our understanding of the processes (including anthropogenic) that ultimately shape our planet and affect our daily lives. We offer high-class teaching and carry out our ambitious and innovative research in a dynamic academic environment, supported by excellent research facilities.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • max. €2325 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1037894



Domplein 29, 3512 JE, Utrecht

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