Published Deadline Location
20 Feb 2 Apr Amsterdam

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 2 Apr 2024).

Browse the current job offers or choose an item in the top navigation above.

Are you interested in contributing to chemical safety and using non-animal models to do so? If you are a creative and proactive scientist with a background in toxicology, biomedical sciences or neuroscience, please apply at the VU!

Job description

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are substances that alter the function of the endocrine system and negatively affect human and animal health. Working within the Horizon Europe project, MERLON (Merging scientific Evidence with Regulatory practices and Leveraging identification of endocrine disruptors using New approach methodologies), we are looking for a PhD candidate to develop New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) focusing on the effects of EDCs and how they impact neuro- and sexual development.

In this PhD project, you will work with zebrafish embryos and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to study how exposure to EDCs during early-life stages will lead to adverse health effects. You will also investigate endpoints and health outcomes that are currently not properly addressed in internationally accepted test guidelines. Multi-generational inherited effects will be assessed using C. elegans, and transcriptomic analysis will support cross-species prediction of EDC-mediated effects. This data will feed into the development of adverse outcome pathways (AOPs), including quantitative AOP (qAOP) development, allowing assessment of thresholds needed to cause an adverse effect.

This project is a collaboration between the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam – Institute for Life and Environment (VUA–A-LIFE) and the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) - Centre for Health Protection, Department of Innovative Testing Strategies. It is financed by the Horizon Europe project MERLON.

The PhD student will be employed at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam within the section of Environmental Health & Toxicology of the A-LIFE department and be enrolled in VUA’s doctoral program. Regular visits to RIVM are foreseen to discuss the project progress. In 2025, RIVM will move to a new building at Utrecht Science Parc. In addition, the PhD student will work a part of his/her PhD at the RIVM to perform experimental and desk work. You will present your results at national and international conferences, and in relevant scientific journals. Your promotion will be at VUA, with (co)promotors from VUA and RIVM.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • You have an MSc degree in Life Sciences, Cell or Molecular Biology, Biomedical Sciences, or a related field with an interest in Toxicology
  • You have an affinity for the field of Endocrinology, Developmental Neurotoxicology or Neuroscience, and/or Endocrine Disruption
  • Good wet lab experimental skills, preferably with experience in in vitro (toxicity) studies, molecular biology and biochemical assays
  • You are a highly motivated multi-tasker with a curiosity for science and attention to detail
  • You are able to work independently as well as in collaboration with others
  • Willingness to alternate between two locations, depending on the results and progress of the project (RIVM Bilthoven/Utrecht and VU Amsterdam)
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English at a level appropriate to scientific research
  • Previous experience with C. elegans or zebrafish models are not required but will be considered a benefit

As a university, we strive for equal opportunities for all, recognising that diversity takes many forms. We believe that diversity in all its complexity is invaluable for the quality of our teaching, research and service. We are always looking for talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences. This also means that we are committed to creating an inclusive community so that we can use diversity as an asset.

We realise that each individual brings a unique set of skills, expertise and mindset. Therefore we are happy to invite anyone who recognises themselves in the profile to apply, even if you do not meet all the requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A challenging position in a socially engaged organisation. At VU Amsterdam, you contribute to education, research and service for a better world. And that is valuable. So in return for your efforts, we offer you:
  • a salary of € 2.770,00 (PhD) and maximum € 3.539,00 (PhD) gross per month in the fourth year, for a full-time employment
  • an employment contract of initially one year. If there is a positive evaluation and sufficient perspective, this will be extended to a total of 4 years.

We also offer you attractive fringe benefits and regulations. Some examples:
  • A full-time 38-hour working week comes with a holiday leave entitlement of 232 hours per year. If you choose to work 40 hours, you have 96 extra holiday leave hours on an annual basis. For part-timers, this is calculated pro rata.
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • discount on (and occasionally exclusive access to) theater performances and courses at the Griffioen Cultural Center
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 30,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

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 programs 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.

About A-LIFE
The position is offered within the Amsterdam Institute of Life and Environment (A-LIFE) department at the Faculty of Science of the VU Amsterdam. A-LIFE is created by the merger between the departments of Ecology, Environment and Health, and Molecular Cell Biology. The section Environmental Health and Toxicology focuses on understanding the influence of environmental factors on human and environmental health. We use this knowledge for innovative research and education.

The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment has been promoting public health and safeguarding a healthy environment for more than 100 years. RIVM has a central role in infectious disease control and national prevention and population screening programs. We conduct independent (scientific) research in the field of Public Health, Health Services, Environmental Safety and Security. In our role as trusted advisor, we support citizens, professionals and governments in the challenge of keeping the environment and ourselves healthy.

Centre for Health Protection
The Centre for Health Protection (Gezondheidsbescherming, GZB) focuses on human adverse health effects of chemical substances, biological agents and particles, with a special focus on pharmaceuticals, medical devices, tobacco, consumer products and the interaction with life style factors. Within these topics, novel developments are monitored, and both laboratory and desk research is performed to better understand and explain adverse health effects. Research results are translated into advice for policymakers, risk assessors and scientists within (inter)national bodies. In addition, within GZB, we offer a social environment with multidisciplinary teams and an informal structure. For PhD candidates, RIVM offers the promovendi network RIVM (Proneri) to connect with other PhD candidates at the institute.

Department for Innovative Testing Strategies
The main aim of the research performed at Department for Innovative Testing Strategies (Vernieuwing Test Strategieën, VTS) is to increase scientific knowledge on molecular and cellular mechanisms of toxicity to improve the risk assessment of substances in an innovative way. The department focuses on human-relevant test methods and strategies that can be used for regulatory purposes, such as human hazard and risk assessment of chemical substances and materials. We provide policy advice and are active in scientific committees that assess the applicability of new approach methods (NAMs) for regulatory purposes. Our knowledge is used for policy advice on topics like next-generation-risk-assessment an transition towards animal-free innovations.


  • Research, development, innovation
  • Natural sciences; Health
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3753


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

Learn more about this employer


De Boelelaan 1108, 1081HZ, Amsterdam

View on Google Maps

Interessant voor jou