PhD Candidate: Environmental Microbiology

PhD Candidate: Environmental Microbiology

Published Deadline Location
16 Apr 12 May Nijmegen

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Job description

Are you fascinated by the world of microbiology and environmental sciences? Do you thrive in the dynamic blend of laboratory experiments and fieldwork adventures? If your passion lies in unravelling the mysteries of microbial greenhouse gas emissions and pioneering strategies for their mitigation, then we have an extraordinary opportunity for you.

Embark on an exciting PhD journey where you will explore the fascinating field of anaerobic methane oxidation and its multifaceted environmental implications, unlocking its vast biotechnological potential. This is not just any doctoral position: it is a chance to be at the forefront of groundbreaking research that promises to reshape our understanding of microbial processes in changing ecosystems and pave the way for sustainable solutions.

Join our collaborative and internationally renowned team of passionate scientists in which innovation thrives and curiosity knows no bounds. Seize this unparalleled opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the world while nurturing your own academic and professional growth.

On the one hand, microorganisms such as methanogens are key players in greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, aerobic and anaerobic methanotrophs act as a biofilter by oxidising methane and decreasing its emissions into the atmosphere. In this PhD project, you will explore the complex interactions of microorganisms shaping our planet's methane cycle, delving into key aspects that are pivotal in understanding and mitigating climate change. Your investigations will encompass:
  1. Exploring the impact of global warming on methane cycling and diving into the repercussions of climate change (e.g. increased salinisation of coastal ecosystems), unravelling its effects on microbial communities and ecosystem dynamics.
  2. Unveiling the role of anaerobic methane oxidation: shedding light on the crucial role of anaerobic methane oxidation across diverse ecosystems, offering insights into its significance in global environmental shifts.
  3. Harnessing biotechnological innovations: investigating the untapped potential of metal-dependent anaerobic methane oxidation, paving the way for innovative biotechnological solutions. This research not only promises advancements in greenhouse gas mitigation from wastewater treatment but also holds the key to addressing heavy metal contamination.

This interdisciplinary journey will allow you to immerse yourself in various disciplines including geomicrobiology, biogeochemistry, and aquatic ecology. You will use a versatile toolkit of methodologies, from microcosm incubation to the operation of state-of-the-art laboratory-scale bioreactors and immersive field studies. As a PhD candidate, you will be given many opportunities to be creative and innovative and to perform cutting-edge microbiological, molecular, geochemical, microscopic, and spectroscopic analyses.

As a valued member of our dynamic research team at the Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences (RIBES), you will thrive in a collaborative and international environment, engaging with experts from diverse scientific domains. Finally, throughout this enriching journey, you will have the opportunity to contribute up to 10% of your time to teaching responsibilities, nurturing the next generation of scientific minds.


Radboud University


  • You should hold an MSc degree in life sciences (biology, microbiology, biotechnology, biogeochemistry, or a related field) with a strong background in environmental microbiology.
  • You are proficient in English, both written and spoken.
  • You are willing to develop yourself as an independent scientist (growth mindset) and are interested in fieldwork.
  • Knowledge of basic biogeochemical methods is essential.
  • Experience with microbiological methods is an advantage.
  • You are able to work independently as well as in a team.
  • You have good management and communication skills.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 or 5 years.

  • We will give you a temporary employment contract (1.0 FTE) of 1,5 years, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, your contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4-year contract).
  • You will receive a starting salary of €2,770 gross per month based on a 38-hour working week, which will increase to €3,539 in the fourth year (salary scale P).
  • You will receive an 8% holiday allowance and an 8,3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Support Service. The Dual Career Programme assists your partner via support, tools, and resources to improve their chances of independently finding employment in the Netherlands. Our Family Support Service helps you and your partner feel welcome and at home by providing customised assistance in navigating local facilities, schools, and amenities. Also take a look at our support for international staff page to discover all our services for international employees.
  • You will receive extra days off. With full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the statutory 20.

Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.


The Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences (RIBES) aims to perform world-leading research to understand the response of the natural environment to human impact. Researchers within RIBES are working on the overarching research mission ’Towards Healthy Ecosystems’, with four focus areas: I. Macronutrients and chemicals of emerging concern, II. Physical conditions: understanding responses and adaptation mechanism to stressors, III. Biodiversity decline and recovery of ecological communities, and IV. Mitigation of greenhouse gasses. With this knowledge, RIBES contributes to mitigating ecosystem degradation and finding solutions to restore the natural environment. Research at RIBES encompasses three major groups of organisms – microorganisms, plants, and animals – and spans nearly all levels of biological organisation. The institute is organised in four departments: Ecology, Physiology, Environmental Science, and Microbiology.

The Microbiology department comprises an enthusiastic and devoted team of scientists that closely collaborate in a flat organisational structure. Harmonious and productive collaboration and synergy are key to our success. We have state-of-the-art equipment for sequencing and data analysis, light and electron microscopy, and a large bioreactor facility, as well as infrastructure for anaerobic microbiology, and facilities for biochemical, molecular, and physiological work. Our mission is to conduct research at the forefront of microbial ecology and physiology with the main aim of understanding the diversity of microorganisms responsible for the biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen and carbon (methane). In close collaboration with other RIBES groups and external partners, we pay special attention to host-microbe interactions. In addition, in close collaboration with stakeholders and industrial partners, we collaborate on developing microbial applications in sustainable drinking water production and wastewater treatment systems to remove nitrogen, methane and micropollutants. We focus on four research themes: 1. nitrogen cycle microbiology, 2. carbon/methane cycle microbiology, 3. host-microbe interactions, and 4. bioremediation. We collaborate on these four themes, tapping into our expertise in metabolomics, cell biology and biochemistry, environmental microbiology, biotechnology, microbial physiology, and bioinformatics.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 62.076.24



Houtlaan 4, 6525XZ, Nijmegen

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