PhD Position in Evolutionary Biology

PhD Position in Evolutionary Biology

Published Deadline Location
26 Apr 26 May Amsterdam

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Job description

Are you interested in how species persist and evolve in changing environments? Are you excited about studying evolution in action? Are you enthusiastic about combining experimental laboratory work with evolutionary modeling and genomics? Then this may be the job for you!

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD candidate to study the consequences of hybridization and test the idea that hybridization between species generates potential to adapt to environmental change. You will be embedded in a research team investigating speciation and adaptation using wood ants and spider mites (led by Dr. Jonna Kulmuni) at the department of Evolutionary and Population Biology, which is part of the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) and the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam.

At IBED we work on the biodiversity, ecology and evolution of plants, animals and micro-organisms in changing environments from both fundamental and applied perspectives. We use different techniques in our research projects such as (behavioral) observations, chemical analyses, bioinformatics and molecular biology. Research in Dr. Kulmuni's group is focused on questions related to speciation and hybridization combining genomics, experimental and modeling approaches. See EPB and Dr. Kulmuni's websites for more details.

What are you going to do?
Genomic studies have revealed that hybridization, that is interbreeding between taxa, is more common than previously thought. Furthermore, rates of hybridization are predicted to increase with on-going climate change. Hybridization is a dramatic process that can have extreme outcomes ranging from extinction to accelerated adaptation. However, the determinants of deleterious and adaptive outcomes of hybridization and their predictability are unknown.

In this project you will investigate the impact of hybridization on adaptation and population persistence using experimental evolution in spider mites. EPB has longstanding expertise in working with spider mites and good facilities for mite experiments. You will learn to design experiments and manage projects, conduct behavioral experiments and combine experimental data with models. You will also develop skills in population genomics.

Responsibilities and opportunities
  • complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
  • learn how to work and design and conduct experimental evolution with small plant-eating arthropods;
  • learn population modeling, bioinformatics and/or other genomic approaches;
  • plan and execute wet lab experiments in a systematic and well controlled manner;
  • keep accurate records by thoroughly documenting and organizing your work;
  • discuss your work in our lab and group meetings, incorporate feedback and give input to others;
  • assist in teaching and supervise BSc/MSc students during their research internship;
  • participate in the Faculty of Science PhD training programme;
  • collaborate with international partners;
  • present your work at (international) meetings.

What do you have to offer?
You are an enthusiastic and meticulous researcher who is excited about evolution. You like a challenge, take initiative, and are motivated to work in a group. You are well organized, enabling you to meet deadlines. Finally, you are a team player and a nice colleague with good communication and problem-solving skills.

Your experience and profile
  • a high motivation for fundamental research;
  • good knowledge on evolutionary biology;
  • ability to learn new skills;
  • completed (or nearly completed) MSc degree in the biological sciences;
  • proficient in handling small insects;
  • good communication and collaboration skills;
  • fluent in English, both written and spoken.

As long as you have good knowledge on evolutionary theory and are genuinely excited about your project and willing to learn, we can teach you everything you need to know. That being said, it will work to your advantage if you already have some experience with one or more of the following: population genomics theory, experiments with insects, molecular DNA work or modeling.

Our offer
A PhD position with a temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students. The preferred starting date is as soon as possible.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 2.770,- and € 3.539,- (scale P). This does not include 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% year-end allowance. The UFO profile PhD candidate is applicable. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. 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;
  • a complete educational program for PhD students;
  • multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff;
  • multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress 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.

About us
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. Together, we create a vibrant, challenging and well-equipped research environment at Amsterdam Science Park. 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 systems underlying biological processes.

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics is one of eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. 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 and biotic factors, 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. The University of Amsterdam has excellent high performance computing facilities. Furthermore, IBED has a dedicated computational support team with specialized knowledge of bioinformatics, (geo)database management and scientific programming. IBED also works with non-academic partners to deliver transdisciplinary science for society.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?
Do you have any questions, or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Job application
If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the button below. We accept applications until and including 26 May 2024.

Applications should include the following information (all files besides your cv should be submitted in one single pdf file):
  • a detailed CV including the months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience (including the extent of experience in population genomics theory, experiments with insects, molecular DNA work or modeling obtained e.g. via internships, other projects or specialized courses);
  • a letter of motivation;
  • the names and email addresses of two references who can provide letters of recommendation.

Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.

A knowledge security check can be part of the selection procedure.

(for details: national knowledge security guidelines)

We will invite potential candidates for interviews soon after the closing date.

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.

No agencies please.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 12900


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Science Park 904, 1098XH, Amsterdam

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