PhD position on the biogeochemistry of phosphorus lakes (1.0 FTE, 4 years)

PhD position on the biogeochemistry of phosphorus lakes (1.0 FTE, 4 years)

Geplaatst Deadline Locatie
27 feb 1 mei Utrecht

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Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences is looking for a PhD position on the biogeochemistry of phosphorus lakes. Are you interested? Then please read the full profile and apply.


In the framework of the European H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Innovative Training Network P-TRAP (Preventing Phosphorus Input to Surface Waters – New Concepts in Trapping, Recycling and Management) the Department of Earth Sciences at Utrecht University is looking the for a highly motivated candidate to fill a PhD position to study the


Effects of Fe supplementation on the ecology and P dynamics in eutrophic lakes


P-TRAP tackles two urgent interlinked global problems: Potential shortages of phosphate (P) for producing agricultural fertilizers and the decline of surface water quality upon excess phosphate input. P-TRAP targets the P flux from artificially drained agricultural areas and the internal P load of lakes. By this, P-TRAP aims at intercepting the undesired flux of phosphate from agricultural systems into surface waters and developing a phosphate recycling strategy.


The project of the PhD student (ESR 11) is dedicated to the effects of iron supplementation on the ecology and phosphate dynamics in eutrophic lakes. Eutrophication is still the main cause for many European lakes to have an ecological status of less than ‘good’. The ESR will evaluate iron addition to lakes as a mitigation technique to improve their ecological status. The research will include field sampling campaigns, field and laboratory experiments, biogeochemical analyses, as well as modelling of element cycles in lakes. The project will be performed in close collaboration with Dutch and international partners and involves secondments at academic partners in the consortium but also at companies which are partner organisations in the P-TRAP project.


The main project leader and daily supervisor will be dr. Thilo Behrends at Utrecht University. Dr. Stefan Pfeiffer at University of Bayreuth, Germany, will be co-supervisor.


Universiteit Utrecht


We seek an enthusiastic PhD student holding an MSc degree (at the start of the contract) that ensures appropriate background knowledge in environmental sciences, earth sciences and/or (environmental) chemistry, and with a strong passion for biogeochemistry. You have a solid knowledge on biogeochemical processes in aquatic and terrestrial environments. Experience in the collection of samples from surface waters and aquatic sediments and their analysis is helpful but not required.


You approach scientific problems with determination and eager to develop multidisciplinary skills. You must be willing to travel abroad for secondments and measurement campaigns, and to present your research to an international research community. As this project requires close collaboration within the consortium, candidates are expected to be excellent team players. You also have excellent written and spoken English skills.


According to EU eligibility criteria, researchers may be of any nationality, BUT must be at their early carrier stage and may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in The Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the starting date of the fellowship.


We offer a full-time position at first for one year. With good performance this will be extended to a total period of four years, with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The gross monthly salary starts with €2,325 in the first year and increases to €2,972 in the fourth year (scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) of employment with a full-time appointment. The salary is supplemented by a holiday allowance of 8% of annual salary and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% of annual salary per year. In addition, we offer a pension scheme, (partly paid) parental leave, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model).


The salary will be in agreement with the standard Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN allowances scheme in the first three years and extended with a fourth year by Utrecht University itself.


Facilities for sports and child care are available on our main campus (where the Department of Earth Sciences is situated), which is located only 15 minutes away from the historical city centre of Utrecht. More information is available at: working at Utrecht University.

You will also profit from the training activities within P-TRAP which includes summer schools and other project-wide and local activities.


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 societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University offers a wide spectrum of education and research applied to the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and anthroposphere. The Faculty is committed to interdisciplinary and cross-institutional collaboration, and plays a key role in the Dutch national research structure. It embodies four Departments: Earth Sciences; Physical Geography; Sustainable Development and Human Geography & Spatial Planning.


The Department of Earth Sciences is the largest academic Earth Sciences institute in the Netherlands, and among the larger ones in Europe. We conduct teaching and research across the full range of the Solid Earth and Environmental Earth Sciences, with activities covering most areas of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, biogeosciences and hydrogeology. The Department is an international organisation hosting over 45 tenured scientists and more than 100 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. 

You will be working within the geochemistry group which focuses on the geochemistry of the Earth surface. The group combines field data with experimental, modelling and theoretical approaches to elucidate biogeochemical cycles and mineral transformations along the aquatic continuum, e.g. from weathering of rocks to biogeochemistry of deep-sea sediments. We investigate (bio)geochemical processes from the nanometer to the global scale and utilize the geological record to better project Earth surface conditions in the future.


  • PhD
  • Natuurwetenschappen
  • 38—40 uur per week
  • max. €2325 per maand
  • Universitair
  • 1030727


Universiteit Utrecht

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