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Postdoc Plant-soil-insect interactions - Netherlands  

Company managed [?] Still accepting applications
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Posted on : 29 April 2017

Project Description

Key responsibilities            
  • The post-doc will study how plant and above ground insect communities in natural grasslands are shaped by soil microbial communities. 
  • The local composition and abundance of soil communities depend greatly on the plants that are growing in the soil, and the performance of plants, in turn, is determined by interactions with these soil organisms. This results in plant-soil feedback and the candidate will study how plant soil feedback can be used to alter composition and functioning of ecosystems. 
  • The post-doc is expected to design and set up a field experiment in grasslands in the Dutch dunes where soils will be manipulated by first growing specific plant communities on the soil or by inoculating soils collected from different plant communities. 
  •  We are looking for a post-doc with field work experience, to study plant-soil community interactions in the field, the spatial and temporal dynamics of these plant-soil feedback interactions, and to carry out microcosm experiments in growth chambers. 
  • Experimental approaches can include collecting and analysis of plant, soil and/or insect communities, measuring ecosystem processes, reciprocal soil and plant transplantation, and approaches to disentangle the effects of different parts of the soil microbial community. 
  •  The post-doc is also expected to coordinate the 4-week BSc course Ecology of our  University. 

Selection criteria            
  • PhD in ecology;
  • Field work experience;
  • Strong motivation, enthusiasm, ability to work independently;
  • Experience with plant communities, and plant-soil interactions or plant/insect interactions demonstrated in scientific publications;
  • Ability to identity plant species in the field is an advantage;
  • Good communicative skills (fluency in English required) and good statistical knowledge;
  • Teaching experience;
  • Good collaborative skills. 

Research at our Faculty/Institute            
  • The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. 
  • It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. 
  • Our people are driven by curiosity to expand fundamental knowledge and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future. 
  • The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. 
  • These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes.
  •  The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 1,300 staff and almost 4,000 students.
  • The Institute of Biology (IBL) is part of the Faculty of Science. It is located at the  Bio science Park in the recently completely refurnished Sylvius building, providing state-of-the-art facilities for biological research. It collaborates with neighboring institutes such as the  University Medical Center, the National Center for Biodiversity Naturals, the Center for Environmental Sciences and the Institute of Chemistry. 
  • The IBL has a long tradition of excellence in fundamental research in a broad range of biological subjects.
  •  It fosters an international atmosphere with strong interactions among the various groups as well as with other departments from the Faculty of Science and other partners. 
  • The IBL contributes to the Faculty priority area ‘Bioscience: the Science Base of Health’. 


Terms and conditions            
  • We offer a 2 year term position, with the possibility of renewal based on need, funding and performance. 
  • Salary range from € 2,552.- to € 4,028,- gross per month (pay scale 10 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). 
  • Our  University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses(8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. 
  • Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. 
  • Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. 


Our University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.