Universiteit Leiden

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PhD candidate on developing biodiversity-inclusive strategies for the energy transition.

Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
2 januari 2024
7 februari 2024 Vacature gesloten

The Faculty of Science and Institute of Environmental Sciences are looking for:

1 PhD candidate on developing biodiversity-inclusive strategies for the energy transition.

Vacancy number: 14334

We are excited to invite applications for a PhD candidate position within our interdisciplinary research team at the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML). The focus of this opportunity is to contribute to deepening our understanding of the impact of mining activities on freshwater ecosystems.

Position Overview
The selected candidate will lead the development of large-scale models (continental to global) to predict the impact of current and future mining activities on freshwater resources and biodiversity. There exists compelling evidence on the disruptive effects of mining activities on freshwater ecosystems, extending several kilometers downstream from mining sites. However, global assessments inadequately quantify these impacts due to a lack of knowledge regarding biodiversity responses to the many ways in which mining affects freshwater ecosystems. This knowledge gap is particularly critical in the context of the transition to a carbon-neutral society. The anticipated surge in metals demand needed for renewable technologies, is set to escalate conflicts between raw material extraction and conservation, emphasizing the need to disentangle these conflicts for a sustainable and biodiversity-inclusive energy transition.

We seek candidates with a strong quantitative background (programming, GIS) and familiarity with hydrological and ecological processes, but also someone who is keen to learn and develop these skills. The candidate will operate at the intersection of ecology and hydrology, focusing on developing predictive models. These models will not only be employed to carry out global impact assessments but also to enhance the characterization of mining impacts on biodiversity within sustainability assessment tools such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Environmentally Extended Multi-Regional Input-Output (EE-MRIO).

The Ph.D. candidate will be supervised by Dr. Valerio Barbarossa and Prof. René Kleijn, who are dedicated to fostering a collaborative, inclusive, and supportive research environment. The candidate will also engage with the larger “resources and energy”, “biodiversity” as well as “industrial ecology” research groups at the Institute of Environmental Sciences, providing ample opportunities for networking and collaboration.

Key responsibilities
As a PhD candidate, you will:

  • Develop numerical models to predict the impacts of mining on freshwater ecosystems.
  • Use the developed models to characterize impacts of mining in sustainability assessment tools such as LCA and EE-MRIO.
  • Assess mining impacts on freshwater ecosystems under various energy transition scenarios.
  • Work independently with confidence while maintaining a collegial and proactive attitude.
  • Communicate findings through scientific publications and presentations at national and international conferences.
  • Help with supervision of MSc students for thesis projects.
  • Work on cutting-edge research ideas and proposals together with the supervisors.

Selection Criteria

  • You hold an MSc degree, ideally in Environmental Science, Biology, Industrial Ecology, Sustainability, or a related discipline.
  • You have experience in spatial data analyses using GIS software and/or programming environments such as R or Python. Experience with "big data" is a plus.
  • You have experience in mechanistic and/or statistical modeling. Familiarity with (mixed effect) regression modeling is an advantage.
  • Previous knowledge of conducting systematic reviews/meta-analyses is an advantage.
  • You exhibit a proactive and flexible attitude, along with excellent communication skills.
  • You are a team player capable of effectively communicating work to researchers from various disciplines.
  • You have very good written and spoken communication skills in English.

Research at our Institute/Faculty
Leiden University is situated between Amsterdam (36 km) and Den Haag (15 km) and was founded in 1575, making it the oldest university in the Netherlands. It houses around 35,000 students originating from 112 nationalities, facilitated by approximately 8,000 staff. 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 is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized 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 2,800 staff and almost 6,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

The environmental science research in CML is organized around two major research areas: ‘Industrial Ecology’ and ‘Environmental Biology’. This makes CML one of the few institutes covering both the circular, sustainable economic use of natural resources and natural capital, as well as assessing the environmental impacts of economic activities on natural resources, biodiversity and natural capital. Presently, over 130 FTE (including postdocs and PhDs) are employed at CML. CML collaborates with the TU Delft and Erasmus University (Rotterdam) in the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Sustainability (LDE-CfS).

Terms and conditions
At Leiden University, a PhD candidate is seen as an employee rather than a student. As such, we offer a 1-year position with the possibility of extension to 4 years based on performance and following the pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. Salary ranges from € 2.770.- gross per month in the first year to € 3.539 gross per month in the fourth year based on a full-time position. Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses, we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break (“30% rule”).

At the Faculty of Science we value inclusiveness and strive for a diverse community with equal opportunities for all. We give full support to our staff in achieving their potential to become independent academic researchers and teachers. For more information about our policy on diversity and equality please go to the diversity page on our website. Female researchers are also welcomed to join the Researchers In

Science for Equality network of the Faculty if Science (rise.nu).

For inquiries, please contact Dr. Valerio Barbarossa at v.barbarossa@cml.leidenuniv.nl or sollicitaties@cml.leidenuniv.nl for general questions.

Please submit your application via the online recruitment system, via the blue button at the top or bottom of this page. Applications received via e-mail will not be taken into consideration. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

  • CV (max 2 pages)
  • A motivation letter (max 2 pages)
  • The names and contact information of two referees

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, with the final deadline for submissions being February 7, 2024. Interviews will take place online or in-person (depending on the current location of residence) within two weeks after the closing date.

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