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PhD candidate on soil fungal ecology

Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
16 juli 2024
25 augustus 2024 Nog 43 dagen om te solliciteren

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The Institute of Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science at Leiden University) is looking for:

1 PhD candidate on soil fungal ecology

Are you a enthusiastic early career researcher who is excited to work in a project on soil fungal traits and soil multifunctionality? Do you have a expertise and interest in microbial ecology, soil ecology, or a related field? And are you a team-player who likes variation in your activities with field, laboratory, computational, and analytical work? Then this could be the ideal PhD position for you!

We are hiring a PhD candidate (4 years) in a project on soil fungal traits and their relation to soil functions. The PhD will be situated at the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) within the VIDI project awarded to the PI.

The major overarching goals of the project are to 1) unravel the assembly and functional diversity of soil fungal communities, (2) reveal how fungal traits determine biodiversity and soil functioning, and (3) steer traits of the fungal community to recover the loss of soil multifunctionality. This will be achieved by combination of field characterization of fungi and their functions across land use gradients and by experimental manipulations of fungal communities and their functions. Communities and traits will be measure together with a postdoc using both culture-based and molecular methods and soil functions will be explored using for example stable isotope measurements and other cutting-edge measures. Further (mesocosm and field) experiments on steering soil fungal communities to improve their functionality will be performed. Hence, for this project knowledge on and interest in soil fungi and soil functions are required.

Preferred starting date is end of 2024 or beginning of 2025.

Selection criteria

  • A team player with a collaborative attitude and ability to work within a team;
  • A completed MSc degree in soil ecology, microbial ecology, or a related field;
  • Interest in soil fungi and soil functions;
  • Hands-on experience in, or strong affinity with, at least two of following topics:
  • laboratory incubation experiments, laboratory analyses to analyze soil functions, molecular analyses, field work
  • Skills in (multivariate) statistical analyses;
  • English language proficiency - we value experience with scientific writing.

Research at our faculty

CML is positioned in the Faculty of Science which 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 committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity 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 almost 2,800 staff and over 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.

For more information, see www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science and www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/working-at

Institute of Environmental Sciences, Department of Environmental Biology, Leiden University

The core focus of the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) is to perform research and education in the interdisciplinary field of Environmental Sciences. 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 contribute to addressing the major societal challenges of the future. CML focuses on the sustainable use of natural resources and preservation of natural capital and biodiversity. CML has a culture of mutual support and collaboration between researchers both within and between institutes. Presently, about 150 FTE (including postdocs and PhDs) are employed at CML. The CML has facilities to work with soil, water, microbes, and plants including growth chambers, large field experiments and molecular labs. For more information about CML see www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science/environmental-sciences.

Terms of employment
We offer a 1-year position with the possibility of extension to 4 years based on performance. 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 (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). Leiden 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. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.


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

Coming from abroad

Leiden University is an international work place. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family. Our Service center for international staff will help you on the way and make you feel welcome to Leiden.

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.

To apply you have to upload a cover letter (max 1 page) outlining both your motivation and your suitability for the project, list of publications, and your CV (max 2 pages excluding publication list) including names and contact details of two potential references. Please do not upload any other documents.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including Sunday 25th of August 2024. Interviews will be scheduled in mid-September 2024; if you are unavailable in this period, do announce that in the cover letter.

For more information:

For more information about the position please contact Dr. Emilia Hannula s.e.hannula@cml.leidenuniv.nl

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