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PhD Position – How does bioturbation influence soil hydro-physical dynamics and modify landscapes, Netherlands Jun 2022

The Netherlands

Wageningen University & Research invites applications for a Ph.D. candidate for a 4-year project that aims to increase understanding and quantify the role that burrowing animals play in changing soil hydro-physical properties and soil erosion at field and landscape scales, the Netherlands – Jun 2022

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General Info

Position: PhD Position
No. of Positions: 1
Research Field: , ,
Deadline to Apply: Expired
Joining Date: Oct 01, 2022
Contract Period: 4 Years
Salary: 2,443 EURO/Month


Wageningen University & Research (WUR), the Netherlands


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Qualification Details

  • a completed (or about to be completed) MSc degree in soil science, physical geography, hydrology, or a related field;
  • hands-on experience in, or strong affinity with, at least two of: field work, laboratory experiments, earth-surface modelling;
  • excellent English language proficiency (a minimum of CEFR C2 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page;
  • we value experience with soil hydro-physical analyses, programming skills as well as scientific writing;
  • ability to work independently as well as in a team;
  • analytical capabilities and a sense for scientific novelty;
  • you are a creative, communicative and intrinsically motivated colleague who takes initiative.

Responsibilities/Job Description

Are you a highly motivated, curious researcher who is excited about soil-hydrological processes and environmental feedbacks between biota and physical processes? Do you enjoy working interdisciplinary? Do you like field work, laboratory experiments and modelling?  Then you could be the ideal PhD candidate to join our team!

We are hiring a PhD candidate for a 4-year project that aims to increase understanding and quantify the role that burrowing animals play in changing soil hydro-physical properties and soil erosion at field and landscape scales. Burrowing animals are known to be ecosystem engineers, and have been found to positively affect nutrient availability. However, the effects of bioturbation on soil hydro-physical dynamics, the evolution of soil structure and feedbacks or trade-offs between them are not well understood and quantified.

You will bring significant progress to this field through a combination of lab experiments, fieldwork and modelling. By designing and conducting rainfall simulation experiments you will quantify and unravel the effects of bioturbation in controlled conditions. Through field experiments, and by using reconstruction methods you will quantify the soil hydro-physical dynamics at hillslope scale for different timescales. Finally, you will use the insights from your experimental and field data to include bioturbation processes in a landscape evolution model to upscale these processes in space and time.

This project is a collaboration between the Soil Physics and Land Management (SLM) and the Soil Geography and Landscape (SGL) groups of Wageningen University, to strengthen the research line ‘Soil-Water Interactions’, part of the Wageningen University Soil Science Cluster.

How to Apply?

Application Method: Online Application
Ref. No.: -

Application Procedure

You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval. To apply you have to upload a cover letter (max 1 page A4) outlining both your motivation and your suitability for the project, and your CV (max 2 pages A4) including names and contact details of two potential references.This vacancy will be listed up to and including June 20th. Interviews will be scheduled on July 6th and 7th; if you are unavailable these days, please indicate this in your cover letter.

About the Employer:

Note or Other details


Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.The gross salary for the first year is € 2.443,- per month rising to € 3.122,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 17th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad

Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. 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.Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

Equal opportunities

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

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Contact details

For more information about this position please contact Dr. Jantiene Baartman ([email protected]) or Dr. Annegret Larsen ([email protected]).For more information about the procedure please contact Edgar Tijhuis, corporate recruiter, [email protected]

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