Postdoc research associate in quantifying and modelling marine and coastal ecosystem services

Updated: 4 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 21 Jun 2023

6 Jun 2023
Job Information

University of Antwerp
Research Field

Environmental science » Earth science
Environmental science » Ecology
Engineering » Other
Geography » Other
Computer science » Programming
Researcher Profile

Recognised Researcher (R2)

Application Deadline

21 Jun 2023 - 21:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

Let’s shape the future – University of Antwerp

The University of Antwerp  is a dynamic, forward-thinking European university. We offer an innovative academic education to more than 20 000 students, conduct pioneering scientific research and play an important service-providing role in society. We are one of the largest, most international and most innovative employers in the region. With more than 6000 employees from 100 different countries, we are helping to build tomorrow's world every day. Through top scientific research, we push back boundaries and set a course for the future – a future that you can help to shape.

The ECOSPHERE Research Group of the Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science is looking for a full-time (100%) postdoc research associate in the field of quantifying and modelling marine and coastal ecosystem services.


ECOSPHERE is a research group of the Department of Biology at the University of Antwerp. ECOSPHERE’s research concentrates on the ecology of aquatic ecosystems and wetlands and the processes in the land-water interaction along the whole river continuum and the river-coastal sea interaction.

The concept of ecosystem services has gained attention since the publications of Costanza et al. (1997) in Nature and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005. The concept received increasing attention ever since, both from science and policy. The strong integrative and multidisciplinary character allows to make the link between ecology, economy and society, creating opportunities for better underpinned nature and environmental policy. Major advances have been made for the quantification and modelling of terrestrial ecosystem services but for the marine and coastal environment research is still in its infancy. At the same time, the intensity of use of our marine space is accelerating (e.g. offshore wind parks, sand extraction, …). Innovative nature-based solutions to protect against climate change effects are increasingly gaining attention. Coastal Nature based solutions such as beach nourishments, artificial islands and seaward dune development (dune in front of dike) protect coastal areas from flooding, and also provide other ecosystem services such as recreation, increased biodiversity, less sand nuisance behind the dunes, etc… But coastal NbS often require a lot of sand, while the sand resources in the North Sea are being depleted at a rapid pace. The sand extraction itself also has significant impact on the marine ecosystem. The use of alternative sand sources in NbS may be a solution, but may also impact ecosystem functions and services… For a sustainable future of our seas, it is of utmost importance to understand how these activities impact on the system and to scientifically underpin their capacity to provide ecosystem services. Research is needed on the sustainability and feasibility of coastal NbS, bringing together aspects of NbS-design and sand extraction practices. The findings can ultimately contribute to the development of a long-term strategy  for the sustainable use of sand in nature-based solutions.  

Therefore ECOSPHERE is looking for a research associate (postdoc level) to develop methods to quantify and model the impact of human activities on marine and coastal ecosystem functioning and the thereof dependent human well-being (ecosystem services).

Your position

  • You are the project coordinator (scientifical and administrative) of a multi-year research project on coastal Nature based Solutions involving multiple partner institutes;
  • You develop models to quantify ecosystem services. You do this by integrating knowledge, models, model results and equations of ecosystem processes into an integrative modelling software (e.g. petri nets, system dynamics models, Bayesian network models) and link them to the socio-economic demand for ecosystem services. You will use the models to study impacts of human activities on ecosystem services, optimise the design of nature-based solutions and draw decision-supportive conclusions from this;
  • To achieve this, you work in close collaboration with the involved research institutes and the members of the stakeholder board (industries and governments);
  • You supervise PhD students in the field of marine and coastal ecosystem services;
  • You write or help to write new project proposals to attract external funding;
  • You disseminate your work via scientific articles and presentations at (inter)national conferences and gatherings.

Your profile

  • You hold a PhD degree in the field of oceanography, ecology, biology, geography, bio-engineering or related discipline;
  • ‘You have a good understanding of hydrodynamic, morphodynamic, biogeochemical and ecological processes in the marine and coastal environment;’
  • You are motivated to increase the sustainability of human activities in marine and coastal systems and making ecological knowledge usable for solving socio-ecological dilemmas;
  • You have very good written and spoken English skills;
  • Programming and modelling skills (R, python, …) are nice-to-have;
  • You are communicative and entrepreneurial. You are involved in multidisciplinary research in which you need to consult information and knowledge from various disciplines and policy areas.

What we offer

  • We offer a one-year renewable contract, which can be prolonged until 31st  of January 2026.
  • Your gross monthly salary is calculated according to the pay scale for a principal research fellow  in the Contract Research Staff category (Dutch: Bijzonder Academisch Personeel, BAP);
  • You will receive ecocheques, internet-connectivity allowance, group insurance, income protection insurance, and a bicycle allowance or a full reimbursement of public transport costs for commuting;
  • You will do most of your work at campus Drie Eiken (Wilrijk) in a dynamic and stimulating working environment;
  • The planned start date is August 21, 2023 or as soon as possible after that date;
  • Find out more about working at the University of Antwerp here .

Want to apply?

  • You can apply for this vacancy through the University of Antwerp’s online job application platform until 21st  of June 2023. Click on the 'Apply' button, complete the online application form and be sure to include the following attachments: a motivation letter and your academic CV;
  • The selection committee will review all of the applications as soon as possible after the application deadline. As soon as a decision has been made, we will inform you about the next steps in the selection procedure;
  • If you have any questions about the online application form, please check the frequently asked questions  or send an email to . If you have any questions about the job itself, please contact Katrien Van der Biest ( ) or Jan Staes ( ).

The University of Antwerp received the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award  for its HR policy. We are a sustainable, family-friendly organisation which invests in its employees’ growth. We encourage diversity  and attach great importance to an inclusive working environment and equal opportunities, regardless of gender identity, disability, race, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. We encourage people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse characteristics to apply.

Research Field
Environmental science
Years of Research Experience
4 - 10

Research Field
Environmental science
Years of Research Experience
4 - 10

Research Field
Years of Research Experience
4 - 10

Research Field
Years of Research Experience
4 - 10

Research Field
Computer science
Years of Research Experience
4 - 10

Additional Information
Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
University of Antwerp
Postal Code
Prinsstraat 13

Where to apply


Postal Code


View or Apply

Similar Positions