2 PhD positions in Organic Geochemistry / Microbial Ecology (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 4 months ago

2 PhD positions in Organic Geochemistry / Microbial Ecology (1.0 FTE)

Job description Within the framework of the NWO Partnership Sand Filtration call , the Department of Earth Sciences at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, is looking for highly motivated candidates to fill two PhD positions to unravel 'the role of biological activity in the performance of slow sand filters for drinking water treatment'.
In this Partnership programme, the Dutch Research Council (NWO), domain Applied and Engineering Sciences, finances together with the drinking water companies Vitens and Dunea insightful and innovative research in the application of slow and fast sand filters in drinking water treatment. This project at Utrecht University aims at elucidate the internal carbon cycling, the functioning of food webs, and the role of bioturbation in slow sand filters. The goal of the project is to relate detailed insight in the biological activity to the performance of slow sand filters in removing pathogenic microorganisms and detrital organic matter. By this, we aim to optimise the traditional operation of slow sand filters and to open avenues for innovative concepts in using sand filters
The PhD candidates will apply state-of-the-art methods and approaches which are used to investigate the microbial ecology and carbon flows in aquatic, sedimentary environments. This will include stable isotope labelling in combination with compound-specific isotope analysis of biomarkers and the application of nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (nano-SIMS). Characterization of the food web functioning will be combined with experiments on the removal efficiency of slow sand filters regarding pathogenic microorganisms and organic matter.
The project will be performed in collaboration with the Department of Estuarine and Delta Systems and the Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). The project leader will be Dr. Thilo Behrends at Utrecht University. As part of their personal PhD training programmes, the candidates are expected to assist in the teaching programmes of the Department of Earth Sciences for a limited amount of time (~10%).
Qualifications We are seeking enthusiastic PhD candidates holding an MSc degree (at the start of the contract) in Biology, Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, or Environmental/Civil Engineering. Experience in organic geochemistry, isotope analysis, microbial ecology, or chemical laboratory work is helpful but not required.
You are interested in performing fundamental, interdisciplinary research in an applied context. You are an excellent team player as this project requires close collaboration within other projects within the Sand Filtration call. You are expected to communicate scientific knowledge to stake holders and you have excellent written and spoken English skills.
Offer This is an appointment of 1.0 FTE for the duration of initially one year, with extension to four years in total upon a successful assesment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The gross salary starts with €2,325 per month in the first year and increases to €2,972 per month in the fourth year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities) for a full-time employment. 
Besides that, you will receive a holiday allowance of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 %. Utrecht University also has an appealing package of terms of employment , including the choice for a good balance between work and private (a good arrangement for leave, among other things), possibilities for development and an excellent pension scheme. More information on working at Utrecht University can be found here .
Facilities for sports and child care are available on our main campus (where the Department of Earth Sciences is situated), which is located only 15 minutes away from the historical city centre of Utrecht.
About the organization A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University , the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.
Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.
The Department of Earth Sciences conducts teaching and research across the full range of the solid Earth and environmental Earth sciences, with activities in almost all areas of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, biogeology and hydrogeology. The Department hosts a highly international group of more than 100 PhD candidates and Postdoctoral Researchers and houses a wide variety of world-class laboratories. You will be working within the Geochemistry Group which focuses on the geochemistry of the Earth surface. The Group combines field data with experimental, modelling and theoretical approaches to elucidate biogeochemical cycles and mineral transformations along the aquatic continuum, e.g. from weathering of rocks to biogeochemistry of deep-sea sediments. We investigate (bio)geochemical processes from the nanometer to the global scale and utilise the geological record to better project Earth surface conditions in the future. More information about the Department of Earth Sciences can be found here: www.uu.nl/geo/aw.

Additional information For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Thilo Behrends via [email protected]
Apply To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation via the ‘apply’ button below. We aim to start the positions on January 1st, 2020, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. 



The application deadline is 25/11/2019
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