PhD candidate, impact assessment of innovative nanomaterials on freshwater communities

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 06 May 2021

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The Faculty of Science and Institute of Environmental Sciences is looking for a

PhD candidate, impact assessment of innovative nanomaterials on freshwater communities

Key responsibilities
We are looking for an outstanding PhD candidate to work within the recently granted ERC-Consolidator project ‘EcoWizard’. The current hazard assessment toolbox is not well equipped with accurate approaches to assess the safety of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) at the species level nor to assess the impacts of ENMs on species interactions. The EcoWizard project aims to acquire fundamental and generalizable insights into the chronic effects on species and species interactions induced by long-term exposure to (advanced) ENMs at environmentally relevant conditions. The aim is to combine lab-based experiments with field-realistic experiments in tandem with ecophysiological and ecological modelling. To do so, we will form a team with several PhD candidates and staff members who interact closely on adjacent research topics. Key tasks for this position include:

  • Conduct experiments performed within the ditch mesocosms at the outdoor research facility ‘Living Lab ’ of Leiden University to assess impacts of multicomponent nanomaterials on freshwater ecosystems;
  • Determine the nanomaterials-induced impacts based on suitable response parameters to assess microbial, fungal and macroinvertebrates performance; making use of eDNA tools and conventional macrofauna countings;
  • Perform network analyses on experimentally collected data.

Selection criteria

  • You should have a strong interest in the quantitative evaluation of impacts of advanced nanomaterials in the aquatic environment;
  • You should have a MSc degree in either environmental biology, ecology, ecotoxicology, or other relevant biology field, ideally with proven skills in producing  scientific output (publications);
  • You have relevant experience in macrofaunal or eDNA based data collection, in ecological interpretation, and are skilled in R;
  • Familiarity with modern workflows for (e)DNA based data collection analysis, such as Droplet Digital PCR, high throughput sequencing (HTS) and according Bioinformatics is a benefit;  
  • Experience with research on nanoparticle safety testing or modelling is an advantage;
  • Apparent experience on experiments at community level (e.g. microcosm, mesocosm or caged experiments) is an advantage;
  • You are a team player, take initiative, and have a strong interest and motivation to pursue academic research;
  • Excellent English proficiency.

Our organisation
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 of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. 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 Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) is positioned in the Faculty of Sciences. The core focus of CML is to perform research and education in the interdisciplinary field of Environmental Sciences. CML has two Departments: Industrial Ecology (CML-IE) and Environmental Biology (CML-EB). Presently, about 125 fte (including postdocs and PhDs) are employed at CML. CML collaborates with the TU Delft and Erasmus University in the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Sustainability (LDE-CfS), Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, and other partners. For more information, see the websites of the Faculty of Science and the Institute of Environmental Sciences .

Terms and conditions 
We offer a 1 year position with the possibility of extension to 4 years based on performance. Salary ranges from  2.395,- gross per month in the first year to 3.061,- 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. 

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

Enquiries can be made to Prof. Dr. Martina Vijver, email .

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to . Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

  • CV;
  • Motivation letter;
  • The names and phone numbers of two referees.

We will consider applications submitted no later than May 6th, 2021. Interviews will likely take place in the 2nd or 3thweek of May. The exact date will follow.

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