PhD or Postdoc position: "Investigating nanoplastics pollution in the ocean"

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 30 Sep 2022

PhD or Postdoc position: "Investigating nanoplastics pollution in the ocean"
PhD or Postdoc position: "Investigating nanoplastics pollution in the ocean"
Published Deadline Location
today 30 Sep Texel

The Department of Marine Microbiology & Biogeochemistry (MMB) of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (Royal NIOZ) is looking for a highly motivated PhD student or postdoctoral researcher to take part in our research on nanoplastics in the ocean and their interaction with marine microbes. For this joint NIOZ - Utrecht University (UU) project we are searching for a candidate ideally with a background in mass spectrometry and microbiology/biogeochemistry.
Job description

THE PROJECT

Ocean plastic pollution is a global problem and the ever-increasing demand for plastics will most likely increase this problem. Nevertheless, floating and sedimented micro and macro plastic in the ocean only make up for one percent of all the plastic that has ever entered the ocean. Where is all the rest?

One possibility is that the plastic has fragmented into sub-µm sized nanoplastics (NPs). Previously, this was difficult to detect but we can now quantify NPs in the ocean using mass spectrometry (Thermal Desorption coupled to Proton Transfer Reaction – Mass Spectrometry - TD-PTR-MS).

During NP generation, a plethora of lower molecular weight compounds are produced which might be more attractive for microbes than the unaltered polymer. These products can be identified with Orbitrap mass spectrometry and microbial degradation can be measured as a function of concentration change and/or by using stable isotope assays. 


THE VACANCY

There is one vacant position, which can either be filled by a PhD candidate or by a Postdoc.

In this project we aim to detect, identify, and quantify nanoplastic in the ocean and to investigate if these particles and/or other plastic-derived low molecular weight compounds interact with marine microbes. For this position you will be working at NIOZ Texel but also for Utrecht University. 

At NIOZ, the UU-NIOZ student will:

  • Produce NP in the laboratory and incubate sea water samples with these NPs;
  • Inoculate samples with microbes and monitor microbial activity in the incubation;
  • Take samples over time for subsequent NP measurements with TD-PTR-MS and Orbitrap-MS;
  • Measure low molecular weight compounds with Orbitrap-MS.

At UU, the UU-NIOZ student will:

  • Work up samples for analysis;
  • Measure NP identity and concentration using TD-PTR-MS.

Specifications
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • Texel View on Google Maps

Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)


Requirements

For this position you must have either a completed MSc degree or must have finished your PhD. Preferably, you will also have a background in mass spectrometry and microbiology/biogeochemistry.

Here are some features that make you the ideal candidate for this position:

  • You have an intense curiosity;
  • You have affinity for sea going expeditions;
  • You have affinity for lab work and profound knowledge in mass spectrometry (e.g. TOF, PTR-MS, Orbitrap);
  • You have strong quantitative skills in the numerical analysis of ecological field data;
  • You have good programming skills (e.g. phyton, IDL, C);
  • You are a team player, are well organized, ambitious and have excellent written and oral communication skills.

We strive to ensure that our staff reflect the diversity of society, including age, gender, ethnic and cultural background. We therefore very much appreciate candidates who are able to increase the diversity of NIOZ.


Conditions of employment

For a PhD position, these conditions apply:

We offer a full time PhD position. After a 12-month probationary period and successful evaluation, the position is extended for 24 months for a maximum employment of 3 years. The salary is compliant to the CAO-OI  (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes)

For a Postdoc position, these conditions apply:

We offer a 3 year full time Postdoc position. The salary is compliant to the CAO-OI  (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes) scale 10 or 11 depending on relevant experience. 

Employment is at Royal NIOZ by NWO I (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). Furthermore we offer a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus of 8,3% of the gross annual salary, flexible work arrangements and 42 days of holiday leave (fulltime position). You may expect attractive secondary employment conditions. We offer generous relocation expenses for employees coming from abroad and support with finding accommodation.


Employer
Royal NIOZ

Royal NIOZ MMB is located on the beautiful island of Texel in the World Heritage Wadden Sea. Texel offers sun, wind and beach, and a diverse but moderate level of facilities, including a thriving tourist industry, shops, sports facilities, primary schools and a high school. It is connected to the main land by an hourly to half-hourly ferry service, with 20 minutes crossings to Den Helder, from where trains run towards Alkmaar and Amsterdam. The Royal NIOZ is situated next to the ferry terminal.


Department
Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry

The Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry (MMB) studies microbial communities and their functioning in all types of marine environments, from estuaries to the deep ocean, from tropical coral reefs to polar regions, and from the present to the past. The department has well-equipped laboratories for molecular analyses and state-of-the-art facilities for bioinformatics.

MMB is an international and dynamic department and has approximately 80 members, including PhD students, postdocs and Master students from more than 15 different countries. A group of sixteen staff scientists and fifteen research assistants (junior and senior) form the core of the Department. Nearly half of the core staff was recruited in the last four years creating a young, vibrant, diverse and multidisciplinary team.


Additional information

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. Dr. Helge Niemann
For additional information about the procedure, please contact Mylène Lormans  (sr. HRM advisor).

Please visit the Department of Marine Microbiology & Biogeochemistry here  and find more information on the project here.

Closing date for applications is September 30th., 2022 Interviews are foreseen at the end of October 2022.



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Application procedure

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. Dr. Helge Niemann
For additional information about the procedure, please contact Mylène Lormans  (sr. HRM advisor).

Please visit the Department of Marine Microbiology & Biogeochemistry here  and find more information on the project here.

Closing date for applications is September 30th., 2022 Interviews are foreseen at the end of October 2022.


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