PhD position in exploration of novel microbial lineages

Updated: about 2 months ago

Your job

Are you keen to unravel the physiology and cell biology of thus far uncultured microbial lineages? Are you looking to pursue a career in academia? We have a vacant PhD position in the exploration of novel microbial lineages. Will you join our team?

The past decade has witnessed a vast genomic expansion of novel prokaryotic lineages, resulting in a make-over and reshaping of the iconic Tree of Life. Many of the newly discovered lineages belong to the archaeal domain of life. Compared to bacteria and eukaryotes, archaeal lineages remain poorly studied, which hampers our current understanding of their physiology and cell biology. In the framework of the current project, we aim to employ innovative cultivation enrichment strategies and cutting-edge microscopy analyses to isolate and study cell biological and physiological properties of novel archaeal lineages.

As PhD student in our lab, you will be part of a diverse research team carrying out research focusing on the diversity and evolution of microorganisms – focusing on those that have thus far been poorly studied. Even though you will mostly perform your research independently, you are expected to collaborate with your colleagues. You’ll have a lot of freedom to explore and implement your own ideas in your projects.

Your responsibilities include the following:

  • development of targeted enrichment techniques;
  • setting up and maintaining (anaerobic) enrichment cultures of target lineages;
  • physiological and microscopy characterization of microbial lineages of interest;
  • you are expected to contribute to teaching in microbiology courses and supervise BSc and MSc thesis students.    

Your qualities

You are a highly motivated and curiosity-driven candidate with a strong interest in microbiology. You have expertise in enrichment cultivation strategies and microscopy techniques, and have broad knowledge of microbial metabolism and physiology.

You also possess:

  • a Masters degree in Biology, Biotechnology, Microbiology or a related field;
  • broad knowledge of microbial physiology and metabolism is essential, as is documented experience with (anaerobic) cultivation approaches;
  • affinity with microscopy and cell manipulation techniques, such as FISH, BONCAT, and FACS is essential;
  • experience with bioinformatics analyses of large biological datasets, such as (meta)genomics, proteomics and/or transcriptomics data, is considered a pre.

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 


. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found



We offer you

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

  • 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 € 2.770 - per month rising to € 3.539,-  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.

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 18th 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.

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. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.

Do you want more information?

For more information about this position, please contact Prof. Dr. Thijs J. G. Ettema, by email: [email protected] .

For more information about the procedure, please contact Rutger Voorrips, Corporate Recruiter, by e-mail: [email protected] .

Do you want to apply?
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.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including December 31st 2023 or until a suitable candidate has been identified. We hope to schedule the first job interviews early January 2023.

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. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment .

We are

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 students and over 150,000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

You will work here
The research is embedded within the chair Laboratory of Microbiology , which is led by Prof. dr. Thijs Ettema .

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.

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