PhD position Properties and fate of PFAS in the watercycle and significance for exposure

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 24 Apr 2020

Do you like to work in an international team of young researchers all over Europe on a topic of global environmental concern?We are seeking a PhD candidate who is interested in interdisciplinary research into the fate and exposure of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) within the context of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) ITN (Innovative Training Network) PERFORCE3. PERFORCE3 is a European-wide multi-partner doctoral training programme. For more information see

PFAS comprise more than 4’700 substances and are of global concern due to poorly defined risks to the environment and human health. PERFORCE3 will greatly improve our understanding of these globally pervasive contaminants, identify solutions for PFAS contamination problems and improve environmental and human health risk assessment frameworks and policies.

You will work together with world leaders in a range of disciplines (e.g. synthetic, environmental and analytical chemistry, pharmacokinetics, epidemiology, toxicology, remediation science and chemical policy) and with state-of-the art technologies. Your position will include independent research work in individual yet interlinked research projects and a well-structured training program, including technical and professional transferable skills courses, as well as lab visits and secondments.

Your participation in PERFORCE3 will foster your creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship and boost your career perspectives through international, interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral mobility opportunities creating a fruitful network for the rest of your career.

What are you going to do?

You will investigate the environmental occurrence and fate of new and unknown PFAS in the drinking water cycle, and assess the role of drinking water in the human exposure to PFAS. You will combine laboratory work, modelling work and field experiments and communicate your results via conference presentations and publications in peer-reviewed journals. You will write a high-quality PhD thesis, while closely working with the international project team.

You are expected:

  • to develop new analytical methods for new known and unknown PFAS in the (drinking) water cycle;
  • to investigate occurrence and behavior of alternative PFAS during water treatment, including new advanced water treatment technologies;
  • to assess the contribution of drinking water to human exposure of PFAS;
  • to assess sorption properties of emerging and alternative PFASs to key environmental substrates and improve the environmental fate modelling after emissions.

Furthermore, we expect you to be an active member of our research group and to take part in teaching efforts, including assisting in practical courses and supervision of bachelor and master students.

You will have secondments and trainings with other partner institutes involved in ITN PERFORCE3.

What do we require?


  • have a MSc degree or equivalent in the field of environmental science, water science, environmental chemistry, analytical chemistry, risk assessment, or a related field;
  • can show relevant scientific and technical skills, have experience with practical lab work preferably related to environmental chemistry;
  • have good analytical and statistical skills, including the use of programming languages such as R;
  • have excellent English language and communication skills;
  • are motivated to pursue a PhD, are independent and have the ability to collaborate and to engage in a training network;
  • are willing to relocate and reside abroad and to travel for secondments, training and project meetings;
  • are available to start the PhD position before 1 July 2020.

As the project is part of ITN, some additional requirements are:

  • you are in the first four years of your research career, in full-time equivalent experience after you obtained your first degree entitling you to embark on a doctorate
  • you must not hold a doctoral degree or equivalent
  • you can be of any nationality. However, you must not have resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the date of appointment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not included.

The ITN PERFORCE3 follows the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. The consortium aims to offer equal opportunities to all its participants. Applications are welcomed from eligible applicants regardless of gender, nationality, race, or ethnic origin.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,325 to €2,972 (scale P) gross per month, based on full-time employment (38 hours a week). These amounts are exclusive 8 % holiday allowance and 8,3 % end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The  Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities  applies. 

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits such as our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look at our website .

Further information

Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

About the faculty

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

TheInstitute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) is one of eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. The research at IBED aims to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities. At its core lies an integrated systems approach to study biodiversity, ecosystems and the environment. IBED adopts this systems approach to ecosystems, addressing abiotic (soil and water quality) and biotic factors (ecology and evolution of plants, animals, and microorganisms), and the interplay between those. The IBED vision includes research encompassing experimental and theoretical approaches at a wide variety of temporal and spatial scales, i.e. from molecules and microorganisms to patterns and processes occurring at the global scale.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your CV and cover letter by 24 April 2020. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications should include:

  • a motivation letter and
  • a CV, including suggested referents.


No agencies please

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