PhD position: “Foraminifera: many a little makes a mickle”

This vacancy is the result of the collaboration between Utrecht University and NIOZ. The Department of Ocean Systems (OCS) at NIOZ (Texel) are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate holding a master degree in Geology/Earth Sciences, Biology, Environmental Sciences and/or Paleoceanography. Experience in mineralogy, marine chemistry, or (eukaryotic) microbiology are a plus

2021-09-30 16:18:52

VACANCY ID:              2021-51
CLOSING DATE          October 31st , 2021.

The Faculty of Geosciences at UU offers education and research concerning the geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. With a population of 2,600 students (BSc and MSc) and 600 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organization. The Faculty is organized in four Departments: Innovation, Environmental & Energy Sciences, Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, and Human Geography & Spatial Planning. 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 students and postdoctoral researchers and houses a wide variety of world-class laboratories.

NIOZ is the national oceanographic institute and principally performs academically excellent multidisciplinary fundamental and frontier applied marine research addressing important scientific and societal questions pertinent to the functioning of oceans and seas. Second, NIOZ serves as national marine research facilitator (NMF) for The Netherlands scientific community. Third, NIOZ stimulates and supports multidisciplinary fundamental and frontier applied marine research, education and marine policy development in the national and international context.

Researchers in the Department of Ocean System Research (OCS) study open-ocean processes and aquatic ecosystems from a variety of disciplines including physical and chemical oceanography, marine geology, paleoceanography, and deep-sea ecology. We investigate the past and present ocean to assess its future role in the Earth system. We collect data during oceanographic research cruises and conduct experiments both at sea and in the laboratory at our home base on Texel. The department carries out work in diverse environments all around the globe, from the Antarctic to the Arctic, and from the Caribbean to the North Sea.


The formation of shells and skeletons made of calcium carbonate is important for atmospheric CO2 concentrations. More calcification increases the CO2 concentration in seawater and therefore decreases its capacity to take up more CO2 from the atmosphere. The exact mechanism by which marine calcifying organisms make their shells, however, is not clear. Finding out how calcification works, is all the more important since it may be influenced itself by changes in inorganic carbon chemistry. This bi-directional influence is the focal point of this research project in which we will look at the smallest possible scale to the formation of calcium carbonate shells by foraminifera.


We are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate holding a master degree in Geology/Earth Sciences, Biology, Environmental Sciences and/or Paleoceanography. Experience in mineralogy, marine chemistry, or (eukaryotic) microbiology are a plus. Furthermore, the optimal candidate must be interested in joining an interdisciplinary project and willing to perform analysis with novel techniques. The candidate is expected to perform research in both locations and will be advised by both supervisors. Due to the international character of our research, good command of English, spoken as well as written, is a prerequisite.

We highly encourage applicants from all members of our community and of diverse background,  including LGBTIQ+ communities, to join us.


Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). We offer a position for a period of 1 year (fulltime). At the end of this first year, the employment will be extended for a fixed-term of a maximum of 4 years, if the first year evaluation held with the employee is positive. The salary is compliant to the CAO-OI (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes), a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus of 8,3%, flexible work arrangements and 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.

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact Lennart de Nooijer or Helen King. Additional information about the procedure, please contact  Sigrid Moerbeek (senior HR advisor).

For more information about the Department of Earth Sciences, at Utrecht University see here; for more information about the Department of Ocean Systems at NIOZ, see here.

Find more information about the UU-NIOZ projects here.


Interviews will be held online (Microsoft Teams) in week 45.


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