The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is a research partner in the large European collaborative LEX4BIO research program to address the sustainability challenges of agriculture through studying the potential application of bio-based fertilizers (BBFs) produced from nutrient-rich side-streams (NRSS) such as sewage sludge, municipal biowaste and food industry by-products. The conversion of nutrients in NRSS into BBFs offers great potential for fulfilling the needs of farmers and consumer while reducing dependence upon mineral/fossil fertilizers, closing the nutrient cycles and balance nutrients in the soil. However, rigorous scientific research is needed to ensure that such BBFs can be used in a safe and sustainable manner both with respect to the environment and to human health. NRSSs potentially contain a large number of toxic organic pollutants, heavy metals, and bacteria that may persist in the BBFs produced from them. Upon their application, such pollutants may find their way into the soil and groundwater, as well as into the crops that are subsequently consumed by humans.

The aim of the overarching research program of the UvA is to determine risks related to the application of BBFs, including risks related to food safety, human health and environmental losses and producing solid guidelines for safe use of BBFs. The postdoc position plays a crucial role in this UvA program, and will be embedded in a larger research team consisting of two PhD students and senior scientists from IBED as well as its sister research institute of chemistry HIMS.

What are you going to do?

You will be responsible for determining and reporting the bioavailability and biodegradability of a number of organic pollutants from BBFs applied to agricultural soils in field trials conducted and sampled by our LEX4BIO project partners. For this you are expected to:

  • use passive sampling approaches, ASE extraction and GC/MS or LC/MS analysis to determine total and bioavailable concentrations of potential pollutants;
  • determine the primary biodegradation and mineralization of the pollutants of interest using standard and new protocols;
  • interpret your results within the context of the overarching LEX4BIO research project;
  • publish your results in a good peer-reviewed scientific journal;
  • help train a PhD student also employed on the project, in the analytical laboratory methodology used. The PhD student will assist you in your research.

What do we require?

  • A PhD in environmental chemistry or soil chemistry or a related field;
  • expertise in environmental fate studies of organic micropollutants in soils, including biodegradation, sorption and bioavailability;
  • experience in analyses using gas and liquid chromatography coupled to (high resolution) mass spectrometry;
  • the ability to actively design and develop your own research project, and perform high quality research with a high level of independence;
  • expertise with scientific writing and publishing;
  • a good communicator, able to work well in a research team and willing and able to contribute to the supervision and training of a PhD student;
  • the ability to make a flying start and work under time pressure;
  • the willingness and possibility to work on location at the University of Amsterdam.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 24 to 38  hours a week, preferably starting on 1 February 2021, for a period of 18 months.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be  €2,790 to €4,402 (scale 10) gross per month, based on a full-time contract of 38 hours a week. This is 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 is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Then find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.

About the Faculty of Science and the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamic

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.

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) is one of eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science. 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.


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

  • Dr Boris Jansen, Associate professor of Soil Chemistry
    T: +31 (0)20 525 7444

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 application by 29 November 2020. You can apply online by using the link below. 
Applications in .pdf should include a motivation letter and CV, including a list of publications.

No agencies please

Apply now

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