Job description

At the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University, we are looking for an enthusiastic and ambitious colleague to further strengthen our group with a specific focus on nature-based solutions on climate adaptation and water.

Unsustainable land management and climate change have degraded ecosystems and natural carbon and water storage processes, leading to soil degradation and land subsidence as well as increased flooding and droughts. Meeting the Paris Climate Agreement by limiting global warming to below 1.5 – 2 degrees Celsius at the end of the 21 century requires negative greenhouse gas emissions. Much is expected of land-based negative emissions to sequester carbon by afforestation, reforestation, or soil and wetland restoration.

With nature based solutions, we expect to increase adaptive capacity to water-related effects of climate change while at the same time increasing carbon sequestration in the landscape and minimizing loss of biodiversity. We search for candidates with knowledge on soil and water processes in ecosystem functioning, preferably with empirical and modelling skills.


The candidate is expected to be able to develop an internationally renowned research line on climate adaptation and water. You apply a systems approach in which you connect nature-based solutions to soil, water and biodiversity.

You will contribute to the acquisition and execution of externally funded projects, including acquisition and supervision of PhD students. We will enable and coach you to apply for personal research grants.

The candidate will teach in the BSc programme Global Sustainability Science; in the MSc programmes Sustainable Development and Water, Science and Management; and supervise bachelor’s and master’s theses. Teaching topics include climate change, environmental hydrology and system analysis. Teaching is in English. In the first two years, the teaching load will be 50%; after two years teaching load will increase to 60%. We gladly receive applications from candidates who:

  • have a PhD in a relevant field in environmental sciences;
  • have expertise on nature-based solutions for climate adaptation;
  • have an interest in academic teaching;
  • have a network for the acquisition of externally funded projects;
  • have a record of international peer-reviewed publications;
  • can demonstrate English language proficiency at C1 level (CEFR or comparable to level 3 of the Lecturer Assessment Grid) or are prepared to obtain this level by training;
  • are proficient in Dutch or prepared to acquire Dutch language skills.


We offer a position (0.8 – 1.0 FTE) as an Assistant Professor for a probationary period of 18 months. Permanent employment will be offered based upon good performance, according to the Faculty’s performance indicators, after 18 months. The Faculty of Geosciences has an excellent merit-based career and promotion policy. As part thereof, career development up to Associate Professor (level 2) is possible without a so called ‘formation principle’, yet based on performance. The gross monthly starting salary – depending on qualifications and experience – ranges between €3,974 and €5,439 (scale 11 of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) for a full-time employment. 

Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8,3% per year. In addition, you will have access to all equipment in our state-of-the-art laboratory infrastructure, coaching for teaching and supervision of researchers, and training and support regarding the acquisition of external funds. Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University 

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. Facilities for childcare and sports are available on campus.

About the organisation

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University 

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, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht University’s Faculty of Geosciences 

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 studies the Earth: from the Earth’s core to its surface, including man’s spatial and material utilisation of the Earth – with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the faculty is a strong and challenging organization. The Faculty of Geosciences is organized in four departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact dr. Stefan Dekker 

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You are also invited to join our online information session via Microsoft Teams on:

You can ask us about our profiles and tasks of the offered position, the possibilities of professional development, and moving to and living in Utrecht (housing, visa, schools, partner opportunities). We look forward to meeting you!

The faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University is creating six assistant professor positions to strengthen its research and educational programmes in the field of climate science, climate impact and climate adaptation. Interested in our other positions? Click here 

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 to see our brochure.


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation via the ‘apply’ button below. 

In addition, please add the following information with your application in a Word file:

  • name and last name;
  • title, year and institute of PhD thesis;
  • current position and name of the institute;
  • the keyword of Expertise 1, Expertise 2 and Expertise 3;
  • (e-mail) addresses of two referees;
  • the titles and URLs of three most relevant publications.

Interviews for this position will take place on 7 or 8 September.

The application deadline is 15 August 2022.



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