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PhD Researcher on Metabolic Network Models at CropXR/University of Amsterdam

Posted 4 Feb 2024
Work experience
1 to 3 years
Full-time / part-time
Job function
€2,770 - €3,539 per month
Degree level
Required languages
English (Fluent)
Dutch (Fluent)
3 Mar 2024 00:00

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Do you want to be part of the development of resilient crops that require no inputs that negatively impact our planet, and contribute to healthy life? Then you could be the ideal candidate to join our new, interdisciplinary (virtual) research institute CropXR!

CropXR brings together efforts from different academic disciplines (such as plant sciences, computational and data sciences, and social sciences) and private industry to help bring about sustainable change. It receives support from NWO, the Dutch National Growth Fund, and the Foundation for Food & Agricultural Research. CropXR was launched in 2023 to help make agricultural production less vulnerable to climate change and less dependent on artificial fertilizers and chemical pesticides. The institute is a joint venture of the universities of Amsterdam, Delft, Wageningen and Utrecht in partnership with Plantum, the Dutch plant breeding sector association.

With a budget of 96 million Euro over the next decade, CropXR focuses on creating eXtra Resilient (XR), sustainable, and climate-adaptive crops. By combining plant biology, simulation modelling, and artificial intelligence we aim to develop ‘smart breeding and cultivation’ methods to speed up breeding for complex resilience traits in different growing systems for several crops.

This PhD position is part of a project within CropXR’s core research programme. The overall aim of this workpackage is to understand how a plant responds to changes in the environment, at the level of gene regulation and metabolic output. In this workpackage five PhD students combine wet- and drylab approaches aiming to identify key regulatory genes and metabolites for optimized plant defence production.

As a PhD student you will be involved in the mathematical modeling of metabolic pathways by means of differential equations. We would like to predict the metabolic response of the plant to biotic and abiotic stress factors. We furthermore aim to integrate the dynamic mechanistic metabolic networks with gene regulatory networks. Your work will normally be caried out at the Science Park in Amsterdam.

What are you going to do?

You are expected to:

  • to complete a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
  • work independently, yet in close collaboration with the other PhD students within the CropXR consortium;
  • develop mathematical models in the form of differential equations in order to predict the behaviour of ametabolic pathway;
  • be active and eager in research and constructive in collaborations;
  • take part in scientific and social activities within the CropXR consortium, the research departments and the institute;
  • assist in teaching and supervise Bachelor and Master theses and tutoring students.

What do we require?

You have/are

  • a MSc degree in bioinformatics, computational science or mathematics, or biology;
  • trained in bioinformatics, computational biology or mathematics/computational science, with interest in (plant) biology. Or, trained as plant biologist with demonstratable affinity in computational modelling;
  • a proactive, curious attitude and creative ideas;
  • the willingness to learn and participate in scientific discussion;
  • a team player motivated to work towards common goals;
  • possess excellent command of written and spoken English as evidenced in your MSc theses.

Our offer

We offer a temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). This 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.

Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2.770 in the first year to €3.539 (scale P) in the last year. 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 University of Amsterdam is one of the largest comprehensive universities in Europe. With some 40,000 students, 6,000 staff, 3,000 PhD candidates, and an annual budget of more than 850 million euros, it is also one of Amsterdam’s biggest employers.
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