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Senior researcher soil ecology & biodiversity - NIOO-KNAW - Wageningen

Posted 14 Jun 2024
Work experience
1 to 3 years
Full-time / part-time
Job function
Degree level
Required language
Dutch (Fluent)
1 Jul 2024 22:00

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Hours per week: 30.4-38 hours per week Max salary: €6.737,- Contract duration: 1 year with the possibility for a permanent contract after that Deadline for application: 1 July 2024

At the department Terrestrial Ecology, we aim to understand, predict, and mitigate the effects of climate change, biodiversity loss and land use change in land-based ecosystems. Our research focuses on interactions between plants, microbes, and (in)vertebrates, in the soil and aboveground. Our approach is conceptual-experimental, and ranges from evolutionary adaptation to community interactions and ecosystem processes. Our aim is to enhance fundamental understanding of interactions and processes in nature in order to learn how to promote sustainability of life on Planet Earth.

NIOO aims to have at least 40% women and men within each functional group at NIOO. Given the current representation, we particularly encourage women to apply.

What you will be doing

As a senior researcher, you will further develop your own experimental-fundamental research line in a way that is well connected to the departmental research fields and NIOO’s research themes. You will achieve this by initiating, conducting and coordinating independent research, acquiring research funding, publishing in scientific journals, and reaching out to a wider audience. In your role, you will keep sight of making scientific and societal impact with your work.

Within our department, we strive for variety in research backgrounds, both at the group and on an individual level. We value collaboration and stimulate each other to share and connect knowledge and research within the team, within NIOO, and in connection to the national and international research landscape. You will play an active role in fostering this way of working by leading and further developing your own research group in an inspirational way and by networking internally and externally.

What you will be contributing

With your knowledge, background and curiosity, you will provide a novel contribution to the research field of soil biodiversity and soil community ecology. We are especially interested in applicants who express proven interest in how belowground interactions may influence plants and aboveground interactions. You will contribute to the Digital Reference Centre for Soils, a database that links soil biodiversity information to land use and land management, as well as to aboveground biodiversity. For this contribution, we expect affinity with developing and analysing big data from a spatio-temporal perspective. Additional recommendations will be expertise in, or affinity with molecular soil biodiversity analysis and soil-plant chemistry.

With your strong social skills and your ability to lead and inspire your research team, you will contribute to the development of your team members and the department as a whole. Your dedication to contribute to a safe and inclusive working environment will result in positive collaborations with colleagues and partners. In short, we expect you to identify with the core values that are central to NIOO: collaborative, impactful, innovative, responsible and inclusive.

Besides that, we expect you to have:

  • PhD degree in the field of soil ecology and biodiversity, and a proven scientific track record;
  • Demonstrable success in project acquisition and obtaining personal research funding;
  • Proven experience in planning, execution and coordination of (international) research projects;
  • Skills in mentoring early career stage (PhD, Postdoc) researchers and technicians;
  • Commitment to your future research having a basis in the Netherlands, with an international perspective, and to contribute to the department’s long-term research lines and field activities. Therefore, a driving license (B or BE) and ability to speak (or willingness to learn) Dutch are indispensable;

The ambition of NIOO is that at least 50% of our senior researchers become special professor at a university to ensure strong links with the Dutch universities.

If you are still on your way of becoming a senior researcher and the position sparks your interest, but you do not yet meet all the requirements, feel welcome to apply, as we are open to explore other opportunities.

What do we offer?

We have excellent research facilities varying from molecular, soil ecological, and chemical labs, top quality indoor and outdoor growth facilities, soil ecotrons, and long-term databases and experimental field sites. Besides that, we offer a great opportunity to develop your knowledge and further grow as an individual and professional. You will be guided by the Head of Department and supported with training to expand your set of skills.
Working hours can be discussed to facilitate an optimal work-life balance (0.8 – 1,0 FTE).

For more information

Please contact: Wim H. van der Putten, Head of Department,, +31 6 51193157. For more information about NIOO: For more information about the department, please visit:

Application procedure

For the application, please provide a curriculum vitae and cover letter summarizing motivation and experience. As part of the subsequent procedure, we will ask for names of 2 professional referees (name, address, telephone & email). Deadline for applications is 1 July, 2024. The interviews will take place in July and September and the preferred starting date is 1 January 2025.

About NIOO
The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO) is a national research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). NIOO performs leading ecological research on biodiversity, climate change and sustainable use of land and water, stimulates ecological research of the Netherlands and shares its ecological knowledge with society.

Terms of employment
Depending on education and experience the minimum salary is € 5.247,- and the maximum salary is € 6.737 ,- gross per month for a full-time appointment (scale 12 cao Nederlandse Universiteiten/KNAW). This is exclusive of 8% vacation allowance, 8.3% year-end bonus, travel allowance, internet allowance, home working allowance and pension accrual with ABP. The KNAW offers its staff an excellent package of secondary benefits. A package that meets the different needs of employees depending on their stage of life, lifestyle or career ambitions. For example, by working an extra two hours a week, it is possible to increase the number of days off from 29 to 41 days a year (with full-time employment). For a complete overview of the terms of employment, please refer to the web page: werken bij de KNAW.
Applying for a Certificate of Good Conduct can be part of the employment procedure.

Diversity & Inclusion
The KNAW considers a working environment in which everyone feels welcome and appreciated of great importance. A working environment in which attention is paid to individual quality and where development opportunities are paramount. Together we strive for an inclusive culture in which we embrace differences. We would therefore like to invite candidates who want to contribute to this through their background and experience. In the event of equal suitability, preference will be given to the candidate who thus enhances diversity within the Academy. We will not respond to any supplier enquiries based on this job advertisement.

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Active in 1 country
1,500 employees
50% men - 50% women
Average age is 40 years