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PhD Candidate: Modelling Global Biodiversity Change

Posted 14 Jun 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)
20 Jun 2024 00:00

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Are you interested in understanding and predicting global biodiversity change and identifying solutions for biodiversity conservation? If so, come and join us to develop and apply new modelling approaches to quantify how species and communities respond to global environmental change and possible conservation measures. You will be part of a larger team studying broad-scale biodiversity patterns and trends, with the ultimate aim of identifying solutions for a more sustainable and nature-inclusive society.

Human activities are causing major changes in biodiversity and ecosystems across the globe. Prominent threats to biodiversity include habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change and pollution. Biodiversity models are indispensable to quantify the impacts of these threats on biodiversity and to assess the effectiveness of possible measures to conserve and restore biodiversity.

In this project you will develop and apply global models to understand how biodiversity responds to human activities. Building upon the increasing availability of global datasets on biodiversity and underlying direct drivers (such as climate and land use), you will quantify how the distributions and population sizes of species and the composition of ecological communities respond to anthropogenic environmental change. You will then apply these models in scenario simulations to explore how potential future environmental change (e.g. projected climate change) as well as possible conservation measures (e.g. expansion of the global protected area network) may affect species and ecological communities globally. You will collaborate with researchers from PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency to ensure that the models and scenario simulations are useful for policy and decision support.

Besides conducting research, you will also dedicate about 10% of your working time to teaching BSc and MSc students. Teaching activities include guiding students in courses and research projects and developing and testing course materials.


  • You hold an MSc degree in Biology, Ecology or a relevant related field within the natural sciences.
  • You have a drive to better understand broad-scale biodiversity patterns and trends.
  • You are familiar with statistical and/or process-explicit ecological modelling.
  • You have experience with at least one common high-level programming language, such as R, Python, or Matlab.
  • You are not afraid of data processing or programming challenges - or even enjoy these.
  • You appreciate collaborative and solution-oriented research.
  • You have good communication skills in both written and spoken English.

We are

You will be based at the Department of Environmental Science of the Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences (RIBES). The mission of the Department of Environmental Science is to provide high-quality scientific knowledge that can help the world move towards greater sustainability. To achieve this, we aim to understand and predict the impact of anthropogenic pressures on ecosystems and humans from the landscape to the global scale and use the knowledge obtained to identify solutions for a more sustainable society. Our group currently consists of around 50 people, including around 25 PhD candidates, and offers a very open, inclusive and supportive work environment with regular social activities.

Radboud University

At Radboud University, we aim to make an impact through our work. We achieve this by conducting groundbreaking research, providing high-quality education, offering excellent support, and fostering collaborations within and outside the university. In doing so, we contribute indispensably to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. To accomplish this, we need even more colleagues who, based on their expertise, are willing to search for answers. We advocate for an inclusive community and welcome employees with diverse backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. Will you also contribute to making the world a little better? You have a part to play.

Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science (FNWI), part of Radboud University, engages in groundbreaking research and excellent education. In doing so, we push the boundaries of scientific knowledge and pass that knowledge on to the next generation.

We seek solutions to major societal challenges, such as cybercrime and climate change and work on major scientific challenges, such as those in the quantum world. At the same time, we prepare our students for careers both within and outside the scientific field.

Currently, more than 1,300 colleagues contribute to research and education, some as researchers and lecturers, others as technical and administrative support officers. The faculty has a strong international character with staff from more than 70 countries. Together, we work in an informal, accessible and welcoming environment, with attention and space for personal and professional development for all.

We offer

  • We will give you a temporary employment contract (1.0 FTE) of 1.5 years, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, your contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4-year contract).
  • You will receive a starting salary of €2,770 gross per month based on a 38-hour working week, which will increase to €3,539 in the fourth year (salary scale P).
  • You will receive an 8% holiday allowance and an 8,3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Support Service. The Dual Career Programme assists your partner via support, tools, and resources to improve their chances of independently finding employment in the Netherlands. Our Family Support Service helps you and your partner feel welcome and at home by providing customised assistance in navigating local facilities, schools, and amenities. Also take a look at our support for international staff page to discover all our services for international employees.
  • You will receive extra days off. With full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the statutory 20.

Additional employment conditions

Work and science require good employment practices. Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions reflect this. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself. For example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports membership. And, of course, we offer a good pension plan. We also give you plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.

De Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen is een van de beste brede, klassieke universiteiten van Nederland. Gelegen op een groene campus ten zuiden van het stadscentrum van Nijmegen. Onze universiteit wil bijdragen aan een gezonde, vrije wereld met gelijke kansen voor iedereen.
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