Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

Vacancy: Postdoctoral researcher in Global Ecology

17 November 2017

We have a job opening for a 3-year Postdoctoral researcher in global ecology at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The person will be responsible for conducting high-quality research on global ecology, e.g. on global biodiversity patterns and ecosystem functioning, human impacts on biodiversity, biogeography of species interactions, and/or global changes in ecosystems, biodiversity and ecosystem services. The person will also be responsible for fostering global ecology research within our institute, e.g. through the development of cross-departmental activities.

We are looking for a candidate with exceptionally strong quantitative skills in computer modelling, analysis of large biodiversity datasets, and/or solid experience in handling Earth observation and remote sensing data. Background in species distribution modelling, ecological network analysis, functional trait analysis and/or spatial ecological statistics is advantageous. The person should show a passion for global biodiversity and a deep understanding of how biodiversity and ecosystems change due to natural processes or human impact. Familiarity with R and GIS, programming skills, and experience in geospatial analyses are required. The candidate should also show strong writing and verbal communication skills and have a successful track-record of publications.   

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) is one of eight research institutes within the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. Our scientific work aims at a better understanding of the dynamics of ecosystems at all relevant levels, from genes to ecosystems, using a truly multi-disciplinary approach, and based on both experimental and theoretical research. Scientific focus is on aquatic (both freshwater and marine) and terrestrial ecosystems, evolutionary and population biology, ecosystem and landscape dynamics, and theoretical and computational ecology. We want to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities.

Project description

You will conduct high-quality research on global ecology with a focus on the distribution of life and ecosystems on Earth and how they change due to natural processes or human impact. This will include analyses of broad-scale patterns and changes of biodiversity and ecosystems, e.g. by using comprehensive datasets on species distributions, functional traits, phylogenetic trees and biotic interactions and/or by using new Earth observation data derived from global remote sensing data products. You are expected to write scientific papers on the project in internationally peer-reviewed journals, and to present the research at national and international meetings. In your daily work, you will closely interact with members of the Biogeography & Macroecology (BIOMAC) lab and be imbedded in the Department Theoretical and Computational Ecology. However, you are also responsible for developing cross-departmental research activities within IBED and strengthening global ecology at the institute level. There is the possibility, but not the requirement, to contribute to educational tasks, e.g. contribute to teaching within courses of the BSc Biology, BSc Future Planet Studies, MSc Earth Sciences and MSc Biological Sciences.


The candidate must have:

  • a PhD degree in global ecology, biodiversity, Earth science or a related discipline;
  • interest, passion and experience in biodiversity analyses, macroecology, computation and Earth observation;
  • exceptional quantitative skills and profound experience in handling and processing of broad-scale or global (geo/bio)datasets (e.g. scripting/programming in R or other languages, computer modelling, geospatial analyses, ecoinformatics, spatial statistics, handling of remote sensing datasets);
  • experience in building databases and familiarity in working with computational workflows;
  • willingness to work in a multidisciplinary team;
  • proficiency in scientific writing;
  • ability to speak and communicate in English at an academic level;
  • successful and strong track-record of publications.

Of additional advantage:

  • strong skills in species distribution modelling, ecological network analysis, functional trait analysis and/or character and rate analysis with phylogenetic trees;
  • experience with Google Earth Engine;
  • background in biodiversity informatics and open data science;
  • experience in relational database management and SQL;
  • experience in R package development;
  • solid natural history knowledge.

Further information

Interested? For more information on this position please contact:

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We offer a position for 38 hours a week in an exciting, dynamic and international research environment, starting as soon as possible. The full-time appointment will be on a temporary basis for a maximum period of three years. Initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory assessment it will be extended for a total duration of three years. This position is classified in the function profile Researcher at level 4. The full-time gross monthly salary varies between €2.588 and €4.084 gross per month, depending on relevant experience (salary scale 10). The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable. The annual salary will be increased by 8 % holiday allowance and 8.3 % end-of-year bonus.

Job application

Applications should include the following documents, all in one PDF file and in the following order:

  • motivation letter (max. 1-2 pages, containing your motivation for applying and a description of your previous research experience);
  • list of your 2-3 most significant publications (incl. a short description in 2-3 sentences what is interesting in each paper);
  • short outline (max. 1 page) of an idea for a research project on global ecology that you would like to conduct (will only be used for evaluating the applicants);
  • short description (max. 1 page) of how you suggest to develop cross-departmental activities for fostering global ecology research within IBED.

CV (with applicant’s e-mail address and telephone number, documentation of education and complete publication list, and contact details of two professional references [name, address, telephone and email]. References will only be contacted if the candidate is short-listed. Please add vacancy number 17-571 in the subject field. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  IBED