Assistant Professor of Ecology
Utrecht University

Assistant Professor of Ecology


Job description

As Assistant Professor in the Ecology and Biodiversity Group, you will help us build a bridge from the soil to plants. The world is facing a set of unprecedented global pressures, including climate change and biodiversity loss. Our group focuses on functional ecology to help us understand, adapt to, and mitigate these ecological changes.

Your piece of this collaborative puzzle should focus on the plant-soil interface. In particular, by using your molecular expertise and experience in working with the rhizosphere and soil microbial community ecology to answer questions about plant-soil interactions. A special focus on the interaction with climate change and soil carbon would be considered beneficial, as would an experience/interest in working with experimental ecosystems.

You will have the opportunity to develop your own research line within the collaborative environment of a world-class research group that focusses on the mechanisms that regulate biodiversity and allow for the maintenance of ecosystem functioning in our changing world.

As a member of our group, you will also play an important role in teaching, mentoring, and training the next generation of ecologists for our future. Teaching duties are flexible, collaborative and can be designed to suit your needs and values.

Please note that there are currently two Assistant Professor vacancies in our group. We are simultaneously looking for an Assistant Professor in Ecological Scaling (0.8 - 1.0 FTE). More information about this position can be found on our website.


You should be team-oriented, collaborative, and creative with a willingness to work in both fundamental and applied settings across systems. We are looking for a new colleague who complements our team at an academic as well as at a personal level. You should bring team spirit with a proven commitment and talent for research and education. You should apply for this position if you fit well with the position’s profile as described above and meet many, if not all, of the following qualifications:

  • a PhD in Biology or other relevant discipline;
  • research experience and track record in soil-plants interactions and/or ecological impacts of climate change;
  • experience with, or good prospects for, acquiring external research funds;
  • a vision on future research directions in your own area of expertise;
  • experience with, or readiness to, supervise PhD projects;
  • experience with and enthusiasm for teaching and student supervision (BSc and MSc level);
  • enthusiasm to use innovative teaching methods and (e-learning) technologies;
  • proficiency in English, both written and spoken.

We offer:
  • an appointment as Assistant Professor, starting with a fixed term contract. Following a positive evaluation after 18 months, this will be converted in a permanent contract;
  • the opportunity and guidance to develop yourself both professionally and personally;
  • a full-time gross salary – depending on previous qualifications and experience – ranging between €3,974 and €5,439 per month (scale 11 at the level of Assistant Professor (universitair docent; UD) according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (CAO));
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • A pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions from the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow.

For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.

About the organization

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow.

At the Faculty of Science, there are 6 departments to make a fundamental connection with: Biology, Chemistry, Information and Computing Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Physics. Each of these is made up of distinct institutes that work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing problems. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects. Find out more about us.

The Ecology and Biodiversity group at Utrecht University investigates the mechanisms that regulate biodiversity and allow for the maintenance of ecosystem functioning in our changing world. Research is focused on obtaining the process-based, mechanistic understanding of community assembly, species interactions, and functional responses required to predict the future impacts of climate and land-use changes on biodiversity and ecosystem functions. The group seeks to use the most modern, quantitative and mechanistic approaches to tackle major issues in ecology that are directly relevant to making an impact on nature and society. This vision is also supported by access to unique experimental infrastructure, such as the UU-BioCliVE and NPEC’s Ecotron facilities.

Additional information

If you have any questions that you’d like us to answer, please contact prof. George Kowalchuk (professor) at, or dr. Katie Barry (Assistant Professor) at

Do you have a question about the application procedure? Please send an email to

Are you an international applicant? Our International Service Desk can answer your questions about living in the Netherlands as international staff.


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. 

If you are enthusiastic about this position, just apply via the "Apply now" button! Please enclose:

  • your letter of motivation;
  • your curriculum vitae;
  • Optional: the names, telephone numbers, and email addresses of at least two references.

If this specific opportunity isn’t for you, but you know someone else who may be interested, please forward this vacancy to them.

Note to recruitment agencies: Please refrain from contacting us regarding this job posting.

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The application deadline is

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