PhD Position in Environmental Fate, Bioavailability and Bioaccumulation
University of Amsterdam Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

PhD position: Environmental fate, bioavailability and bioaccumulation of PFAS

Publication date 26 May 2021

Closing date 20 June 2021

Level of education Master's degree

Hours 38 hours per week

Salary indication €2,395 to €3,061 gross per month

Vacancy number 21-386

Do you have a passion for science and wish to understand the environmental risk of PFAS? Then the Universiteit of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) would like to get to know you.

The Department of Freshwater and Marine Ecology (FAME), Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), of the UvA and the Department of Ecological Science, Faculty of Science, of the VU offer two PhD Student positions in the project “Exposure, hazard and risk of PFAS in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems”, which is funded by the Open Technology Programme in the domain Applied and Engineering Sciences (TTW) of the Netherlands Science Foundation (NOW; project number 18725). The project aims at accomplishing a reliable risks assessment for PFAS in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems based on an improved understanding of the drivers of their exposure and hazard.

The two PhD students will work closely together to achieve this aim. After a critical review of the available literature on sources, fate, bioavailability, bioaccumulation, effects and risk assessment of PFAS, they will screen for (bioavailable) PFAS (profiles, levels) in water, soils and sediments (background, hotspots) to elucidate the drivers of environmental PFAS exposure. For this they will employ a suite of advanced passive sampling tools, and measure PFAS bioavailability and bioaccumulation in selected aquatic, sediment and soil organisms. PFAS hazards will be characterized by determining their ecotoxicity to these selected organisms. To improve PFAS environmental risk assessment, bioaccumulation and ecotoxicity will be related to the chemical properties of PFAS.

This call is for this PhD position (PhD 1) at the UvA; for the PhD position (PhD 2) at the VU, please check the website

What are you going to do?

The PhD student employed by the UvA’s Department of Freshwater and Marine Ecology will focus on the exposure-related aspects of the work by the studying environmental fate, bioavailability and bioaccumulation of the PFAS. Together with the PhD student at the VU, you will contribute to developing novel insights and tools for the environmental risk assessment of PFAS. The tasks of the student (PhD 1) more specifically include:

  • together with PhD 2, performing a literature review on sources, fate, availability, bioaccumulation, effects and risk assessment of PFAS;
  • performing a field screening of PFAS occurrence (profile, levels) in the soils and sediments (background, hotspots);
  • investigating the suitability of passive sampling tools for assessing PFAS exposure and bioavailability in water and sediment and soil pore water;
  • together with PhD 2, assessing the bioavailability of PFAS in relation to soil / sediment properties and biological properties of test organisms;
  • together with PhD 2, linking PFAS bioaccumulation to soil and sediment characteristics and chemical properties;
  • together with PhD 2, relating toxicity of PFAS to chemical properties;
  • together with PhD 2, developing an environmental risk assessment of PFAS.

In addition, PhD candidates are expected to write scientific papers for international per-reviewed journals, present their work in international conferences, and finalize their work in a PhD thesis. A limited amount of teaching is also part of the responsibilities of the PhD candidates.

What do we require of you?

We are looking for candidates with a MSc degree in Environmental Chemistry or Environmental Toxicology / Ecotoxicology. Candidates should furthermore have the ability to work independently and in collaboration with others, and have strong oral and written communication skills in English.

Our 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. 

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,395 to € 3,061 (scale P) gross per month, based on a fulltime contract (38 hours a week). 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 Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

About us

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) is one of eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science at the UvA. The research at IBED aims to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities. At its core lies an integrated systems approach to study biodiversity, ecosystems and the environment. IBED adopts this systems approach to ecosystems, addressing abiotic (soil and water quality) and biotic factors (ecology and evolution of plants, animals, and microorganisms), and the interplay between those. The IBED vision includes research encompassing experimental and theoretical approaches at a wide variety of temporal and spatial scales, i.e. from molecules and microorganisms to patterns and processes occurring at the global scale.


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

  • UvA Dr. Michiel H.S. Kraak,  T. + 31 (0)20 5257717
  • VU Prof. Kees van Gestel, T. +31 (0)5987079

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 20 June 2021. You can apply online by using the link below. 

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • a motivation letter and CV, including a list of publications,
  • if any additional information is needed, please add here

Please mention the months (not just years) in your CV when referring to your education and work experience.

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Bioloxy


All Jobs


Harvard University Academic Positions

Kuwait University Current Faculty Openings

Osaka University Academic Opportunities

Purdue University Job Postings for Faculty Positions

Texas Tech University Faculty Openings

Tsinghua University Job Postings

University of Cambridge Job Openings

University of Geneva Faculty Opportunities

University of New South Wales Job Openings

University of Nottingham Research Positions

University of Oslo Academic Jobs

University of Saskatchewan Faculty Positions

University of Southampton Research Vacancies

University of Tokyo Current Academic Vacancies

University of Toronto Open Faculty Positions