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PhD position on the microbial ecology of sand filters used for the production of drinking water

Faculty of Science – Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

PhD position on the microbial ecology of sand filters used for the production of drinking water
Publicatiedatum 21 oktober 2019
Sluitingsdatum 2 december 2019
Opleidingsniveau Master's degree
Functieomvang 38 hours per week
Salarisindicatie €2,325 to €2,972 gross per month
Vacaturenummer 19-687

Do you want to contribute to the production of safe drinking water? We are seeking a PhD candidate who is interested in interdisciplinary research on the removal of pathogenic microorganisms during the production of drinking water. Slow sand filtration is a common means for this purpose, however, several factors, such as temperature, water quality, and the thickness of the so-called 'Schmutzdecke', i.e. a biofilm on top of the sand filter, might affect the performance of sand filtration and the removal efficiency. The aim of the current project is to understand the ecology of the Schmutzdecke and to develop a mathematical model to predict the removal efficiency of pathogenic microorganisms. For this, we will seed model bacteria and viruses, and nanoparticles to experimental sand columns and pilot-scale filters, and monitor their fate over time. Microscopic, microbiological and molecular techniques will be used to detect the presence of the bacteria and viruses, and to determine the community composition of the Schmutzdecke. High-resolution X-ray tomography will be used to 'track and trace' the iron-containing nanoparticles in sand columns and to investigate the influence of worms on the Schmutzdecke. The obtained results will be used to develop and validate the predictive model.

What are you going to do?

You are expected:

  • to perform scientific research on the project;
  • to publish your results in peer-reviewed scientific journals;
  • to present your research at conferences and meetings;
  • to take part in teaching efforts, including assisting in practical courses and supervision of bachelor and master students;
  • to follow an educational training;
  • to cooperate with other scientists both in the project and in the institute.

What do we require?

  • An MSc. degree in Microbiology, Microbial Ecology or Biotechnology;
  • experience with microbiological and molecular methods;
  • bioinformatics and computational skills;
  • interest in mathematical modelling;
  • excellent organizational skills;
  • fluency in oral and written English;
  • an interest in working in a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week, preferably starting at 1 January 2020 for the duration of 48 months. The full-time appointment will be on a temporary basis for a maximum period of four years (18 months plus a further 30 months after a positive evaluation) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. The PhD student is also expected to assist in teaching of undergraduates.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,325 to €2,972 (scale P) gross per month, based on fulltime (38 hours a week), exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favorable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits? Then find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.


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

About the Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 6,500, 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 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. We want to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities.

The PhD-student will work in the Department of Freshwater and Marine Ecology.

Job application

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.

Applications should include:

  • a motivation letter and CV;
  • the names and contact addresses of two academic references.

We will invite potential candidates for interviews on 19 december 2019. #LI-DNP     

No agencies please

Apply now