Are you a highly motivated and skilled PhD candidate with a recent MSc degree in environmental sciences, biology or related area? Do you have good communication skills, are you a result-driven team player and are you keen to develop yourself in a PhD project? And do you have experience in experimentation in relation to the ecological effects of chemicals? Then this could be the ideal PhD position for you!

You willbe part of the EU funded RATION project, which is an Horizon project consisting of 22 partners from all over Europe, aiming to improve the risk assessment of new low risk pesticides. PhD project: Developing new aquatic ecotoxicological testing strategies for new, low risk pesticides.

Your work will facilitate the transition from the use of conventional, synthetic, high risk pesticides to low risk pesticides (LRP) by developing new aquatic, ecotoxicity test methods. LRP include plant extracts, semiochemicals like pheromones and allelochemicals, microbial pesticides, and are gaining ground in the global market. Despite on-going regulatory efforts by the European Commission, we are still lacking a concrete risk assessment scheme relevant to LRP, a point which blocks the use of LRP in agriculture. RATION timely comes to address these regulatory constraints and aims to develop a novel RA scheme, supported by the necessary guidance on methods and tools, tailored to the specific characteristics of established and emerging LRP solutions.

The aim of this PhD project is to develop new testing procedures (existing models and newly developed if deemed necessary) for assessing the aquatic ecotoxicity of LRP. These testing methods will include multiple levels of biological organisation using tools spanning from single species test to mesocosms. As a PhD student you will work at the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management Group of Wageningen University.

We ask

Successful candidates have

  • a recent university MSc degree in environmental sciences, biology or related area, with a strong experimental aquatic and/or ecotoxicology-related background, preferably with experience at different levels of biological organisation.
  • a command of the English language at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognized Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language.

We offer

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our  Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.541,- per month rising to € 3.247,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “ Best University ” in the Netherlands for the 18th  consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research’s International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR.

More information

Do you want more information?
For more information about this position, please contact prof Paul van den Brink, professor at the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management Group,
For more information about the procedure, please contact Edgar Tijhuis, corporate recruiter,

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly by uploading your CV and motivation letter, using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.
This vacancy will be listed up to and including 9 January 2023. We hope to schedule the first job interviews in the week of the 16th of January. The preferred starting date for this position is between February and April 2023.

We are

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

The Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management Group of Wageningen University focusses on the following research areas: the ecological structure and functioning of marine and freshwater systems, the physical-chemical quality of surface waters and sediments, the impact of water quality on human use of surface water, including diversity modelling of ecosystem relations and the fate and effects of substances. The research of the group is multidisciplinary (environmental engineering, environmental chemistry and aquatic ecology) and ranges from the laboratory scale (detailed process studies) to the scale of actual ecosystems (field studies).

The multidisciplinary expertise of the team comes together in the development of integrated models for ecosystem and water quality management. The chemical stress ecology sub-group aims to incorporate more ecological theory by introducing novel methods, among others, traits based approaches and mechanistic effect models. This to improve the ecological risk assessment of chemicals but also to obtain a better linkage with the assessments of effects of emerging chemicals and multiple stressors, the latter also including non-chemical stressors like climate change, habitat destruction and flow alteration.

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