Postdoctoral fellow, Environmental Biology

Universiteit Leiden, the Faculty of Science, the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Deltares are looking for a Postdoctoral fellow, Environmental Biology

Job description

Outbreaks of (new) infectious diseases in humans and animals are becoming more prevalent worldwide. Various factors such as population growth, international travel and trade, changes in land use and climate change all contribute to higher disease risks. In the Netherlands, a relatively large number of people, livestock and animals live near each other, and exotic mosquitoes are becoming more common. The combination of water-rich landscapes, exotic mosquitoes, busy international trade and travel make the Netherlands increasingly vulnerable to future outbreaks of exotic infectious diseases. But under the right conditions, mosquito species native to the Netherlands can transmit (tropical) viruses too. The recent outbreak of the Usutu virus (the ‘blackbird disease’) among birds demonstrates the importance of early preparedness regarding such pathogens. The large interdisciplinary consortium “One Health PACT” employs an integrated, multisectoral program to come up with a preparedness agenda regarding the expected increase in risk of mosquito-borne disease outbreaks, and how this depends on global change scenarios.

One Health-PACT is an innovative, cross domain cutting research program of 7 academic institutes, 7 other knowledge centers, and 2 non-academic educational programs within the Netherlands Center for One Health and funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). One Health PACT stands for Predicting Arbovirus Change Tipping points in a One Health context and aims to bring together world leaders in virology, epidemiology, ecology, bioinformatics, entomology, environment and climate, hydrology, social sciences and geography, to train a new generation of researchers with interdisciplinary expertise from the perspective of One Health. The program employs an integrated, multisectoral, One Health approach in studying mosquito-borne emerging infectious disease outbreaks. In the project 26 PhD students will work with two postdoctoral scientists and a large team of senior researchers across a range of disciplines including environmental sciences, epidemiology, ecology, virology, ornithology and veterinary sciences.

The project is organized into four complementary, interacting pillars, with each pillar covered by research activities organized into 9 work packages (WPs). PhDs will be expected to have close collaborations within (but not limited to) each of the 4 Pillars: (1) ecosystem mapping; (2) forecasting and early detection; (3) impact and severity assessment; (4) interventions.

As a postdoctoral researcher, you will be collaborating primarily with PhD students in Pillar B and to a lesser extent with the other Pillars.

Key responsibilities

As a postdoctoral scientist, you will work on Change Scenarios in Pillar B on forecasting and early detection. You will integrate work on reservoir hosts, disease hosts, viruses, vectors, and their respective interactions, building from field and experimental data (collected in Pillars A and D), supplemented with data relevant to model VBD life-cycles collected from public sources (e.g., KNMI, CBS, literature, data from the EDEN/EDENext EU-funded projects). Hence, this postdoc project will develop a method and practical tools for early warning to quantify and predict when the critical emergence threshold will be reached for VBD.

The postdoctoral scientist will be employed by Leiden University and will be stationed at Deltares in Delft and Utrecht, and collaborate with other project partners based in Leiden, Wageningen and Nijmegen.

Requirements

  • A doctoral degree (PhD) in environmental sciences, natural sciences, mathematics or a related field;
  • Proven ability to make the connection between the latest data science, modelling techniques and researchers in physical, environmental, and (bio)medical sciences;
  • Extensive knowledge on natural processes (e.g., in biology, geography, chemistry or physics), combined with profound skills in modelling (process-oriented, spatial, mathematical, hyper/meta), scenario development, data science, modern programming languages and tools;
  • Demonstrated experience with spatially explicit and process-oriented modelling of environmental systems, preferably focusing on the relationships between environmental conditions, stressors and ecosystem integrity;
  • Experience in gathering and analysing large data sets from public literature or databases;
  • Good social and communication skills;
  • Excellent report writing and presentation skills.
  • Good time management and organisational skills.
  • Inquisitive, reflective and eager to grow;
  • Excellent command of the English language.
  • Dedication and enthusiasm for innovative research, combined with scientific curiosity and the capacity for teamwork in an interdisciplinary environment;
  • Candidates need to demonstrate mobility in terms of moving from one institute to another when taking up their appointment.

Conditions of employment

We offer a one-year full-term position with the possibility of renewal based on need, funding and performance. The position will be for the entire project duration of four-five years. The salary range is from €2,709.- to €4,272.- gross per month (pay scale 10 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at Job application procedure and employment conditions

Diversity

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Employer

Leiden University

The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are driven by curiosity to expand fundamental knowledge and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 1,300 staff and almost 4,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

The Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) is positioned in the Faculty of Sciences. The core business of CML is to perform research and education in the interdisciplinary field of Environmental Sciences. CML has two Departments: Industrial Ecology and Environmental Biology. Presently, over 90 FTE (including postdocs and PhDs) are employed at CML. CML collaborates with the TU Delft and Erasmus University (Rotterdam) in the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Sustainability and Centre for Metropoles and Mainports.

Deltares

Deltares is an independent knowledge institute in the field of water, subsurface and infrastructure. Our organization has over 800 employees from 36 nationalities. Deltares delivers knowledge that makes a difference through high-quality, validated and user-friendly software that is continuously developed. Our software is a global leader and is applied by engineering firms, governments and knowledge institutes. The software is used in solving social issues such as the consequences of flooding, sea level rise and coastal development, but also for the design of flood defences, land reclamation, water distribution and energy transition. Some recent examples are the Aqua Monitor, CIrcle and Delft3D Flexible Mesh.
Additional information

Enquiries can be made to Maarten Schrama, email m.j.j.schrama@cml.leidenuniv.nl.