Position Announcements

Postdoctoral scientist 'Biological sources and calibration of organic proxies'


The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) is the Dutch oceanographic institute and carries out leading fundamental and applied frontier research on, in and under the sea worldwide. The accent is on seagoing research, for which the NIOZ uses its own fleet. The NIOZ is the link between the Dutch universities, facilitating and supporting research and education. The NIOZ has branches on Texel and in Yerseke. Around 370 people work on combined biological, physical, chemical and geological research in various departments. The pièces de résistance of the NIOZ include the ocean-going RV Pelagia, the technical workshops, laboratories and its outstanding marine research. The NIOZ is an institute of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Globally, oceans and seas are becoming increasingly important socially and that also applies, or perhaps in particular, to the Netherlands. The sea is being used more and more for transport, energy and food but also, and increasingly, for the extraction of minerals in ever deeper areas of the oceans. In addition, the interaction between the atmosphere and the oceans plays a regulatory role in the climate system. Improved knowledge of the sea and oceans is essential to be able to deal with our planet in a sustainable manner. In the coming years, the NIOZ aims to strengthen its central function nationally and internationally in this sector and in order to achieve this, we are going to be initiating innovations in the field of multidisciplinary and high-tech marine research for society and industry. The NIOZ stands for better understanding of the seas and oceans and making our research achievements accessible.

In short, laboratories of excellence, internationally-oriented research groups acting worldwide, its own research fleet. Opting for the NIOZ means working in a ground-breaking knowledge environment. The ideal breeding ground for talented young and senior scientists who put high demands on their research environment. People-oriented, performance-driven and international. 

The department of Marine Organic Biogeochemistry (department chair: Prof. Dr. Jaap Sinninghe Damsté), studies the application of both concentrations and isotopic compositions of biomarkers for applications in microbial ecology and reconstruction of paleo-environments. 

The department is looking for a 

Postdoctoral scientist

Project title "Biological sources and calibration of organic proxies."

as part of the ERC-funded project "DIOLS"

 Vacancy number: 2013-071

 Job description:

The aim of the ERC-funded project "DIOLS" is to develop novel paleoclimate proxies based on organic compounds. The project is comprised of several subprojects each focusing on different aspects of the proxies and from a different discipline, i.e. molecular biology, algal physiology, analytical chemistry, geochemistry and paleoclimatology.

 In this subproject, the overall goal is to determine the biological sources of biomarker lipids, in particular long chain diols, and perform culture experiments to calibrate organic proxies and constrain the effects of other environmental parameters such as nutrients and light. The biological sources of biomarker lipids in the natural environment will be constrained by comparing their concentrations and distribution with the abundance and composition of their microbial sources based on (functional) gene analysis. In addition, culture experiments on isolates will be performed, in order to examine the impact of culture conditions (temperature, nutrients, salinity) on the concentration, distribution and stable carbon isotopic composition of biomarker lipids, in particular long chain diols. Finally, long chain diol standards will be obtained, through mass cultivation, from which calibration mixtures can be made in which ratios of long chain diols and concentrations can be appropriately quantified.  


 We are looking for a highly motivated and driven individual with excellent technical and cognitive abilities. Applicants must have a strong background in molecular biology and algal physiology. Experience with genomic techniques as well as culturing (continuous, batch) is a prerequisite, experience with lipid analysis is beneficial. Good English oral and writing skills are essential. 

Conditions of employment:

 A fulltime position for 3 years, a yearly 8% vacation allowance, year-end bonus and flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement of Research Centers. The position will be located on Texel. Cost of relocation and help with housing is provided by NIOZ. 

Further information:

 Additional information about this vacancy can be obtained from:

Prof dr. ir. S. Schouten, senior scientist (stefan.schouten@nioz.nl )

Prof. dr. ir. J. S. Sinninghe Damsté, Department Head (jaap.damste@nioz.nl )


 Applicants should send a cover letter with motivation, CV, names and email addresses of two referees, to the HRM Department, Jolanda Evers Royal NIOZ, P.O. Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, the Netherlands, or preferably per e-mail to: jobs@nioz.nl  Please quote the  vacancy number 2013-071 in your application. 

Closing date: Applications can be submitted until 1 November, 2013.