PhD Candidates: Environmental Science, Hydrology, Socioeconomics, Toxicology or Ecology of Pollutants

0.8 - 1.0 FTE
Gross monthly salary
€ 2,770 - € 3,539
Required background
Research University Degree
Organizational unit
Faculty of Science
Application deadline

Are you eager to learn how emission, fate, and effects of pollutants (and the water, material and biomass flows that carry them) are related to the size of cities, catchments, organisms, and communities? Then join the ERC Advanced Grant project "The Power of Size" at Radboud University as a PhD candidate!

The aim of ’The Power of Size’ is to obtain relationships for the emission, fate and effects of pollutants as a function of size. We intend to derive overarching scaling principles applicable to multiple disciplines, including hydrology, socioeconomics, toxicology and ecology. To this end, you will collect data from databases, reviews, articles, and reports. Subsequently, you will derive and compare statistical and mechanistic relationships. As a lead author, you will publish the outcome in scientific journals and present the main findings at conferences in international settings.

We have six positions available for a total of six Tasks subdivided into three Work Packages. We aim to appoint three postdoctoral researchers (PD, 3 years) and three PhD candidates (PhD, 4 years). At first instance, Tasks 1.1, 2.1 and 3.1 have been assigned to PD positions and Tasks 1.2, 2.2 and 3.2 to PhD positions. However, we are flexible. If you have expertise in 1.1, 2.1 or 3.1, you can apply for a PhD position on that task as well, and likewise if you have expertise in 1.2, 2.2 or 3.2 for a PD position.

Work package 1: Emission and fate in basins and cities

Task 1.1 Transport of water in catchments and materials in cities (including buildings, vehicles, etc.).

Task 1.2 Transport of pollutants from cities to air and water/wastewater (including case studies).

Supervisors: Prof. Jan Hendriks, Prof. Birka Wicke, Dr Steef Hanssen.

Work package 2: Accumulation in vertebrates

Task 2.1 Transport of blood and oxygen between organs (covering different tissues, organs, etc.).

Task 2.2 Transformation of pollutants by enzymes and individuals (including in vitro/in vivo extrapolation and case studies).

Supervisors: Prof. Jan Hendriks, Prof. Ad Ragas, Dr Fiona Wang.

Work package 3: Effects on communities

Task 3.1 Transport and transformation of biomass in communities (including size spectra, diversity, productivity, etc.).

Task 3.2 Transport and effects of pollutants across trophic levels (including size spectra, diversity, productivity, and case studies).

Supervisors: Prof. Jan Hendriks, Dr. Wilco Verberk, Dr Aafke Schipper.

All PDs and PhDs also contribute to work package 4, aimed at cross-disciplinary integration of the scaling relationships obtained.

Your efforts will benefit both fundamental research and regulatory applications. On the one hand, you will contribute to a better understanding of the, intriguingly, dominant role played by size in the functioning of systems. On the other, the relationships you obtain will facilitate urgent assessment of risks of 1000+ substances for 1000+ species (incl. humans) at 1000+ sites.

A summary of the project is available here, and pilot studies illustrating the approach in monodisciplinary settings can be found here.

As a PhD Candidate you will attend courses offered by the Graduate School of the Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Science, improving your research and assessment skills. You will also supervise students and assist in courses at the BSc/MSc level, which may take up to (but usually less than) 10% of your working time.

For the Postdoctoral Researcher position on this project please see this website.


  • You hold a recent MSc degree in environmental science, hydrology, socioeconomics, physiology, toxicology, ecology or another field related to the topic of the Task of your interest.
  • You have experience in systematic data collection and quantitative analysis and enjoy describing complex systems by simple models (e.g. Y = a·Xb).
  • You have a good command of spoken and written English at C1 level.
  • You like collaborating with other people in a cross-disciplinary setting.  

We are

You will be based at the Department of Environmental Science of the Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences (RIBES) within the Faculty of Science. The mission of the Department of Environmental Science is to provide high-quality scientific knowledge that can help the world move towards greater sustainability. To achieve this, we aim to understand and predict the impact of anthropogenic pressures on ecosystems and humans and use the knowledge obtained to identify solutions for a more sustainable society. Our group currently consists of around 50 people, including around 25 PhDs and 10 PDs, offering a very open, inclusive and supportive work environment with regular social activities.

Radboud University

At Radboud University, we aim to make an impact through our work. We achieve this by conducting groundbreaking research, providing high-quality education, offering excellent support, and fostering collaborations within and outside the university. In doing so, we contribute indispensably to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. To accomplish this, we need even more colleagues who, based on their expertise, are willing to search for answers. We advocate for an inclusive community and welcome employees with diverse backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. Will you also contribute to making the world a little better? You have a part to play.

If you want to learn more about working at Radboud University, follow our Instagram account and read stories from our colleagues.

Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science (FNWI), part of Radboud University, engages in groundbreaking research and excellent education. In doing so, we push the boundaries of scientific knowledge and pass that knowledge on to the next generation.

We seek solutions to major societal challenges, such as cybercrime and climate change and work on major scientific challenges, such as those in the quantum world. At the same time, we prepare our students for careers both within and outside the scientific field.

Currently, more than 1,300 colleagues contribute to research and education, some as researchers and lecturers, others as technical and administrative support officers. The faculty has a strong international character with staff from more than 70 countries. Together, we work in an informal, accessible and welcoming environment, with attention and space for personal and professional development for all.

We offer

  • We will give you a temporary employment contract (0.8 FTE 5- year contract - 1.0 FTE 4- year contract) of 1,5 years, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, your contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4-year contract) or 3.5 years (5-year contract).
  • You will receive a starting salary of €2,770 gross per month based on a 38-hour working week, which will increase to €3,539 from the fourth year onwards (salary scale P).
  • You will receive an 8% holiday allowance and an 8,3% end-of-year bonus. 
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Support Service. The Dual Career Programme assists your partner via support, tools, and resources to improve their chances of independently finding employment in the Netherlands. Our Family Support Service helps you and your partner feel welcome and at home by providing customised assistance in navigating local facilities, schools, and amenities. Also take a look at our support for international staff page to discover all our services for international employees.
  • You will receive extra days off. With full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the statutory 20. 

Additional employment conditions

Work and science require good employment practices. Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions reflect this. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself. For example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports membership. And, of course, we offer a good pension plan. We also give you plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.

Practical information and applying

You can apply only via the button below. Address your letter of application to Prof. Jan Hendriks. In the application form, you will find which documents you need to include with your application.

The first interviews will take place in week 38 and 39. You will preferably start your employment as soon as possible.

We can imagine you're curious about our application procedure. It describes what you can expect during the application procedure and how we handle your personal data and internal and external candidates. 

Apply now Application deadline

We would like to recruit our new colleague ourselves. Acquisition in response to this vacancy will not be appreciated.

Would you like more information?

Prof. A.J. Hendriks (Jan)

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