Post-doctoral Fellowships on the Origin and Evolution of Life (18.0 FTE)


Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

The origin and nature of life and its distribution in the universe are fundamental questions for humanity. How did biomolecules form? How did life emerge? How did cellular functions evolve? Is there life elsewhere? Will life cope with human-induced challenges?

If you:
• are an ambitious scientist fascinated by very fundamental questions about life, and you are ready for the next research career step
• have research experience in (bio)chemistry, (bio)physics, molecular biology, computational science, systems biology, evolutionary biology, ecology, astrophysics or geoscience
• can develop an original and innovative idea for an interdisciplinary research project on the origins and evolution of life
• are curious to learn new scientific languages to make the necessary crossovers between your field and other fields,

then please apply for a position in our exciting interdisciplinary oLife Fellowship Program.

About the oLife Fellowship Program
The oLife Fellowship Program is a joint initiative by seven world-leading research institutes of three universities in The Netherlands (University of Groningen, Leiden University, Eindhoven University of Technology). Supported by funding from the Horizon 2020 Framework Program of the European Union, we offer 18 postdoctoral fellowships for interdisciplinary research on fundamental questions concerning the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the universe.

Using a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach, we aim to break new grounds in four scientific areas:

i. Planetary preconditions and boundary conditions of Life, and its origins here on Earth
ii. Defining properties and synthesis of Life, from the molecular to the biosphere level
iii. Modelling, predicting and steering of Life
iv. Distribution of Life across the universe.

Job description

As a fellow in the oLife Fellowship Program, you are given the opportunity to work on your own interdisciplinary research project with advisors and research institutes of your own choice.

Together with 17 other fellows, you will follow a joint research and training program, consisting of scientific lectures, academic and professional skills training, and career guidance.

In The Netherlands, teaching and supervising students is an integral part of a researcher’s position. Therefore, you will be expected to prepare and teach your own lecture series on your field(s) of expertise and to supervise student research projects.

Also, you are offered the opportunity to go on secondments with our leading industrial, academic or non-profit partner organisations.

For more detailed information about the research, the involved research institutes, prospective supervisors and the training program, please visit our website:


• you qualify as an Experienced Researcher, meaning that you are in the possession of a doctoral degree or have at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience by 31 July 2019
• you have research experience in one or multiple fields relevant to the oLife Fellowship Program, such as (bio)chemistry, (bio)physics, molecular biology, computational science, systems biology, evolutionary biology, ecology, astrophysics, geoscience or a combination thereof.
• to comply with EU funding rules, you will not have resided in the Netherlands for more than 12 months during the 3 years prior to 31 July 2019
• you are proficient in English language (academic level).

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 36 months.

You will be offered a starting salary depending on the date you obtained your PhD and your postdoctoral years. According to the Collective Employment Agreement (CAO-NU) of the Dutch universities, the UFO-profile Researcher/Lecturer (salary scale 10) applies.
In addition to the primary salary, the University offers 8% holiday allowance and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%:
• 0 years: € 3,255 gross per month for a full-time position
• 1 year: € 3,389 gross per month for a full-time position
• 2 years: € 3,514 gross per month for a full-time position
• 3 years: € 3,637 gross per month for a full-time position.

You will have an initial appointment of 12 months that will be extended by 24 months if you perform satisfactorily. The fellowship will not be extended after the 36 months period.

The preferred starting date is between January and April 2020.

The oLife Fellowship Program has an inclusive policy. Therefore, candidates who have had career breaks or a diversified career path are especially encouraged to apply.

How to apply
You may apply for this position until 12 May 23:59 (Dutch local time) / before 13 May via our website:

The evaluation and selection procedure consists of four rounds:
1) Preliminary Proposals (deadline 12 May 2019)
2) Full Proposals (deadline 31 July 2019)
3) web-based interviews (September 2019)
4) on Campus Selection Days (November 2019).

For the Preliminary Proposal round, you are required to complete the online application form and submit one PDF file, containing (in the following order):
• a motivation letter
• a detailed curriculum vitae, including a publication list (max. 4 A4)
• a description of relevant research experience and most noticeable research results, including an abstract of your PhD thesis (max 2 A4)
• a brief description and motivation of your proposed research project (max. 2 A4)
• a copy of your PhD certificate.

You may freely select your own main advisor and co-advisor (via the online application form) and freely propose your research topic. Your research topic should fit within the oLife research framework and should address at least two of the four scientific areas, which are described on our website. Only applications that are complete and submitted before the application deadline via the e-application tool will be considered.

Applicants who are eligible and whose application has passed the threshold will be invited to submit a Full Proposal by 20 June 2019.

For more detailed information about the oLife Fellowship Program and the full application, evaluation and selection procedure, please view our website:

The oLife Fellowship Program is committed to the principles of the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers ( by the European Commission.

The oLife Fellowship Program has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 847675.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Vanessa van Hest, Programme Manager

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 219181-95