PhD EU-ITN SeaChanges: Archaeology of groupers using isotopes (1.0 FTE)


Faculty of Arts


University of Groningen

Through dynamic teaching and innovative, award-winning research, the University of Groningen (RuG) (est. 1614) has gained an international reputation as one of the best research universities in Europe. PhD students at the RuG benefit not only from world-class facilities and supervision, but also from institutional alliances with prestigious partner universities and research networks around the world.

One of a small number of research institutes within the RuG’s Faculty of Arts, the Groningen Institute of Archaeology (GIA) is a leading international research institute with a strong inter-disciplinary research tradition in bioarchaeology, facilitated through world-class reference collections, technical staff, and the affiliated Center for Isotope Research (CIO).

Job description

Foraging ecology and catch size in Mediterranean groupers, c. 2500 BC – AD 500:

Groupers (Epinephelus) are a keystone taxon for the rocky shorelines of the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean Groupers are under increasing anthropogenic pressure, especially caused by overfishing and habitat loss. Assessment and management strategies, however, typically lack the long-term ecological perspective required to assess ecological baselines. Groupers were fished in the Mediterranean throughout the Holocene. Their archaeological record has unfulfilled potential to define variation in groupers’ status under distinct environmental conditions and exploitation intensity through time. Archaeological grouper bones can provide catch intensity, catch size, and trophic level data from zooarchaeological and nitrogen and carbon isotopic analyses.

The PhD candidate will employ ZooMS, metrics, and stable isotope analyses of recent and archaeological groupers to reveal the long-term ecological history of groupers in the eastern Mediterranean, from prehistoric times to the Late Roman Period in comparison with modern data from MPAs. Training in rocky reef ecology will be provided in Nice; ZooMS and stable isotopes via secondment at York.

Project framework: This project is part of “SeaChanges”, a Marie Skłodowska Curie international doctoral training network (ITN) integrating the fields of marine biology, archaeology and history through 15 fully-funded, salaried PhD studentships across seven institutions in six countries (the Universities of Cambridge, York, Vigo, Bologna, Copenhagen, Oslo, and Groningen).
The ITN offers state-of-the-art training to a new generation of outstanding young researchers. Marine environments are, and have long been, crucial to European economics, identity, and food security. The need for long-term perspectives to inform marine management is evident. SeaChanges will train a cohort of inter-disciplinary scientists who will merge zooarchaeology, historical ecology, palaeogenetics, imaging techniques, isotope biogeochemistry to understand threshold moments and enduring processes in past human-marine vertebrate interactions.


Applicants may be of any nationality, but must not have resided or worked in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to recruitment. Applicants should also be within the first four years (full-time equivalent) of the start of their research careers—measured from the date they obtained the degree formally entitling them to begin a doctorate. Applicants should have a master’s degree or equivalent, and should not have a PhD.


Required qualifications
• a master's degree in archaeology or biology
• excellent command of English and good academic writing skills
• demonstrable wet-lab experience (proteomics, stable isotope etc.)
• demonstrable skills in quantitative/statistical analysis.

Desired qualifications
• demonstrable knowledge in Mediterranean-type rocky shore ecosystems
• demonstrable knowledge in proteomics and/or stable isotope analyses
• experience and/or clear affinity with Mediterranean archaeology.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 36 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:
- a salary at €2,325 (gross) per month during the first year increasing to € 2,835 (gross) per month during the third year based on full-time [1.0 FTE] employment
- in addition, you are entitled to a holiday and an end-of-the-year allowance at 8% and 8.3%, respectively, of the gross annual salary.

The appointment is initially for 12 months to be extended with two additional years contingent upon a satisfactory assessment of the candidate’s performance after nine months. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. The conditions of employment are available at the University of Groningen website under Human Resources:

The start date of the appointment is be 1 October 2019.

Submission procedure
Please submit your entire application (in English) as a single PDF-file by 16 June 11.59 p.m./ before 17 June 2019 Dutch local time (CEST) by means of the application form (click on 'Apply' below on the advertisement on the university website). Please upload your entire application as "Letter of Motivation attachment".

Do you meet our qualification criteria? If yes, your application should include:
1. a cover letter introducing yourself, describing your motivation to conduct the scientific research described, and locating your research within the SeaChanges ITN
2. a full CV demonstrating academic excellence, including publications and presentations (if applicable)
3. a certified copy or scan of your MA diploma (or equivalent) and transcripts
4. a research proposal, focusing on the central research question to be addressed and the proposed method of approaching and answering this question (1000 - 1500 words). See the guidelines in the following website:
5. names and contact details of two academic references.

For questions regarding the submission procedure, please contact Drs. M.R.B. Wubbolts by email:

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Prof. C.J.W. Zwart (for questions regarding the Graduate School for the Humanities)

Dr. Canan Çakırlar (for questions regarding the proposal and the training network)

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 219321

Digital application form