PhD position Virus Evolution and Genomics (1.0 FTE)


Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programme and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 32,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. Quality has been our top priority for over four hundred years, and with success: the University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists.

The Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES), one of the largest institutes of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), fills a special niche in the life sciences by covering and integrating mechanistic, evolutionary and ecological approaches, aiming to understand adaptation on all levels of biological organisation. Researchers pursue fundamental questions while collaborating with partners from nature conservation, industry, medicine and other realms of society. Our research fields include ecology, conservation biology, evolutionary biology, behavioural biology, chronobiology, genetics and genomics, neurobiology, physiology and theoretical modelling, using a wide array of research tools. Research levels range from molecular and organismal to populations and ecosystems, performed under laboratory, semi-natural and field conditions.

Job description

We are looking for a talented and enthusiastic evolutionary virologist for a fully funded 4-year PhD position. The PhD candidate for this project will be working at the Virus Ecology & Evolution group (Microbial Ecology Cluster) in Groningen.

You will receive excellent training through cutting-edge research projects, advanced courses and training opportunities, complemented by workshops on generic research, transferable skills and teaching. As a PhD candidate, you are committed to conduct independent and original scientific research, to report on this research in international publications and presentations, and to present the results of the research in a PhD dissertation, to be completed within 4 years.

Project summary
Viruses infect every living organism, from bacteria to plants and humans. RNA viruses are characterized by a very high mutation rate that translates, combined with other factors, to an evolutionary rate several orders of magnitude faster than prokaryotes or eukaryotes.

This PhD project will be centred on exploring constraints on RNA virus genetic diversity, especially the impact of co-infection of different viruses from the same genus. As a model, we will use members of the Flavivirus genus where both insect-specific and arboviruses have been described, both of which can co-infect mosquitoes in the wild.

The work will consist of a combination of experimental virus evolution, molecular biology, sequencing, data analysis (statistics, phylogenetics) and modelling.


- you have a MSc with specialization in either virology, evolutionary biology or bioinformatics
- skills in data management and analysis, statistics and programming will be considered as an asset
- you have good command of English (oral and written)
- you are enthusiastic, a teamworker and have a passion for science
- you are highly motivated to work within the field of virus ecology and evolution
- you possess excellent communication skills, the ability to write scientific papers and deliver presentations.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 12 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:
• a salary of € 2,325 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 2,972 gross per month in the fourth and final year for a full-time position
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
• an 8.3% year-end bonus.

The position offered is for four years. You are first offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the contract period is to be expected. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and you will be enrolled in the Graduate School of the Faculty.

The conditions of employment are available at the University of Groningen website under Human Resources:

The PhD project is supervised by Dr Sebastion Lequime.

The preferred starting date is before 31st December 2020.

Job Application

You may apply for this position until 21 June 23.59h / before 22 June 2020 Dutch local time, by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Applications for the position should include (as a single PDF file):
• cover letter with background and motivation to apply for this position (letter of motivation attachment)
• curriculum vitae, including details of bachelor and master degrees and publication list, if applicable (CV attachment)
• contact details of 2 people who can provide information on your suitability for the position (extra attachment).

We are an equal opportunity employer that values diversity. We have adopted an active policy to increase the number of female scientists across all disciplines of the university. Therefore, women 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:

Sebastian Lequime

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 220164

Digital application form