PhD position Ecology and Evolution of Microbial Infectious Ecosystems (1.0 FTE)


Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

Job description

We are looking for a talented and enthusiastic quantitative microbiologist for a fully funded 4-year PhD position. The PhD candidate for this project will be jointly supervised by Prof. Rampal Etienne (Theoretical and Evolutionary Community Ecology) and Dr. Marjon de Vos (Experimental Microbial Ecology and Evolution), and Prof. Marnix Medema (Wageningen University, Bioinformatics).

PhD candidates 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
The PhD position is part of the ENW-XL consortium project ‘Urinary Tract Infections Revisited: Microbial Eco-evolutionary Drivers and Regulators’ (UTIR). In this project a multi-disciplinary team of clinical microbiologists, infectious disease specialists, bioinformaticians, modelers, chemists, and eco-evolutionary microbiologists will combine in vivo measurements with in vitro reductionist bottom-up experiments to identify the evolutionary strategies of microbes, and investigate how and why an established urinary microbiome goes “off balance” into a disease state that leads to recurrent urinary tract infections.

The work will consist of a combination of microbial growth experiments, theoretical modeling, molecular biology, and bioinformatic sequence and data analysis.

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 programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 37,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global centre of knowledge.

The Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES)
GELIFES, the largest institute 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.


Specific requirements: MSc with specialization in microbiology, ecology or evolution, theoretical modelling, quantitative biology, skills in data management and analysis, and statistics.

In addition to specific qualifications outlined above, the candidate has a good command of English (oral and written), is a team-worker, is highly motivated to work within the field of microbial ecology and evolution at the interface with medicine within an interdisciplinary consortium, and possess excellent communication skills and has the ability to write scientific papers and deliver presentations.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,247 gross per month in the fourth and final year
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
• an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
• minimum of 29 holidays and additional 12 holidays in case of full-time employment.

Each successful candidate will first be 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 the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of the Faculty.

The preferred starting date is 1 September 2023.

Job Application

You may apply for this position until 20 April 11:59pm / before 21 April 2023 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Interviews are scheduled to take place May 8, 2023.

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)
- detailed (1-2 pages) description of previous research experience, such as the bachelor/master research projects (extra attachment 1)
- contact details of 2 people who can provide information on your suitability for the position (extra attachment 2).

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:[…]/

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Marjon de Vos

In your application, please always include the job opening ID V23.0163

Digital application form