Netherlands: PhD Candidate in Accumulation of Chemicals in Arctic Food Chains at Radboud University Nijmegen

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Job description

Protecting Arctic ecosystems against anthropogenic threats is a global concern. So far, threats related to climate change have received the most attention, with global warming being very pronounced in cold regions. Potential threats associated with persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have received much less attention, despite high POP residues in various Arctic top predators.
In this project, a mechanistic model will be developed for the accumulation of POPs in non-human aquatic food chains in the Arctic. The model will be tuned and tested with data collected from literature, databases and experts. In addition, new data will be generated for POPs or species that are rarely covered. After the most noxious POPs and vulnerable species have been identified, wildlife population models will be set up for at least two top predators, probably including the polar bear. We will build upon earlier bioaccumulation and wildlife population modelling efforts in temperate systems. Where needed, the models will be adjusted to include features characteristic of the Artic, such as large seasonal changes.
The food chain accumulation model will allow us to explain high levels of POP residues in top predators. In addition, the population modelling scales up potential toxic effects on individuals to ecologically relevant endpoints. Thus, the modeling allows translation of anticipated changes in POP emissions and environmental levels to future Arctic food chain accumulation and corresponding population-level consequences.
The project is funded by the Netherlands Polar Programme of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The project description, which can be obtained from Prof. A.J. Hendriks, includes information about the experts, key publications, setting, objectives, methods, timetable, collaboration, policy relevance and on-going Arctic research of the participating groups.


You should hold an MSc degree in natural science, e.g. biology or chemistry. Experience with simple mathematical modelling and analytical techniques as mentioned in the project description is preferred. Important selection criteria are: curiosity, commitment and communication skills (especially a good command of written English).

Conditions of employment

– you will be appointed for a period of four years. Your performance will be evaluated after 18 months. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years;
– you will be classified as a PhD Candidate (promovendus) in the Dutch university job-ranking system (UFO).
– the gross starting salary amounts to €2,083 per month based on full-time employment, and will increase to €2,664 in the fourth year;

Contract type: Temporary,


Radboud University Nijmegen

Strategically located in Europe, Radboud University Nijmegen is one of the leading academic communities in the Netherlands. A place with a personal touch, where top-flight education and research take place on a beautiful green campus in modern buildings with state-of-art facilities.


Faculty of Science

You will be appointed at the Department of Environmental Science, which is embedded in the Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Faculty of Science. The literature review, meta-analysis and modelling work will be carried out in Nijmegen. The chemical analyses will be carried out at the Department of Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management, Wageningen University and Research. You will also cooperate with experts from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU, Trondheim), the Institute for Marine Research (IMR, Bergen), the Institute for Marine Resources & Ecosystem Studies (IMARES, Wageningen) and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM, Bilthoven).

No commercial propositions please.

Additional information

prof. Jan Hendriks
: +31 24 3652932
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