Faculty Positions in Environmental Sciences

Utrecht University Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development


Two tenure track faculty positions Environmental Sciences at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development (1.0 FTE)

Job description

The Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University invites applications for two tenure track faculty positions at Assistant Professor level in the Environmental Sciences group. We are searching for highly self-motivated natural sciences oriented and quantitative scientists. Human-induced pressures such as climate change, increased food production, and deforestation are altering terrestrial systems. With these two new positions, we aim to contribute to the solution of these challenges in environmental sciences while also increasing our fundamental knowledge of the system. The first position is focused on ecosystem resilience. The second position is focused on Sustainable land, water and nutrient interactions.

1. Ecosystem resilience, Assistant Professor (1.0 FTE)

You will contribute to the understanding of ecosystem resilience in the context of global change and the ambition of sustainable development. We are interested in the interactions between human activities, the abiotic environment, the functioning of ecosystems and biodiversity. Ecosystems are under pressure, important issues are whether or not we can quantify ecosystem resilience, and restore ecosystem resilience. Examples include, but are not limited to, increased droughts and associated fires, but also restoration measures like reforestation. In this position, you contribute to the development of sustainable solutions for environmental change across scales. You strengthen our research line on the intersection between environmental sciences and spatial ecology. You have skills in mathematical modelling and statistical analysis.

2. Sustainable land, water and nutrient interactions, Assistant Professor (1.0 FTE)

You will contribute to the understanding of sustainable land use and cycling of water, nutrients and carbon in natural and anthropogenic terrestrial systems. Ecosystem services like food, water availability and quality, storage and sequestration of carbon, and biodiversity are under pressure by intensive land-use practices and climate change. With climate adaptation and sustainable land and water management we try to increase circularity and resource efficiency from a local to a global scale. For this position, we are interested in quantifying these changes either through scaling up empirical findings, modelling or analysis of large data sets. You strengthen our research line on the intersection between environmental sciences, hydrology and biogeochemistry.


For both positions we encourage applications from candidates who:

  • have a PhD;
  • have experience with and an interest in academic teaching;
  • have a network for the acquisition of externally funded projects;
  • have a strong record of international peer-reviewed publications;
  • are well connected to relevant academic partners as well as relevant stakeholders in society;
  • have excellent communication and interpersonal skills;
  • are able to demonstrate excellent English language proficiency. We require a qualification English at C1 level (CEFR or comparable to level 3 of the Lecturer Assessment Grid) or prepared to obtain this level by training.

Both candidates are expected to develop an internationally renowned research line at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. The candidates will teach in the BSc programme Global Sustainability Science (including mathematics and statistics) and two internationally leading MSc programmes Sustainable Development and Water, Science and Management. Teaching is in English. In addition, successful candidates will be expected to supervise Bachelor's and Master's projects. You will contribute to the acquisition and execution of externally funded projects. Acquiring, coaching and supervising PhD students is also one of your responsibilities. You will be stimulated and coached in applying for a personal research grant. In the first two years the teaching load will be 50%, after two years teaching load will increase to 60%.


For the tenure tracks we offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for six years in combination with a 4-year tenure track qualification programme. Your performance will be subject to annual evaluations as well as an end-term evaluation after 3.5 years. Following a positive evaluation - based on the faculty performance indicators - your employment will become permanent after four years, or sooner depending on the moment you qualify. In case the 3.5-year evaluation is not satisfactory, the contract will be terminated. A continuation after the first four years is exclusively possible for the purpose of compensation of maternity or parental leave or other recognized delays. Further career development to Associate Professor (level 2) is possible, depending on qualification. The gross salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience - ranges between €3,746 and €5,127 (scale 11 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including the choice for a good balance between work and private (a good arrangement for leave, among other things), possibilities for development and an excellent pension scheme and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.

About the organization

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The positions will be in the Environmental Sciences group, one of the four research groups of the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. The Environmental Sciences group is a dynamic, ambitious and internationally leading team of Researchers with a focus on fundamental and policy-oriented research of environmental processes, ranging from local to global scales. The Copernicus Institute has been evaluated in the 2014 international review as the highest ranked research institute in sustainability sciences in the Netherlands. Since then the institute has intensified its efforts in maintaining its leading position, among other things, by opening up positions for international scientists and by developing new, internationally oriented teaching programmes.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact: Dr Karin Rebel (Associate Professor), via k.t.rebel@uu.nl or Prof Martin Wassen (Chair Environmental Sciences), via m.j.wassen@uu.nl.


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation via the ‘apply’ button below.

Please note: Due to the current situation regarding the Corona virus (COVID-19) the process of selection and interviews may be subject to change.

The application deadline is

In your application, please refer to Professorpositions.com


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