Vacancy: Assistant Professor Molecular ecology (Tenure Track)

Published on
May 14, 2019

We are looking for

Within the Chair group of Nematology, we have a vacancy for an assistant professor. We are looking for candidates with expertise and hands-on experience in (soil) molecular ecology. Plant-parasitic nematodes constitute a major group of (predominantly) belowground herbivores, and we would like to study their biology and ecology in its full biotic complexity. Mainly - but not exclusively - the candidate will focus on manipulations that will contribute to durable pathogen management in agro-ecosystems. To understand the impact brought about by changes in / manipulations of (a)biotic soil conditions, he or she will make ample use of the opportunities offered by high throughput sequencing techniques. Bioinformatics and advanced statistics will be essential tools required for the identification of biologically or ecologically relevant signals in noisy backgrounds. Working experience in several laboratories is advantageous as the network of the candidate might contribute to fruitful national and international collaborations.
We expect candidates to possess or develop skills in writing research proposals and to attract PhDs and external funding. As education is an important and valued task of our laboratory, the candidate we are looking for should be a stimulating teacher.

We ask

  • Candidates should have a demonstrable track record in research in the area of (molecular) soil ecology.
  • You have a strategic view on both the fundamental and more applied aspects of soil ecology that allow you to identify and develop new lines of research with the ambition to position yourself at the forefront of soil ecology.
  • You are able to contribute to developments in the analyses of complex and large data sets on resident and active fractions of the soil living community.
  • You have a keen interest in agro-ecological systems, and convinced that steering of soil life could contribute to durable food production.
  • You are a motivating teacher with experience in teaching regular courses and in the guidance of research theses of BSc and MSc students.
  • You are a team player, intrinsically convinced that successful research in this field is the result of coordinated collaborative efforts.
  • You are willing to contribute to the general tasks within the chair group related to the internal functioning and the external embedding of the Laboratory of Nematology.

This position requires an excellent English language proficiency  (a mininum of CEFR C2 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special

We offer

Wageningen University offers talented scientists a challenging Tenure Track career trajectory. Once appointed as Assistant Professor you can grow into a Professor holding a Personal Chair. Career steps follow an assessment of performance at predefined times by a tenure track committee.

This is initially a seven year position in which you will enter the tenure track. We provide a stimulating environment for science, with commitment to help you develop in your career. We offer you a temporary contract which will be extended if you perform well. Gross salary per month: from € 3.637,- up to € 4.978,- (Scale 11 VSNU) based on full time employment and depending on expertise and experience. In addition, we offer a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-the-year bonus of 8.3% of your annual salary.

The selected candidates will be interviewed by a recruitment committee (second round).

More information

For questions about this vacancy you can contact Hans Helder ( or Geert Smant (

For more information about Tenure Track within Wageningen UR look at

Please upload a cover letter, your CV and a research and teaching statement.
You can apply online via up to and including 27 May 2019.

We are

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialised research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With approximately 30 locations, 5,000 employees, and 10,000 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the unique approach of Wageningen.

For further information about working at Wageningen University & Research, take a look at the special career site.

The Laboratory of Nematology is a flourishing research group within the Department of Plant Sciences of Wageningen University. In total about 35 people are current working at Nematology on 4 research themes: molecular ecology and evolution, nematode effectors in relation to animal and plant parasitism, host plant resistances, and Caenorhabitis elegans as a model for disease development and aging. The current vacancy resides under the theme ‘molecular ecology and evolution’. Within this theme we reconstruct nematode evolution in the absence of fossil records. Based on molecular data from an unprecedented diversity of nematodes, we discovered that convergent evolution is all over the place, and it is fascinating to see how often and in how many qualities trophic lifestyles arose within the phylum Nematoda.
Within the molecular ecology and evolution group, two major developments can be discerned that both relate to the opportunities offered by massive DNA and RNA sequencing. On the one hand we are zooming in, comparative genomics of plant-parasitic nematodes, while on the other hand we are zooming out. To understand the biology and ecology of nematodes, we have to take their biological surroundings in its full complexity into consideration. Such a broad view includes primary decomposers, bacteria and fungi, and all major players in the higher levels of the soil food web. Next to the presence and density (‘the resident community’), we also pay ample attention the active community. We are convinced that durable management of detrimental and beneficial soil organisms in agro-ecological or natural context necessitates such a holistic approach. Recent technological progress facilitates this, but this development critically depends on advanced bioinformatics and statistical analyses. As a Laboratory of Nematology, we want to further develop and extend this niche making sure that new molecular ecological insights are implemented in education at BSc and MSc level. To realize this aspiration, we are looking for a tenure tracker with both the skills and the ambition to make this into a flourishing research line within our lab.

For general information, see: