Assistant Professor in Plant-Microbe interactions

VU University of Amsterdam Department of Ecological Sciences

Are you interested in Plant-Microbe symbioses? Do you want to develop novel techniques to study species interactions in ecology and evolution? This vacancy is one of two tenure-track positions that the Department of Ecological Sciences is currently offering. 


FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

Plant tissues house some of the most diverse, yet vastly neglected, microbial communities on Earth. Exploring the untapped potential of these complex microbial communities remains one of the greatest scientific endeavors of our time. We are looking for an outstanding biologist, with a research focus on plant-microbe interactions in a broad sense. The successful candidate will work to disentangle the complexity, and functionality of plant-associated microbes at various scales of biological organization. Potential areas of expertise might include, but are not limited to symbioses, plant-microbe phylogenetics /biogeography,  rhizosphere interactions, plant-soil feedback, above- and below-ground ecology, agricultural ecology. 

We are especially interested in candidates introducing new techniques and approaches to the department, including spatial and temporal mapping techniques, comparative methods, imaging techniques, modeling, and computation methods. Candidates in both applied and fundamental research fields are encouraged to apply. Several staff members of the department are part of a unique international team studying the ecology and evolution of the root microbiome dynamics of 100 wild and cultivated plant species (, and the new Assistant Professor will be invited to join this consortium.

Your duties

  • develop a strong, independent, extramurally funded research program
  • teach bachelor and master level courses in Biodiversity, Plant-Soil interactions, Plant (eco-)Physiology or related subjects
  • provide high quality training and supervision to PhD-students and postdocs
  • engage in professional development activities related to teaching and academic leadership


  • Ph.D. in Plant-Microbe Interactions or a related discipline in Ecology & Evolution, with at least 2 years of postdoc experience
  • strong track record of publication and successful acquisition of external funding
  • demonstrated skills in activating teaching methods for BSc and MSc level courses
  • excellent communication skills (written and spoken English) and motivation to work in a team
  • demonstration of outreach and communication with diverse audience
  • proficiency in Dutch is not required, but the successful candidate would be expected to develop at least a passive proficiency in the first three years after appointment.

What are we offering?

We offer a tenure track position at the level of assistant professor, initially for the duration of 6 years. During the period, performance will be evaluated in terms of teaching, publication record, acquisition of project funding, and academic leadership. After a successful evaluation permanent employment will be granted.
On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3.746 (scale 11) and a maximum €5.127 (scale 11), depending on your education and experience. 

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • good growth opportunities
  • possibility to save holiday hours, for sabbatical leave, good paid parental leave scheme

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.


We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

About the department

The Department of Ecological Science ( offers a stimulating international research environment with world-class academic reputation, and excellent state-of-the-art facilities. We have a strong commitment to bachelor and master level teaching. Research in the department covers a wide range of fundamental and applied research topics, including stress ecology, species interactions and evolutionary adaptation, plant-soil-microbe interactions, climate change and ecosystem functioning. Our strength lies in the ability to integrate studies of adaptive changes across the entire range of biological organizational levels.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until January 8, 2021. The job interviews are planned for end of January, when possible please take this into account when applying for the position.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions

If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Prof. dr. Rien Aerts
Position: Head of Systems Ecology group

No agencies