PhD Position in Photoprotective Switching in Photosynthesis with Advanced Microspectroscopy

Wageningen University

PhD Position on Studying Photoprotective Switching in Photosynthesis with Advanced Microspectroscopy

Location Wageningen

End date Tue 22 June 2021

We are looking for

Do you want to participate in a multidisciplinary programme studying the fundamentals of photoprotection in photosynthesis from the molecular level up to the leaf level? Do you want to apply and further develop microscopic methods to study molecular switching processes in plant at the microscale? Do you want to contribute to create the basis for translating fundamental scientific findings into potential applications in crop improvement. We have a vacancy for a PhD position on studying photoprotective switching in photosynthesis with advanced microspectroscopy.

The project you will participate in, is called NWO GROOT, “Nanoscale regulators of photosynthesis”. It is executed by a consortium of several universities and therefore you are part of a team. The aim of the project is to understand the nanoscale mechanisms of light-stress regulation in photosynthesis.

You will:

  • Further develop fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) and other microscopy techniques to visualize what happens during the photoprotective switching in plants;
  • use in vivo and in vitro techniques to elucidate the photoprotective switching mechanism;
  • design experiments, work in the wetlab for sample preparation, work with advancedfluorescence microscopes, analyze complex data;
  • disseminate your results by writing articles for leading peer-reviewed journals and presenting at international conferences.
The research is embedded within the chair Laboratory of Biophysics which is led by Prof. Herbert van Amerongen. You will be co-supervised by Dr. Emilie Wientjes.

We ask

  • A successfully completed MSc degree in (bio)physics, physical chemistry, optics, or a related discipline;
  • excellent English language proficiency (a minimum of CEFR C2 level) (for more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page;
  • research experience, preferably in the fields of (micro)spectroscopy and/or plant biology;
  • a creative nature with a strong interest in, and talent for, solving scientific challenges;
  • experience with designing and performing experiments;
  • skills in data analysis and analysis of complex problems.

We offer

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our  Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • Sabbatical leave, study leave, and paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.
In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.395,-. per month rising to € 3.061,-. in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU)(scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well. 

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the Best University in the Netherlands for the 16th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad

Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family. 

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community pagecontains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

More information

Do you want more information?

For more information about this position please contact: Dr. Emilie Wientjes, e-mail:, telephone +31 317 485129 or Prof. Dr Herbert van Amerongen, Professor of Biophysics, e-mail:, telephone +31 317 482634. 

For more information about the procedure, please contact Emma Langelaan, HR advisor, email:

Do you want to apply?

You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval. Please provide your CV, a motivation letter outlining why you are suitable for the position, contact information of two referees, a copy of your PhD certificate.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including Tuesday June 22nd. 

Equal opportunities 

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

The mission of Wageningen University and Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 6.500 employees and 12.500 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

Read the 5 reasons why your future collaegues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

Apply now