Job Properties
  • Job Type
    Full-time Position
  • Category
    Construction & Architecture
  • Languages
  • Experience Required
  • Degree Required
    • Province
    • Date Posted
      August 30,2022
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    PhD position in Molecular Microbiology

    There is a clear need for sustainable methods to combat agricultural pests. Copper salts are widely used in regular and organic agriculture. In citriculture, copper is extensively used to combat the bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri, which causes Asiatic Citrus Canker (ACC). ACC is endemic in all major orange producing regions in the world, except Europe. This project is aimed at the development of a bio-based, sustainable technology for the protection of citrus trees, as an alternative to copper, and is carried out by an international, interdisciplinary consortium with contributions from Dutch partners (universities of Groningen and Maastricht) and Brazilian partners from academia as well as citrus growing and crop protection industries.

    Previously, our consortium has developed various promising lead compounds to protect plants. The current project is focused on efficient delivery of these compounds to the plants. Also, the ecological impact of the compounds on the soil has to be evaluated and compared to classic methods of crop protection, such as copper containing pesticides. Your role in the project will be to study this ecological impact through analysis of the microbiota of soil samples of sprayed plants in the field, and chemical analysis of the retention of the compounds in the soil. You will work in the groups of Prof. Dirk-Jan Scheffers (Bacterial Cell Biology) and Prof. Peter Deuss (Catalytic Processing of Sustainable Resources).

    We offer an excellent opportunity to engage into an exciting PhD project that combines microbiology, chemistry, genomics and bioinformatics, in the context of a dynamic, international and enthusiastic work environment, with state-of-the-art equipment and exposure to national and international scientific collaborations.

    We are looking for a PhD candidate for this project. Your responsibilities will include:

    • sampling and analysis of soil from greenhouse and field studies – both microbiota and chemical analyses
    • reporting on the outcome of your work to a diverse team of consortium members with different knowledge backgrounds
    • integration of the outcome of your work with that of other team members working on, e.g. the delivery of the compounds or safety testing.


    Your profile includes:

    • a Master’s degree with top grades in (micro)biology, chemistry or ecology
    • interest in the above indicated research fields
    • willingness to travel to Brazil for one or two research stays of a month
    • very strong command of English (knowledge of Portuguese is a plus)
    • previous experience with (soil) microbiota analysis or chemical analysis is a plus.


    Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 36,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global center of knowledge.

    A PhD position starting immediately is available in the laboratory of Prof. D.J. Scheffers in the department of Molecular Microbiology of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

    Conditions of employment

    We offer you following the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

    • a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,247 gross per month in the fourth and final year
    • a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
    • a holiday allowance of 8% of gross annual income
    • an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
    • minimum of 29 holidays and additional 12 holidays in case of full-time employment.

    The successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. A PhD training program is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

    The preferred starting date is as soon as possible


    Please send in a complete and convincing application with the below-mentioned supporting documents:

    • letter of intent detailing why you are interested in this specific project and how your previous research qualifies you for the project (up to 1,500 words)
    • curriculum vitae with list of publications (if applicable)
    • short summary of your Master’s thesis (up to 1,000 words)
    • suggestion of two referees with contact details.

    You may apply for this position until 29 September 11:59pm / before 30 September 2022 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website). Please note that applications will be considered on a rolling basis – since we aim to start this position as soon as possible.

    The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:

    Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

    We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

    Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


    For information you can contact:

    • Prof. D.-J. Scheffers, d.j.scheffers
    • Prof. P.J. Deuss, p.j.deuss

    Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

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