Team hire (3 PhD students & 2 postdocs) within ERC project FireIce: Fire in the land of ice

Are you passionate about the Earth and its climate? Do you want to make a difference in science and the world? Do you get excited from satellite images and venturing out to remote places?

Location: AMSTERDAM
FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

Project
These vacancies are part of a prestigious Consolidator project funded by the European Research Council (ERC). FireIce is an interdisciplinary project combining field, remote sensing and modeling approaches to study feedbacks between climate warming and fires in the northern high latitudes. The project includes funding for several field campaigns in eastern Siberia. Project partners of FireIce include Woodwell Climate Research Center, Northern Arizona University and the Russian Academy of Sciences. Close interaction with NASA’s Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) will be sought.

Team hire
A team of 3 PhD students and 2 postdocs will be hired. The team will tackle several challenging topics focused on climate-fire feedbacks in the northern high latitudes, including:
  • Carbon emissions from arctic-boreal fires
  • Fire-induced permafrost degradation and associated greenhouse gas emissions
  • Controls on lightning ignition and fire growth
For topic 1 and 2, a combination of field and remote sensing approaches is required. For topic 2, interest or affinity with InSAR is advantageous. Topic 3 will combine large circumpolar climate and satellite datasets. For topic 3, affinity with lightning modeling is an asset.

PHD POSITIONS 

Your duties

The PhD students will work on one of the topics defined above using a combination a field and remote sensing approaches. Satellite data processing will be carried out over large areas, and the applicant should therefore be able to handle big datasets efficiently. The applicant should be able to deal with logistical issues and challenging conditions for field campaigns in Siberia. The applicant will closely collaborate with other team members and colleagues. The research will lead to peer-reviewed publications that will be used to write a PhD thesis. The applicant will present the results at national and international conferences, and contribute to the department’s teaching programs.

Requirements
  • MSc. in Earth, ecological or environmental sciences or related field but with proven interest in Earth sciences and/or (spatial) ecology
  • excellent ability to communicate in both written and spoken English, knowledge of Russian is advantageous
  • strong scientific motivation, and interest in Earth system science
  • hands-on and curiosity-driven, and ability to work independently
  • affinity with objected-oriented coding (preferably Python), GIS and statistical modeling
  • affinity with field work in remote (arctic-boreal) locations
  • good social skills
Further particulars for PhD positions

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and ranges from a minimum of € 2395 gross per month up to a maximum of € 3061 gross per month based on fulltime employment (salary scale 85) for a PhD student. Planned start date is October 1 st, 2021 or soon after. The job location is in Amsterdam but a remote start may be discussed if the COVID-19 situation requires this.

You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at www.workingatvu.nl like:
  • remuneration of 8,3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • a minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment
  • generous contribution commuting allowance based on public transport
  • discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance)
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge
Application for PhD positions

Applications should include:
Cover letter with motivation (maximum 2 pages)
  • CV
  • Grade list
  • MSc thesis
  • Names and contact details of two references
In the motivation letter, please specify your topic(s) of interest from the topics listed in the ‘Team hire’ section. Other topics within the realm of arctic-boreal climate-fire feedbacks can be described too.

Your duties

POSTDOC POSITIONS 

Postdocs will investigate feedbacks between climate, fire, vegetation and carbon in high latitude ecosystems based on field, remote sensing and modeling approaches. The geographic scope will encompass the entire circumpolar arctic-boreal biomes, and the applicant should therefore be able to handle big datasets efficiently. The applicant should be able to deal with logistical issues and challenging conditions for field campaigns in Siberia. The applicant will closely collaborate with other team members and colleagues. Research will be published in peer-reviewed journals. The applicant will present the results at national and international conferences, and contribute to the department’s teaching programs.

Requirements
  • PhD in Earth, ecological or environmental sciences or related field but with proven interest in Earth sciences and/or (spatial) ecology
  • excellent ability to communicate in both written and spoken English, knowledge of Russian is advantageous
  • strong scientific motivation, and interest in Earth system science
  • hands-on and curiosity-driven, and ability to work independently
  • Highly skilled in objected-oriented coding (preferably Python)
  • experience with modeling of contemporary and future lightning is advantageous
  • affinity with field work in remote (arctic-boreal) locations
  • good social skills
Further particulars for postdoc positions

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it will be extended for a total duration of 3 to 4 years. We offer a competitive salary package in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, in the position of researcher in salary scale 10, ranging from a minimum of €3353 gross per month up to a maximum of €3746 gross per month based on fulltime employment. Planned start date is October 1 st, 2021 or soon after. The job location is in Amsterdam but a remote start may be discussed if the COVID-19 situation requires this.

You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at www.workingatvu.nl like:
  • remuneration of 8,3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • a minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment
  • generous contribution commuting allowance based on public transport
  • discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance)
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge
Application for postdoc positions

Applications should include
  • Cover letter with motivation (maximum 1 page)
  • Research proposal (maximum 2 pages) focused on 1 or more topics listed in the ‘Team hire’ section. Other topics within the realm of arctic-boreal climate-fire feedbacks can be described too
  • CV
  • Names and contact details of two references

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 endeavor – 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.

Diversity
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  Earth Sciences  has approximately 35 permanent  staff members, and is  responsible for the BSc and MSc programs in  Earth Sciences and  contributes to teaching programs in Hydrology and Earth  Sciences, Economics and  Sustainability. Research in the department is focused on  two general  areas: Geology &  Geochemistry and Earth &  Climate. The Department’s excellence in teaching is underlined by  its high scores in annual  national student evaluations.
The Climate &  Ecosystems Change research  group is part of the department of Earth  Sciences. Dr. Sander Veraverbeke leads the group and 4 PhD  students are currently part of the team. Read more about  our work  here:
https://sites.google.com/view/climateco

Application
Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload  the materials listed above until June 30, 2021.

A first round of (Zoom) interviews will be scheduled in the week of July 5th. A second round of interviews will take place in the week of July 19th. Depending on the COVID-19 regulations, the second round of interviews will be via Zoom or on site.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: Sander Veraverbeke
Position: Associate Professor in Climate & Ecosystems Change
E-mail: s.s.n.veraverbeke@vu.nl
Telephone: +31 6 11 10 15 74

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Job area: Postdoc, PhD
Educational Level: Postdoc, MSc
VU unit: Faculty of Science
Contract type: Temporary with prospects to extension
Minimum FTE: 0.8
Minimum salary scale: €2,395 (PhD)
Maximum salary scale: €3,548 (scale 8)
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