Job description

The Department of Ocean Systems (OCS) at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research is looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate with a background in marine (biogeo)chemistry or a related field. In this 4-year position, you will investigate dissolved carbon and (micro)nutrient cycling in seawater passing through the Norwegian Trench, in order to determine the long-term fate of CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere in the North Sea and its biogeochemical impact on the surrounding Atlantic Ocean.

For the interdisciplinary NoSE project, we are looking for multiple PhD candidates (see other vacancies NoSE project) who will all work closely together. You may express an interest in multiple NoSE PhD positions in your motivation letter.


The North Sea is a highly productive and heavily exploited continental shelf sea that absorbs significant quantities of atmospheric CO2. But the fate of absorbed CO2 is highly uncertain, in particular the balance between outflow into the Atlantic Ocean and burial in sediments, so we cannot accurately project how this may change in the future. In the NoSE project, a multidisciplinary consortium of researchers (from NIOZ, Delft University of Technology, University of Groningen, Utrecht University, and several international partners) will determine the past, present and future role of the North Sea within the wider biogeochemical system of the Atlantic Ocean. Focusing on the Norwegian Trench, which is both the main outflow route to the Atlantic Ocean and the main place where sediments accumulate within the North Sea, we will investigate the transport and conversion processes that regulate carbon and nutrient exchange between the land, shelf sea and open ocean through a combination of oceanographic research expeditions and computer modelling. By linking these results to the palaeo record from seafloor sediments, NoSE will reveal new insights into how the cycling of carbon and nutrients in the North Sea and their exchange with the Atlantic Ocean have varied over the past thousands of years and how they may continue to evolve in the future.


Researchers in the Department of Ocean System Research (OCS) study open-ocean processes from a variety of disciplines including physical and chemical oceanography, marine geology, paleoceanography and deep-sea ecology. We investigate the past and present ocean in order to assess its future role in the Earth system. We collect data during oceanographic research cruises and conduct experiments both at sea and in the laboratory at our home base on Texel. The department carries out work in diverse environments all around the globe, from the Antarctic to the Arctic, and from the Caribbean to the North Sea.


This PhD position is focused on the biogeochemistry of dissolved CO2 and (micro)nutrients in North Sea and North Atlantic Ocean waters. You will answer critical questions about the water column: how much CO2 do waters in and around the Norwegian Trench absorb from the atmosphere? Of the dissolved CO2, alkalinity and (micro)nutrients in North Sea waters, how much flows out into the Atlantic Ocean, and what are the consequences downstream? How might these answers change in the future under local human pressures and climate change? To answer these questions, you will have the opportunity to collect new samples at sea while participating in several oceanographic research expeditions and to use data from state-of-the-art biogeochemical sensors on autonomous platforms (ocean gliders and moorings). Combined with findings from other NoSE participants studying sediment biogeochemistry and model simulations, you will help to build overall carbon and nutrient budgets and investigate the interactions between North Sea biogeochemistry and the surrounding Atlantic Ocean.

Job requirements


You must have completed an MSc degree in oceanography, Earth sciences, environmental (biogeo)chemistry, natural sciences or a related discipline. Laboratory and/or coding experience would be advantageous. Your application should show how your knowledge and experience will help you succeed in this position. You will be strongly encouraged to participate in multi-week sampling expeditions on research ships. Due to the international character of our research, an excellent command of spoken and written English is essential.

We strive to ensure that our staff reflect the diversity of society, including age, gender and cultural background. We therefore very much appreciate candidates who are able to increase the diversity of NIOZ.


Employment of this full time position is at Royal NIOZ. After a 12-month probationary period and successful evaluation, the position is extended for 36 months for a maximum employment of 4 years. The salary is compliant to the CAO-OI (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes), a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus of 8,3%, flexible work arrangements and arrangements and 42 days of holiday leave (fulltime position). You may expect attractive secondary employment conditions. We offer generous relocation expenses for employees coming from abroad and support with finding accommodation.

Royal NIOZ is located on the beautiful island of Texel in the World Heritage Wadden Sea. Texel offers sun, wind and beach, and a diverse but moderate level of facilities, including a thriving tourist industry, shops, sports facilities, primary schools and a high school. It is connected to the main land by an hourly to half-hourly ferry service, with crossings taking 20 minutes. The Royal NIOZ is situated next to the ferry terminal.


If you are interested in this opportunity, please submit a CV, a cover letter, and names and contact information of 2 references by October 11, 2022. The cover letter should discuss your motivation for this PhD position including how you meet the criteria above.. Applications are submitted via Working at NIOZ.

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact Dr. Matthew Humphreys (lead supervisor) and/or Prof Dr Rob Middag (promotor). For additional information about the procedure, please contact Sigrid Moerbeek (sr. HR advisor). Please visit the Department of Ocean Systems here.

Closing date for applications: 11 October 2022. We aim to invite suitable candidates for an interview at the beginning of November

Further information can be found in this link.