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 sciences or oceanography. In this 4-year position, you will determine the quantity, bioavailability and origin of suspended particulate matter in the Norwegian Trench. The main goal is to understand the processes that influence the variability in nutrient and carbon cycling as a function of changing environmental conditions and estimate the carbon and nutrient export to the 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 Systems (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 focuses on the water-column processes that determine the composition (e.g., carbon content, nutrients, trace metals) and fate of particulate matter in waters of the North Sea and North Atlantic Ocean. You will determine the quantity, quality and origin of (organic) matter and study biological parameters of the natural phytoplankton community, including size distribution and taxonomic composition. Long‐term (>1 year) seasonal variability in matter fluxes will be studied with moored observatories equipped with sediment traps. Fluxes will be correlated to physical parameters such as current speed and turbidity to determine temporal variability and the occurrence of event‐driven matter transport. Bioassays will be carried out to determine what nutrient is limiting phytoplankton growth and thus, carbon uptake. Samples and data will be collected during multiple scientific research cruises. The project is strongly connected to NoSE projects focusing on water-column and seafloor carbon and nutrient cycling and long-term sediment burial, so you will function in a team environment and benefit from support and advice from colleagues with a range of backgrounds in Earth sciences.

Job requirements


You must have completed your MSc degree in marine sciences or oceanography, or a related discipline. Preferably, you will also have:

  • Experience or strong interest in biogeochemistry;
  • Experience or strong interest in physical oceanography;
  • A love for fieldwork and teamwork;
  • Commitment to overcome the challenges presented by sea-going research;
  • Capability to independently plan and organize your work, with interest in taking a leading role in its direction.

Due to the international character of our research, good 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 11 October, 2022. The cover letter should discuss your motivation for this PhD position including how you meet some or all of the preferred criteria. Applications are submitted via Working at NIOZ.

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact Dr. Furu Mienis (lead supervisor) 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.