Job description

The Department of Ocean Systems (OCS) at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research is looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate ideally with a background in marine (biogeo)chemistry or a related field. This 4-year position explores the role of seafloor processes in regulating the burial and recycling of carbon and other essential elements such as iron and phosphorus in the deep eastern North Sea. The overall goal is to constrain the output of nutrients from the North Sea into the Atlantic Ocean, increasing our insight into the role of shelf seas in global ocean biogeochemistry. 

For the interdisciplinary NoSE project, we are looking for multiple PhD candidates (see other vacancies NoSE project) who will all closely work 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 the exchange of carbon and other nutrients 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 deliver new insight into how the cycling of carbon and other 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 within the NoSE project focuses on the biogeochemical processes that control the burial and recycling of carbon and other nutrients at the sediment-water interface. Using an extensive geochemical toolbox, the aims are to (i) quantify exchange fluxes between sediment and water column, (ii) characterize early diagenetic processes and (iii) determine the efficiency and form in which the nutrients are buried. All of this within a process-based context of environmental change, so you will combine (high-resolution) sediment characterization with process and impact studies. The experimental work will take place on-board during at least two planned sea-going expeditions, and in the NIOZ laboratories. You will get your hands dirty, but in addition to a love for sand and mud, you will need to be able to run sensitive chemical experiments. The project is strongly connected to NoSE projects focusing on vertical and lateral sediment transport 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 Earth or environmental science, (chemical) oceanography or a related discipline. Preferably, you will also have:

  • A background in biogeochemistry;
  • 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;
  • Experience with (chemical) modeling (e.g. MINTEQ, PHREEQC, R).

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 Peter Kraal (lead supervisor) or Dr. Furu Mienis. 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.