Assistant Professor in Earth Materials / Mineral Physics
Utrecht University

Assistant Professor in Earth Materials / Mineral Physics (0.8 - 1.0 FTE)


Job description
The Department of Earth Sciences is looking for a highly motivated and high potential scientist who applies advanced microscopy and analysis techniques combined with field, laboratory or modelling research with applications in geodynamics, geo-resources and/or geo-hazards. Fields of interest could include but are not limited to: nanogeosciences, imaging at all scales, deformation processes and tectonics of crust and upper mantle, shock metamorphism and impact craters, geo-materials for the energy transition, as well as fluid-rock interaction and digital rock physics. As our ambitious new colleague, you will strengthen research and education in Earth Sciences and develop your own internationally recognised research line that should be complementary to current team efforts and that is key to the long-term viability of department.

Our current fields of research include: field to nano-scale studies of rock deformation, fault gouges and ice sheets, fluid flow and fluid-rock interaction in high- and low-permeability (geo-)materials. We are also active in the development and application of novel electron microscopy and related techniques in Earth sciences. You are expected to contribute to the further development and application of advanced techniques such as atomic-resolution transmission TEM, ion and electron microscopy as well as X-ray (synchrotron) tomography. Moreover, you should have an interest in big data analysis of in situ electron and X-ray tomography experiments and contribute to the university’s initiative in open (data) science.

You will supervise and train PhD candidates and conduct research with a wide range of research groups in and outside the department. Besides, developing an independent line of research it would be of advantage to be interested in the trans-national access to our state-of-the-art laboratories within the European Plate Observing System (EPOS) programme.

You are expected to contribute to BSc and MSc courses in the Utrecht Earth-sciences programmes, e.g., in structural geology, earth materials, and field work, and supervise graduation projects. On average, the department aims for an equal contribution in educational and research activities for all its tenured academic staff, which comprises about 20% associated activities such as management tasks and committee work.

We are looking for a strong team player with good communication and networking skills, who is focused on achieving multidisciplinary research targets and participating in the acquisition of funding for research projects and advanced new equipment. A minimum experience of two to three years as a postdoctoral researcher is highly recommended.

We seek a highly motivated candidate who holds a PhD degree in solid Earth Sciences or a relevant natural science. We encourage you to apply if you:

  • are skilled in advanced analysis methods of Earth materials (analytical and/or numerical);
  • are committed to multi- and interdisciplinary research;
  • have strong communication, networking and organisational skills;
  • have relevant international experience and an outstanding record of academic research, as reflected in high-quality publications;
  • are willing to actively obtain research grants and actively develop new research lines;
  • have strong didactic skills, enjoy teaching, and are an inspiring mentor to BSc students, MSc students and PhD candidates;
  • have obtained a basic teaching qualification (at Utrecht University or equal), or are willing to obtain this qualification in the near future;
  • are able to contribute to the field teaching programme;
  • have a keen eye for public outreach.

You are expected to have an excellent level of English, both spoken and written. We require a qualification English at C1 level (CEFR or comparable to level 3 of the Lecturer Assessment Grid) or to be prepared to obtain this level by training. For non-Dutch speaking candidates, Dutch language skills should be at the level of practical communication within two years of the appointment.

Because of the ‘open rank’ nature of the available position, the requirements above will differ and depend on the career stage of the applicant. Publication track record, teaching record, acquired research funds and leadership experience will be weighed against the number of years of academic experience, also considering (parental) leave and part-time appointments.

We strongly encourage women to apply. The Faculty’s policy is to improve gender balance, as well as cultural diversity.

We offer a temporary position (0.8 – 1.0 FTE) for a period of six years (preferably starting in September 2020 at the latest) in an international working environment. The qualification programme for permanent employment is in principle four years by full-time employment, but quicker is possible. We will agree upon a set of performance indicators to be met within this period. Subject to overall performance, we intend to convert your appointment to permanent at the moment you qualify. The evaluation will thus take place at the latest after about 3.5 years. In case the 3.5-year evaluation is not satisfactory, the contract will be terminated. A continuation after the first four years is exclusively possible for the purpose of compensation of maternity or parental leave or other recognised delays in the qualification programme. Further career development is possible, dependent on future growth and qualifications.

The gross salary – depending on previous qualifications and experience - ranges between €3,637 and €5,656 (scale 11-12 of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8,3% per year. These are the regular Assistant Professor scales; we may consider to hire exceptionally qualified candidates at higher level.
In addition, the candidate will be provided access to laboratory infrastructure, coaching for teaching and supervision of researchers, and training and support regarding the acquisition of external funds. Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.

About the organization
A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The Department of Earth Sciences is the largest academic Earth Sciences institute in The Netherlands. The department conducts teaching and research across a large range of the solid Earth and environmental Earth sciences, with activities in almost all areas of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, biogeosciences and hydrogeology. The department hosts an international tenured staff of over 45 scientists and more than 110 PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers. Our research programme spans four intertwined themes: Climate & Life, Earth interior, Earth materials, and Environmental Earth Sciences. The educational programmes in Earth Sciences are offered in a joint effort with our sister department of Physical Geography.

The Faculty’s Geolab houses a wide variety of analytical and experimental facilities, including well-equipped stable isotope and organic geochemical laboratories and the porous media lab. The micro-analytical facilities include, among others, a nano-SIMS, a laser-ablation ICP-MS system, electron microprobe, micro-XRF, AFM, Raman and IR spectroscopy instruments. The adjacent new Earth Simulation Lab houses our High Pressure & Temperature and Tectonics laboratories, as well as several microscope facilities. We have recently established outstanding facilities in the context of the EPOS-NL national infrastructure programme which includes next-generation scanning electron microscopes and multi-scale X-ray tomography facilities. In addition, we have direct access to several, state-of-the-art transmission electron microscopes within the university’s Electron Microscopy centre, including a brand-new (world’s first) double-aberration corrected, monochromated TEM with ultra-high sensitivity EDX and EELS. Moreover, the department also has a world-class Paleomagnetic laboratory, several flume facilities, as well as excellent High-Performance Computing facilities.

Additional information
Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from Prof Martyn Drury (Professor of Electron Microscopy & Nanostructures, Head of Structural Geology group), via

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation via the ‘apply’ button below, including:

a brief vision on/plans regarding your own research and teaching for the next 5 years (max. 3 A4);
your teaching experience and a list of publications;
(e-mail) addresses of two referees.
In the second stage of the selection procedure, the short-listed candidates will be asked to defend their research plans and teaching vision in an oral presentation and discussion with the committee. Presenting a short lecture to students and staff may also be included in the procedures. We intend to have these selection procedures take place in April or early May.

The application deadline is

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