At the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht the following vacancies are open for application:

PhD position

PhD position in advanced data analysis of marine plastic litter (1.0 FTE)

The amount of plastic in our ocean is growing exponentially, with recent estimates of more than 5 million metric tonnes of plastic reaching the ocean each year. This plastic infiltrates the ocean food web and thus poses a major threat to marine life. However, understanding of the distribution, pathways and fate of plastic once in the ocean is very limited.
The project ‘Tracking Of Plastics In Our Seas’, funded by the European Research Council, will create a novel comprehensive modelling framework that simulates plastic movement through the ocean, and uses that framework to significantly improve the understanding of the plastic pollution in our oceans. Read more.

PhD position

Modelling volcanic eruptions using sulfur isotopes (1,0 fte)


Large volcanic eruptions significantly affect the Earth's climate. They inject large quantities of sulfur dioxide (SO2) that form aerosols, which scatter solar radiation. The impact of a volcanic eruption is dependent on whether the eruption reaches the stratosphere, where aerosols have a longer lifetime. Sulfur isotope signatures can provide a new method for identifying stratospheric eruptions in the past. Large anomalies in isotopic signatures of aerosol deposited from volcanic eruptions were observed in ice-core deposits. These signatures were linked to SO2 photo-chemistry that can only occur in the stratosphere.

The successful candidate will simulate the photo-chemical processes that lead to the formation of these isotopic anomalies in stratospheric aerosol from volcanic eruptions. He/She will then use a chemistry-transport model to trace the evolution of these anomalies during transport from the stratosphere to deposition locations at the poles, where the isotopic anomalies were detected. The project involves a close collaboration with the Max-Plank Institute in Mainz, that develops the EMAC model used in this project.


MSc degree in physics, earth sciences, or a related field; particular interest and strong background in atmospheric sciences; strong analytic and programming skills required.


The candidate is offered a full-time position for four years, with an evaluation after one year.

The salary is supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8,3% per year. In addition we offer: a pension scheme, a partially paid parental leave, flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

The research group will provide the candidate with necessary support on all aspects of the project. More information is available here

The gross monthly salary with a full-time appointment will amount to €2.222,- at the first year to €2.840,- in the fourth (P-scale of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities).

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.

The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old center and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht city has been consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the Netherlands.

The Faculty of Science consists of six departments: Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Information and Computing Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry and Mathematics. The Faculty is home to 5600 students and nearly 1500 staff and is internationally renowned for the quality of its research. The Faculty's academic programmes reflect developments in today's society. Read the overall impression 2016 of the Faculty of Science.

The Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht (IMAU) is an interfaculty research institute that focuses on the fundamental aspects of the climate system. Research is organized in five main themes: atmospheric physics and chemistry, atmospheric dynamics and boundary layer meteorology, ice and climate, ocean circulation and climate, and coastal and shelf sea dynamics. The IMAU includes some 15 faculty members, 15 postdocs and 25 PhD students. The graduate programme is organized in the Buys Ballot research school. For more information about the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, please visit the IMAU website.

Additional information

Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from: Prof. Maarten Krol ( or Dr. Narcisa Nechita ( ).

As part of the selection procedure, the candidate is expected to give an oral presentation, for instance about their MSc thesis.


To apply please send a letter of motivation, curriculum vitae and (email) addresses of two referees to Dr. Narcisa Nechita ( ).

Application deadline

The position will remain open untill it is filled.