Job opening: Early Stage Researcher in the field of marine palynology

Job opening: Early Stage Researcher in the field of marine palynology – PRIDE project

For the Marie-Curie Training Network PRIDE (Drivers of Pontocaspian biodiversity Rise and Demise) we are seeking an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) in the field of marine palynology. The PRIDE program ( combines climate-, geo- and bio-sciences and is conducted by 15 ESRs. From 2015 to 2019 we investigate the evolution and demise of lake systems and biota in the Black Sea, Caspian Sea and surrounding basins. Due to the leave of one of the ESRs we are seeking a new ESR for the period of maximum 25 months.

You will be working on the project: Palaeoenvironmental reconstructions and lake basin dynamics: a dinoflagellate approach.

You will be hosted at the University of Utrecht in Utrecht, The Netherlands, for a period of maximum 25 months. Your job will be to perform the research project and to participate in an extensive training programme that includes five network training events (NTE’s), paid for by the program. During your project you will also be performing one or two secondment(s), a period where you will work in one of the cooperating institutes.

You will be employed as a junior researcher and will have a contract period of maximum 25 months. You will reconstruct palaeoenvironmental conditions in Quaternary Pontocaspian lakes from biological proxies in order to assess basin connectivity and dynamics in the Black Sea, Caspian Sea and Anatolian lakes in the past ~3 Ma. Dinoflagellates are part of the phytoplankton and produce cysts that are well preserved in the Pontocaspian fossil record. The dinocysts will be used to assess changes in palaeoenvironmental conditions during the Plio-Pleistocene and Holocene in the Black Sea, Caspian Sea and Anatolian lakes. Main aim is to improve the understanding of the biogeographical connections and catchment dynamics of the basins. Possible drivers of turnover (isolation and/or rapid environmental change) will be explored further in conjunction with data obtained from the other projects in PRIDE. The project will result in a proxy-based palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and identification of periods of connection and isolation of main Pontocaspian lake basins. This project will include a secondment at Bristol University (UK) for integration with geochemical proxies and potentially a secondment at Bucharest University for joint work on Anatolian lake material or at Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany to work on a Georgian section.

The PRIDE program will offer you a very unique opportunity to deeply engage into a multidisciplinary network where climate, geo- and biosciences will come together and that involves excellent institutes in the EU as well as in the Pontocaspian Region (Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkey). The terms of employment are generous but will vary slightly per country and institute and your family situation. Rough indications of maximum payments are given below and are based on MSCA-ITN rules; it consists of Salary + Mobility + Family Allowance (if applicable).


Excellent candidates are encouraged to apply for this highly attractive position in the internationally high-ranked network. Anyone is invited to apply under two conditions. (1) You should not have resided in The Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment date (and not have carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in The Netherlands) and (2) you should have an MSc and be - at the date of recruitment - an ‘early stage researcher’ (i.e. in the first four years of your research career and not have a doctoral degree).  

We are seeking candidates with a background in marine palynology. Experience with terrestrial palynology is desirable.

Excellent level of written and spoken English is required.

We are looking for candidates that are available on a short notice.


According to the MSCA-ITN rules and the rules of the general agreement of Dutch Universities:  

€ 2.552,- gross /month + max. € 600 /month (gross) Mobility + (if applicable) € 500 /month (gross) Family Allowance.

Information about the Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) is available at:

Type of contract

Fixed term contract. First for 12 months, and this will be extended for the next 13 months (maximum) upon positive evaluation. The contract is for 38 hrs/week.


Deadline for your application is December 5, 2016. Your application letter (max 2 pages), CV and mail addresses of two referents should be submitted to Please indicate Application PRIDE and your name in the subject line. For your motivation please think about the projects you have been working in, relevant expertise in the general subject, your ability to work in teams and in different countries/settings, lab, modelling, fieldwork experience if applicable and your social skills. For further information see the project description below.

We intent to interview the selected candidates on 19 December in Utrecht.

Further information

You may wish to contact us for further information.  For further information regarding the position, please send an email to Caroline van Impelen (programme manager) at