PhD scholarship in global change ecology

Apply until 30/05/2017 23:59 CEST
→   Faculty of Sciences
→   Department WE11 – Biology

    →   AAP temporary appointment – 100%
→   1 position(s)


Ghent University is a world of its own. Employing more than 8,000 people, it is actively involved in education and research, management and administration, and technical and social services on a daily basis. It is one of the largest, most exciting employers in the area and offers great career opportunities. With each of its 11 faculties and more than 100 departments offering state-of-the-art study programmes that are grounded in research in a wide range of academic fields, Ghent University is a logical choice for its employees as well as its students.


  • At least 50% of your assignment will be spent on academic research on the diversity of microorganisms and their contribution to ecosystem functions in freshwater and terrestrial habitats in preparation of a doctoral dissertation.
  • You will assist in the teaching activities at the department, such as in global change ecology, community and systems ecology, biodiversity of microalgae and protozoa, limnology and biogeography.
  • You will assist in the internal and external services of the department.


  • You hold a Master’s degree in Master of Science Biology, Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, Marine and Lacustrine Science and Management, or Bio-engineering or an equivalent degree. The degree requirements need to be fulfilled at the start of your appointment.
  • You are interested in academic and/or project-based research and services and coaching students.
  • Any teaching experience or participation in extra training, conferences, etc. is recommended.
  • You have excellent teaching and communication skills in English and preferably also in Dutch.


  • We offer you a two-year appointment, which may be renewed twice for two years, on condition that the previous term was given a positive evaluation. Attention: If you have been previously appointed as a junior assistant or doctoral fellow at a university within the Flemish Community, this appointment will be deducted from the maximum term of appointment, which is six years at the most according to the Codex of Higher Education.
  • Your appointment will start on 1 October 2017 at the earliest.
  • Your remuneration will be determined according to salary scale AAP3. More information is available on our website.
  • All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as a wide range of training and education opportunities, 38 days of paid leave, bicycle commuting reimbursement, ecocheques, etc. A complete overview of all our fringe benefits can be found on our website (in Dutch).


Apply online via this application before last application date (see above). Make sure you upload the following documents:

  • application letter
  • cv, including an overview of study results (merged into one file of maximum 5 MB)
  • a transcript of the required degree (if you already have it)
  • for diplomas awarded outside the European Union: certificate of equivalence (NARIC) (if you already have it)

We do not accept applications that are sent by e-mail or applications that lack (one of) the above-mentioned documents.

As Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position.


For more information about this vacancy, please contact prof. Elie Verleyen (, + 32 9 264 96 29).

Two PhD students are recruited to work in the BRAIN-BE project MICROBIAN at the Universities of Ghent and Liège, Belgium

Project description
In the BelSPO funded MICROBIAN project (Microbiome diversity and function in the Sør Rondane Mountains, East Antarctica), coordinated by the Laboratory of Protistology and Aquatic Ecology, remote sensing analysis of soil crusts in a high latitude cold desert will be combined with field experiments and metagenomics studies to map their spatial distribution, community composition and metabolic capabilities. In addition, phylogenetic and physiological studies will be conducted on newly isolated bacteria and cyanobacteria, known to be present and highly abundant in the region from previous metagenomics analyses.

Read more


Postdoctoral scholarship – Monitoring melt where Ice Meets Ocean (MIMO) Laboratoire de Glaciologie, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

The Laboratoire de Glaciologie of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) is seeking to fill a 3-year postdoctoral scholarship in ice shelf remote sensing and modelling, starting around June 2017. We seek a person with a background in remote sensing (interferometry) and ice dynamics (modelling). The project is within the framework of a collaboration between ULB, the Centre Spatial de Liège (CSL, Belgium) and the Alfred Wegener Institute (Germany).

Brussels is a lively, well-connected city with a large international community located in the center of Europe. The Laboratoire de Glaciologie has a long-term experience in ice sheet dynamics, especially the Antarctic ice sheet through ice-sheet/ice-shelf modelling, field geophysics and remote sensing. A more detailed project description is given below. For more information about the project, about the Laboratoire de Glaciologie and about living in Brussels please contact Prof. Frank PATTYN (

Project description

Antarctic ice mass loss is governed through ice streams discharging into floating ice shelves. Ice shelves play a crucial role in regulating this ice transfer towards the ocean by ice-shelf buttressing. Thinning of ice shelves largely depends on processes that act from atop (surface melt) and below (bottom melting in contact with the ocean).

The MIMO project aims at quantifying basal melt of ice shelves surrounding the Antarctic ice sheet at high spatial and temporal resolution (monitoring) and at deriving improved parametrizations for use in ice sheet modelling studies. The latter will also be implemented in a large-scale ice-sheet model and compared to currently available datasets. Since basal melting under ice shelves is not only a great unknown, its spatial and temporal change is even more so. Up to now, basal ice-shelf melt has either been determined for small-scale studies or with limiting temporal scale. CSL developed a complete interferometric SAR suite, including a coherence tracking module. This module will be adapted to handle Sentinel TopSAR data.

The successful candidate will ensure the further development of a mass conservation method in which basal melting closes the mass budget calculated from the known variables of surface velocities, ice thickness and surface-mass balance. Ice thickness will be inferred from Tandem-X data (AWI) and corrected for surface density variations (based on existing data, both from remote sensing and geophysics). Surface mass balance stems from atmospheric modelling results. The first part of the project aims at developing the methodology for a given target area (Roi Baudouin Ice Shelf, Antarctica), and further apply the methodology to a larger domain of East-Antarctic ice shelves. For the target area, the Laboratoire de Glaciologie is currently monitoring melt rates using phase-sensitive radar and this monitoring will most likely be extended to other ice shelves as well in near future.


Applicants should email a cover letter, full Curriculum Vitae and at least one reference letter at the address below by March 20, 2017 (closing date). The desired qualifications are a PhD in glaciology, geophysics, or an equivalent geoscience, with good programming skills in a Matlab/Python environment.


The postdoctoral scholarship requirements are the following:
  • The candidate should hold a PhD degree for less than 8 years
  • Should respect the conditions of international mobility, i.e., should not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (employment, studies) in Belgium during a period longer than 24 months over the last 3 years that precede the start of the postdoctoral scholarship.

Specialities of the research group

The GEMICE group (Geophysics and Modelling of Ice) is specialized in the development and application of numerical ice sheet and ice shelf models, applied to specific glaciological problems, such as grounding lines, ice streams, ice sheet/ice shelf transitions, subglacial lake interconnection, subglacial polythermal conditions etc.

For more information, please contact:

Prof. Frank PATTYN
Laboratoire de Glaciologie CP160/03
Department of Geosciences, Environment and Society (DGES)
Université Libre de Bruxelles
50, Av. F.D. Roosevelt, B-1050 Brussels
Tel : +32 2 650 28 46

Four-year PhD grant (Université Catholique de Louvain)

Within the APPLICATE EU project, the Georges Lemaître Centre for Earth and Climate Research ( and Life Institute of the Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium is seeking a PhD student for ~4 years.

APPLICATE (Advanced Prediction in Polar regions and beyond: Modelling, observing system design and LInkages associated with ArctiC ClimATE change) is a 4-year project, expected to be funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 program, and coordinated by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven (16 partners), that aims at advancing our ability to model and predict the Arctic climate system along with its impacts on the weather and climate in lower latitudes.

The successful candidate will contribute to improve the Louvain-la-Neuve sea ice model (LIM; ), which is part of the Nucleus for European Modelling of the Ocean (NEMO; platform, by incorporating in this model subgrid-scale snow thickness and ice floe size distributions together with a comprehensive representation of lateral ice melting. He/she will also assess the impact of these changes on the ability of the EC-Earth general circulation model (, which includes NEMO-LIM, to predict the Arctic weather and climate on short timescales (one month to one year).

More information can be found here.

Invitation to apply for a PhD scholarship (Laboratory of Oceanology, Université de Liège)

The Laboratory of Oceanology (Drs Gilles LEPOINT & Bruno FREDERICH) at the University of Liège (Belgium) is looking for recruiting a PhD student to apply to forthcoming FNRS calls (September 2016 – January 2017) to work on a Belspo (Belgian Science Policy) project. This project is entitled “Refugia and Ecosystem Tolerance in the Southern Ocean” (RECTO) and one of the work packages aims to study the patterns of diversification in various organisms.

For this PhD thesis, we aim to develop a proposal on the diversification of amphipods from the Southern Ocean. We are looking for a person who has experience in the biology of crustaceans (or some marine invertebrates), molecular phylogeny and/or morphology. The applicant should have interests in macroevolution and ecology. During this PhD, the candidate will learn about quantitative morphology (e.g. geometric morphometrics), trophic ecology (e.g. stable isotopes), molecular phylogeny and cutting-edge phylogenetic comparative methods.

Funding for all analyses and field campaigns is already available.

Feel free to contact Gilles Lepoint ( or Bruno Frédérich ( to have more information or for discussion.