PhD Position in Fluid Dynamics of Aquatic Microorganisms

University of Amsterdam Institute of Physics


PhD Position in Fluid Dynamics of Aquatic Microorganisms

Publication date 16 September 2021

Closing date 18 October 2021

Level of education Master's degree

Hours 38 hours per week

Salary indication €2,434 to €3,111 gross per month

Vacancy number 21-726

We are looking for a highly-motivated and ambitious PhD candidate who is interested in research at the frontiers of fluid dynamics, experimental physics, aquatic ecology and environmental science.

Cyanobacterial blooms are increasingly abundant in water systems worldwide. They cause problems due to the potential production of toxins that can harm aquatic life and humans. One of the available methods to reduce cyanobacterial blooms is artificial mixing in deep lakes. The method relies on generating fluid flow inside the lake that eventually avoid the rapid production of the cyanobacteria. This project aims to significantly improve the efficiency of the current artificial mixing techniques as an effective method of bloom mitigation.  We will study how fluid dynamics affect cyanobacterial filaments and colonies under different mixing conditions, using controlled laboratory experiments, field studies, and mathematical models.

The project is highly interdisciplinary and a collaboration between the Institute of Physics (IoP) and the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam.

For more information about the Groups, please visit FluidLab, FAME, Soft Matter Group, Computational Soft Matter Group.

What are you going to do

You will:

  • design and build non-standard experimental tools to study fluid flows at different length scales;
  • study how fluid dynamics affect cyanobacterial filaments and colonies;
  • closely collaborate with both physicists and biologists;
  • perform field work on natural and artificially mixed lakes in collaboration with other researchers;
  • develop new fluid dynamics and statistical physics models for lakes;
  • present your results at international workshops and conferences;
  • work collaboratively and participate actively in scientific discussions between research groups in the Institute of Physics (e.g., Soft Matter Group and Computational Soft Matter Group) and with the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (e.g., Department of Freshwater and Marine Ecology);
  • publish in high level international journals;
  • take part in supervision of Bachelor and Master students.

What do we require

We are looking for a candidate with:

  • a creative, curious, and driven nature;
  • a MSc degree in one of the followings fields: physics, mechanical or chemical engineering, applied mathematics, fluid dynamics, physical oceanography or experimental (micro)biology with a physics background;
  • previous experience in an experimental lab: imaging, image processing, fluid dynamics, biophysics or similar;
  • demonstrated interest in the interplay between physics and biology;
  • excellent written and oral communication skills in English;
  • demonstrated experience with programming (Python, Matlab, ect.) and data analysis in physics or biophysics.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of four years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of four years). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students. 

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,434 to €3,111 (scale P) gross per month, based on a fulltime contract (38 hours a week). This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

  • Dr. Maziyar Jalaal, Assistant Professor

About us

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The mission of the Institute of Physics (IoP) is to carry out excellent research in the field of experimental and theoretical physics, to provide inspiring teaching within the physics and other curricula and to transfer our knowledge of and enthusiasm for physics to society. The IoP has over 50 faculty and 180 researchers in total. The combination with the NWO Institutes at Amsterdam Science Park constitutes the largest physics hub in the Netherlands and is an international centre of excellence.

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) is one of eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. The research at IBED aims to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities. At its core lies an integrated systems approach to study biodiversity, ecosystems and the environment. IBED adopts this systems approach to ecosystems, addressing abiotic (soil and water quality) and biotic factors (ecology and evolution of plants, animals, and microorganisms), and the interplay between those. The IBED vision includes research encompassing experimental and theoretical approaches at a wide variety of temporal and spatial scales, i.e. from molecules and microorganisms to patterns and processes occurring at the global scale.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 18 October 2021. You can apply online by using the link below. 

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • a motivation letter (max one page) that explains why you are specifically interested in this position;
  • a detailed curriculum vitae, including list of grades;
  • a pdf version of your MSc thesis (or if not finalized yet, an abstract);
  • if applicable, pdf versions of your scientific publications;
  • the name and email address of at least two referees. The referees will only be contacted if you are shortlisted. The recommendation letters should be sent to

Shortlisted Candidates will be interviewed online 8 and 9 November 2021. We will invite potential candidates for on-site interviews.

In your application, please refer to