Vacancy: Assistant Professor Plant-Microbe Interactions


Hours per week: 38 to 40
Faculty: Faculty of Science
Department: Department of Biology, Plant-Microbe Interactions
Application deadline: 2 October 2023


Job description

The Plant-Microbe Interactions external link (PMI) group within the Department of Biology is looking for an Assistant Professor in Plant-Microbe Interactions to strengthen our collegial research team and contribute to the education and training of our next-generation scientists. The PMI team studies molecular mechanisms by which plants orchestrate interactions with other organisms by activating the plant immune system to ward off pathogens and pests, while accommodating growth- and health-promoting microbiota. We already have strong lines of research on the dynamics and complexity of plant-beneficial root-microbiome interactions and on the architecture and dynamics of gene regulatory networks that steer the plant immune system. Our research goals are being achieved by using model and crop plant species in combination with state-of-the-art techniques and methods in phytopathology, microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, genomics, microbiomics and bioinformatics. With our strong ties to the recently opened Netherlands Plant-Ecophenotyping Centre (NPEC), frontier plant-microbe interactions phenotyping is at our disposal. With our fundamental research we aim to provide a rational basis for developing sustainable strategies for disease resistance in future crops that produce more with less input of fertilizers or pesticides.

As an Assistant Professor you will actively engage in research, teaching, and supervision. You have proven research and teaching skills, and have the ambition to build an independent research line on a conceptually novel topic at the international frontier of the plant-microbe interactions research field. We seek expertise to complement and strengthen our team and anticipate that you will develop new research directions that allow the group to extend and diversify its research programme. You are expected to actively seek funding for new research projects via personal, national, European and other international granting opportunities and supervise the research of post-doctoral researchers, PhD candidates and Master’s students. In addition, you are enthusiastic to participate in the teaching activities of the group at both the Bachelor and Master levels.

Within the PMI team, we nurture the spirit of collegiality. To further build our team, we consider it important that you have strongly developed social skills and can think critically and creatively. You have the capacity and interest to develop leadership skills for a future staff position in the PMI group.

If you are excited to develop your scientific career at the frontier of plant-microbe interactions we invite you to apply.



We are looking for a dedicated, creative, and collaborative scientist who is enthusiastic about working in our international and diverse team. You have a track record in fundamental plant science or plant biotic interactions research, which is evident from your publications with impact in international journals. Your experience complements the current expertise in the PMI group. You have affinity and enthusiasm for academic teaching, and the potential to coach and to guide PhD candidates and students. We would also like you to meet the following criteria:

- a PhD in the area of molecular plant and/or microbial biology;

- you have experience, talent and interest in academic teaching;

proficiency in English (speaking and writing) and willingness to learn Dutch;

- experience with publishing impactful science;

- a network in your science field and experience with outreach, demonstrated experience and success in acquiring external funding.



We are offering an appointment as Assistant Professor, starting with a fixed term contract. Following a positive evaluation after 18 months, this will be converted in a permanent contract, and:

- the opportunity and guidance to develop yourself both professionally and personally;

- a full-time gross salary – depending on previous qualifications and experience – ranging between €3,974 and €5,439 per month (scale 11 at the level of Assistant Professor (universitair docent; UD) according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (CAO));

- 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;

In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, professional development, (partly paid) parental leave, sports and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow.

For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.


About the organisation

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 strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow.

At the Faculty of Science, there are 6 departments to make a fundamental connection with: Biology, Chemistry, Information and Computing Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Physics. Each of these is made up of distinct institutes that work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing problems. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects. Find out more about our faculty on our social media channels.

You will be embedded within the Plant-Microbe Interactions (PMI) group of the Department of Biology, who will ensure mentoring for you. You can expect to work in an collegial, inclusive, collaborative, and motivating environment with a very creative and international team of PhD students, postdocs, research assistants, and staff. You will be able to work with scientists who have access to world-class research facilities, including the recently opened Netherlands Plant-Ecophenotyping Centre and the state-of-the-art Utrecht Bioinformatics Center, and you will benefit from our extensive national/international collaborations in academia and industry.

The Department of Biology consists of 12 research divisions, which are organized within two institutes: the Institute of Biodynamics and Biocomplexity (IBB) and the Institute of Environmental Biology (IEB). Within the IEB we have a vibrant UU Plant Science community. The department of Biology coordinates the teaching of the Bachelor’s programme in Biology, as well as Master’s programmes and PhD courses that are offered through the Graduate School of Life Sciences. Each Institute promotes the maintenance of a high-quality and interactive research environment.


Additional information

If you have any questions that you’d like us to answer, please contact Professor Corné Pieterse (Professor Plant-Microbe Interactions and Scientific Director of the Institute of Environmental Biology) at

Do you have a question about the application procedure? Please send an email to

Are you an international applicant? Our International Service Desk can answer your questions about living in the Netherlands as international staff.



Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

If you are enthusiastic about this position, just apply via the "Apply now" button! Please enclose:

- your letter of motivation, in which you outline how you fulfil the requirements for this position.

- your curriculum vitae, including a publication list, and your top 3 publications – with motivation;

- a research vision (2-3 pages and please include how you envision the embedding of your research in the Plant-Microbe Interactions group and the UU Plants community at large);

- a teaching vision (1 page);

- the names and email addresses of three references;

- a copy of your PhD certificate.

If this specific opportunity isn’t for you, but you know someone else who may be interested, please forward this vacancy to them.


*Note to recruitment agencies: Please refrain from contacting us regarding this job posting.


Some connections are fundamental – Be one of them


The application deadline is 2 October 2023.