Technician Plant microbiome (Vacancy closed)


For two of our projects, MicroHealth (80% of your time) and Promise II (20% of your time), we are looking for a technician that will support the work of a PhD candidate and a postdoctoral researcher on plant metabolism and the rhizosphere microbiome. In NWO-KIC project MicroHealth, we will study the role of the microbiome in the relationship between soil, agricultural products and health of humans. With a team of plant and human biologists, sociologists and data analysts, we will establish the connection between the impact of agriculture on the soil and plant quality/microbiome and the consequences for the health of humans, as well as the social and political context of this connection. Together with a PhD candidate you will do field and greenhouse research into the effects of fertiliser use on the microbiome and nutritional composition of a number of open field crops. 


In Promise II we are responsible for the analysis of signalling molecules in the root exudate of a number of African crop species such as rice, millet and legumes. Together with a postdoc, you will grow these plant species, collect exudates and prepare samples for chemical analysis.


If you enjoy working in an interdisciplinary research team and are eager to contribute to the understanding of how plants interact with other organisms, then the Plant Hormone Biology group, which is part of the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences in the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam, is the place to be.


The mission of the Plant Hormone Biology group is to understand the chemical communication of plants with other organisms in their environment. With an international and diverse team of postdocs, PhD candidates and technicians with expertise varying from analytical chemistry to biochemistry and molecular biology we study how plants use signaling molecules to affect the behavior of other organisms in the rhizosphere. This includes communication with microbial communities that have been shown to play a crucial role in the protection of plants against a range of stresses.


Our research is aimed at understanding the biological relevance of this chemical communication and use it as a basis for improving resistance and harnessing the potential of beneficial root microbes resulting in improved stress resilience in crops for sustainable food production with reduced inputs.


What are you going to do?

You will support the planning, carrying out and analysis of experiments under field and greenhouse conditions in which we will grow crop species, with different nutrient application. You will analyse their root exudate composition, rhizosphere microbiome and nutritional composition using metabarcoding/metagenomics and metabolomics and targeted chemical analysis. 


Tasks and responsibilities:

•    perform experiments in a systematic and well controlled manner;
•    keep accurate records by properly documenting and organizing your work; 
•    grow, treat and harvest plant samples and root exudates;
•    perform sample preparation for microbiome and metabolite analysis;
•    contribute to the analysis of these data;
•    be an active member of the research group and take responsibility for shared tasks;
•    assist in supervising Bachelor and Master students.


What do you have to offer?

You are skilled in experimental plant biology and the plant microbiome. You enjoy performing experimental work (in field and greenhouse), as well as microbiome and metabolite analyses. You enjoy working in a multidisciplinary team and are a team player. You have good communication skills as you will be expected to discuss your results with project partners.


Your experience and profile 
You have/are:
•    a BSc degree in Biology or Plant Science;
•    experience with experimental work involving plants;
•    experience with microbial DNA and RNA isolation;
•    experience with metabolite extraction;
•    experience with data analysis;
•    affinity with plant metabolism and the plant microbiome;
•    fluent in English, both written and spoken.


Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 12 months. Upon a good evaluation this will be extended with another 36 months. The preferred starting date is as soon as possible. 


Your salary will range between €2.693 and €3.636 gross per month, on the basis of a full working week of 38 hours. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8.3% year-end allowance. A favorable tax agreement, the 30% ruling, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU) is applicable.


Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:
•    232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime);
•    multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
•    a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
•    the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
•    help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad. 


Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.


About us

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.


The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 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 Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) is one of the Faculty of Science’s largest institutes. Its approximately 240 scientists and staff members work in 17 research groups that perform excellent research centered on four themes: Neurosciences, Cell & Systems Biology, Microbiology and Green Life Sciences.


Do you want to know more about our organization? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


Any questions?

Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

         T:  +31 20 5256476

Job application

If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the Uva website. We accept applications until and including 17 December 2023. 


Due to Dutch legislation, the UvA is for non-scientific positions obliged to recruit within the EU. If you are not a EU-citizen (including Norway and Switzerland) it is not useful to apply.


Applications should include the following information (all files besides your cv should be submitted in one single pdf file):

•    a detailed CV including the months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience;
•    a letter of motivation;
•    the names and email addresses of two references who can provide letters of recommendation.


Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.


A knowledge security check can be part of the selection procedure. 
(for details: National knowledge security guidelines


The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise 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.