Doctoral Scholarship in Holder Quantifying and Modelling Marine Ecosystem Services
University of Antwerp Faculty of Science

Doctoral scholarship holder Quantifying and modelling marine ecosystem services

Department : Department of Biology

Regime : Full-time

The Ecosystem Management Research Group of the Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science is looking for a full-time (100%)

Doctoral scholarship holder in the field of quantifying and modelling marine ecosystem services.


The Ecosystem Management Research Group (ECOBE) is one of the 7 research groups of the Department of Biology at the University of Antwerp. ECOBE’s research concentrates on the ecology of aquatic ecosystems and wetlands and the processes in the land-water interaction along the whole river continuum and the river-coastal sea interaction.

The concept of ecosystem services has gained attention since the publications of Costanza et al. (1997) in Nature and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005. The concept received increasing attention ever since, both from science and policy. The strong integrative and multidisciplinary character allows to make the link between ecology, economy and society, creating opportunities for better underpinned nature and environmental policy. Major advances have been made for the quantification and modelling of terrestrial ecosystem services but for the marine environment research on ecosystem services is still in its infancy.

The candidate will work on the SUMES project financed by VLAIO! in the frame of the Blue Cluster ( The aim of the project is to enhance sustainability of marine activities by developing a model to evaluate impact of human activities on the marine ecosystem and ecosystem services.


  • You develop generic, conceptual models that link marine ecosystem functioning (ecological structures and processes) to human well-being (ecosystem services) based on a literature study and workshops with (inter)national experts;
  • You develop an ecosystem-based model for the quantification of ecosystem services in the Belgian part of the North Sea based, using system dynamics software. The model will be developed based on knowledge derived from existing mechanistic models for different aspects of the ecosystem;
  • You couple the ecosystem-based model with provided data on the sociological demand for ecosystem services in the Belgian part of the North Sea;
  • The project has a strong interdisciplinary character. You cooperate with other partners of the consortium (Ghent University and VLIZ) to develop a holistic sustainability model for marine activities of which the ecosystem services model constitutes one part;
  • You work actively on the preparation of a PhD thesis in the field of marine ecosystem services;
  • You publish scientific articles related to the research project;
  • You carry out a limited number of teaching and research support tasks for the Ecosystem Management Research Group.


  • You hold a Master degree in Bio-Engineering, Biology, Geography or Oceanography. Masters in Biochemics, Biotechnology or Applied Sciences with a strong affinity for the subject are also eligible.
  • You can demonstrate excellent study results.
  • Your teaching competences are in line with the University of Antwerp’s educational vision.
  • Your research qualities are in line with the faculty and university research policies
  • You act with attention to quality, integrity, creativity and cooperation.
  • You have knowledge on hydrodynamic, biogeochemical and ecological processes and a strong affinity with the marine environment.
  • Programming skills (R, python, system dynamics models, …) are nice-to-have

What we offer

  • We offer a doctoral scholarship for a period of 1 year which may be renewed.
  • The planned start date is 1 November 2020 or as soon as possible after that date.
  • Your monthly scholarship amount is calculated according to the scholarship amounts for doctoral scholarship holders on the pay scales for contract research staff (Dutch: Bijzonder Academisch Personeel, BAP).
  • You will do most of your work at campus Drie Eiken (Wilrijk) in a dynamic and stimulating working environment.
  • Additional training and educational opportunities.
  • Regular participation in international conferences.
  • Find out more about working at the University of Antwerp here.

 Want to apply?

  • You can apply for this vacancy through the University of Antwerp’s online job application platform until 1 October 2020. Click on the 'Apply' button, complete the online application form and be sure to include the following attachments: a motivation letter and your academic CV.
  • The selection committee will review all of the applications as soon as possible after the application deadline. As soon as a decision has been made, we will inform you about the next steps in the selection procedure.
  • If you have any questions about the online application form, please check the frequently asked questions or send an email to If you have any questions about the job itself, please contact Dr. Katrien Van der Biest ( or

The University of Antwerp received the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award for its HR policy. We are a sustainable, family-friendly organisation which invests in its employees’ growth. We encourage diversity and attach great importance to an inclusive working environment and equal opportunities, regardless of gender identity, disability, race, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. We encourage people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse characteristics to apply.

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