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Postdoc Fellow Mathematics or Informatics for origins of life research (1.0 FTE) in Groningen

... Faculty of Science and... ... University of... The Origins Center, see: https://www.origins-center.nl/ is a recent, multidisciplinary and multi-institute...



Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

The Origins Center, see: https://www.origins-center.nl/ is a recent, multidisciplinary and multi-institute initiative of a large number of top tier scientists in the Netherlands, who responded to questions submitted by the public on fundamentals of life in the universe in the context of the Dutch National Science Agenda, see: https://wetenschapsagenda.nl/?lang=en and who aim at game-changing understanding of the origin of life and of life-bearing planets, predicting evolution, building and steering life from molecule to biosphere, and finding extra-terrestrial life. A fifth area of research, linking all others, targets the challenges in mathematics, informatics, and computational science in bridging large spatial and temporal scales, and for understanding shifts in levels of organisation. The Center is coordinated by the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands. Scientists affiliated with at least 17 Dutch universities and research institutes participate in its research. Recently the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research NWO granted ‘Startimpuls’ (initial boost) funding to the Origins Center.

For the mathematical, informatics and computational science challenges we are now recruiting a postdoctoral research fellow with a strong background in mathematics, informatics or the computational sciences. The recruited fellow will, jointly with research groups in the Netherlands, define and execute a two-year research project that will be linked to the other projects in the Origins Center portfolio. She or he will thereby be centrally involved in advanced and multidisciplinary research of great scientific and public interest.

Job description

The fellow will be hosted by a research group involved in the Origins Center initiative and be employed by the host’s university or research institute. (S)he will cooperate with at least one other research group in another field of expertise and preferably in another university or research institute. The fellow’s tasks will include:

• further conceptualising, planning, and executing a two-year research project
• reaching out to and collaborating with research groups in the Netherlands and abroad
• forging links between the other Origins Center research projects and with the relevant research community at large
• contributing to a programme of public outreach.

It is essential that the research fellow define the project herself or himself, in dialogue with a prospective host and within the following outlines.

The project will be in the area of system development for high-performance multiscale, multilevel and/or multi-physics numerical simulations for one or more of the scientific disciplines involved in the Origins Center. As an indication of the methods to be developed one may think of methods for simulation of rare events (bridging long and short timescales), or for simulation of systems in which the dynamics on small temporal or spatial scales have determining effects on the dynamics on large scales and in which full simulation on the small-scale level will be computationally out of reach. Other examples include the development of algorithms for efficient simulation of multilevel systems in which patterns are formed that will operate as ‘unit’ and interact with other such ‘units’. A central challenge within multiphysics systems is to couple several physical descriptions, as in particle-based and continuity-based approaches, in a correct and efficient way. Working on cross-fertilisation of work on several scales, as for instance in application of particle-based simulation software developed for problems in molecular dynamics on problems on far larger scales, will certainly be possible as well.


The successful candidate will have:

• a recently obtained PhD in mathematics, computational sciences, or other relevant discipline
• an excellent track record as shown by publications, invitations and awards
• a sound grasp of issues, concepts and methods linked to the project as described in the application, and the ambition, resourcefulness, perseverance and cooperative skills needed to bring the project to a successful closure
• strong communication skills both towards direct collaborators and towards the wider research community
• an interest in science communication targeted at a variety of audiences
• good written and oral knowledge of English.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 24 months.

The University of Groningen offers a first-year gross salary ranging from € 3,111 euro to € 3,475 euro per month (scale 10 Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities), holiday and end-of-year reimbursements, and inclusion in a pension scheme. Employment by a Dutch University or research institute on the base of a fixed-term full time contract, for the duration of two years. Secondments, for short periods during the project, to other Dutch universities or research institutes can be considered.
Employment conditions according to the Collective Labour Agreement, see: https://www.labouragreementuniversities.nl/ of the Dutch Universities, or a largely similar other collective labour agreement with, according to this collective labour agreement,
Secondary employment conditions may vary between the research institutes and universities participating in the Origins Center, but will normally include further training facilities, career counselling for partners and, if needed, assistance with establishment in the Netherlands.

The Dutch Universities and research institutes have adopted an active policy to increase the number of female scientists across all disciplines. Therefore, female candidates are especially encouraged to apply.
As a rule, candidates may not occupy postdoc positions for more than six years overall, and no more than four years with one employer.

The preferred starting date is 1 September 2018 or soon afterwards.

You may apply for this position until 24 May 23:59 h / before 25 May 2018 Dutch local time by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website). Applications submitted later or in other ways will not be considered. We aim to complete the selection process before 1 July 2018.

Interested applicants should submit:

1. a concise motivation letter 1.5 pages maximum (letter of motivation attachment)
2. a research statement (2.5 pages maximum) that (i) fits within the project outlines above, (ii) identifies one hosting research group listed in the project outline and in which the candidate would prefer to be employed, and (iii) identifies at least one other research group in another field of expertise, and preferably in another university or research institute, with which the candidate expects to cooperate closely (extra attachment)
3. a concise CV (3 pages maximum) including a list of up to five best papers (CV attachment)
4. two letters of reference (extra attachment 2).

A list of prospective hosting research groups has been put on the Origins Center’s website, see: https://www.origins-center.nl/1151-2/ with contact details for each host. Candidates are encouraged to discuss their draft research statement with leading scientists (also indicated) from groups which research interests and approaches match their own. The hosting research group should be clearly identified in the application.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.
Additional information

Extra informatie

Fulltime (startersfunctie)

Groningen | Groningen | Fulltime (startersfunctie)

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