PhD position in Plant Developmental Plasticity (1.0 FTE)

Research / Academic

We are looking for an enthusiastic, communicative, and highly motivated PhD student with experience in plant molecular biology. You will be working on an NWO-TTW funded project, within the large Lettuceknow program (see below for more information and the website for additional vacancies). You will join a team of 18 PhD students, post-docs, and technicians working in Utrecht, Wageningen, and Leiden.

Lettuce shoot and root architecture and their flexibility in response to dynamic environmental parameters, notably light, are poorly understood at the molecular level. In this four-year project, you will investigate how photoreceptors and their signalling pathways drive lettuce plant architecture and plasticity, even in the root systems that do not normally see light! For that, you will make use of the genome-wide association mapping panel of ~500 domesticated and wild lettuce lines, their gene expression profiles, imaging-based phenotyping, CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, and genetic transformation of lettuce. The unique LettuceKnow expertise in analysing and integrating vast genomic, expression, and phenotypic data will facilitate your curiosity-driven research into photoreceptor-driven optimisation of lettuce shoot and root architecture.


We are seeking a driven, creative and collaborative candidate with a keen interest to learn and the motivation to work in an ambitious and international research environment.

You also bring the following essential requirements:

  • an MSc degree (or equivalent) in the area of molecular plant sciences;
  • expertise in molecular techniques;
  • strong communication and English language skills;
  • the ability to think critically and creatively;
  • you are organized and efficient.

We would like for you to have:

  • interest to learn/expertise with bioinformatics related gene expression and/or quantitative genetics;
  • experience in plant developmental biology;
  • affiliation with plant-environment interactions.

Salary Benefits:

  • an exciting project that will investigate a relatively unexplored, but highly relevant research area;
  • a full-time position for 4 years;
  • a full-time gross salary starting at €2,395 in the first year and increasing to €3,061 in the fourth year (scale P Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (cao));
  • benefits including 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions laid down in the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. For example, there are agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment via the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we like to encourage you to continue to grow.

More information about working at the Faculty of Science can be found here.

Work Hours:

38 - 40 hours per week


Domplein 29