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Professional Positions

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Tenure-Track Professorship (Micropaleontology), Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Division of Geology at KU Leuven and the Operational Directorate Earth and History of life, Research Programme Paleobiosphere Evolution of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) (jointly), Brussels, Belgium

Posting Date: 7 January 2021
Closing Date: 18 February 2021

The Science and Technology Group, Faculty of Science, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Division of Geology at KU Leuven and the Operational Directorate Earth and History of life, Research Programme Paleobiosphere Evolution of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) jointly offer a full-time position (Prf-2020-038_MicroPAST Micropaleontology of PAleogene marine Shelves and correlation with the Terrestrial domain) (each with an appointment of 50 %) in the context of the BELSPO FED-tWIN programme, a programme of sustainable research cooperation between the Belgian federal scientific institutes and universities. The 50% appointment at KU Leuven is a tenure track professorship. The 50% appointment at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences is a contract of indefinite duration of at least 10 years as a work leader (salary scale SW2). Candidates are sought in the field of marine micropaleontology with an emphasis on Paleogene continental shelf records. We are looking for candidates with an excellent research record and educational competence in paleontology and the broader field of geology.

KU Leuven The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences builds on a solid research infrastructure, an extensive international network, international esteem, a stable range of talented PhD students and a supportive working environment. The department has as its main mission the performance of high-quality scientific research on the functioning of geo- and ecosystems on different time and space scales, including human-environment interactions, and the sustainable management of natural resources. Researchers within the Division of Geology study planet Earth. In addition to fundamental research questions about how geological processes work, the research is driven by the societal challenges of today and in the future, such as the use of non-renewable resources, the availability of water, climate change, or the management of waste. Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) The RBINS is one of ten federal scientific institutions in Belgium. It is involved in important scientific research activities and carries out public service missions. It is open to the public through the Museum of Natural Sciences. One of three people employed at the RBINS is a scientist. The scientific personnel includes mainly biologists, paleontologists and geologists, which enables to conduct multidisciplinary research. With 38 million specimens conserved as Belgian heritage of global significance, the RBINS collections are the third largest in Europe, just after London and Paris, and are among the largest in the world. The Research Programme Paleobiosphere Evolution is one of the three research subdivisions of the Operational Directorate Earth and History of life. It conducts research on the biodiversity and evolution of fossil fauna and flora through: 1. the Evolution, the driving force of life with a focus on the major events in the evolution of life and adaptations to major environmental changes in the past; 2. the Ecosystem dynamics with the biostratigraphy and ecosystem evolution by reconstructing fossil environments and paleoclimatology.

  • You will develop research at an international level in the micropaleontology of continental margins within the framework of a FED-tWIN collaboration between KU Leuven and the RBINS. The programme of this FED-tWIN profile aims at unraveling the evolution of regional ecosystems, with an emphasis on overall evolutionary patterns in marine microbiota and terrestrial vertebrates. The focus of this research profile is on the generation of paleoclimate proxy data and unravelling paleobiosphere developments through stratigraphic integration of marine, coastal and terrestrial sequences along continental margins during the Paleogene. A key issue to resolve is whether changes in vertebrate associations are tightly correlated and linked to climate evolution as recorded in the marine sedimentary record.

  • You have a broad knowledge of paleontology and geology, and have specific expertise in the field of Paleogene marine micropaleontology, stratigraphy, paleoenvironmental reconstruction based on quantitative biotic studies and geochemical applications. With this expertise you will develop collaborations within the global Paleogene community.

  • You will develop your own research group in an international framework in synergy with research groups at KU Leuven and at the RBINS. This FED-tWIN research profile specifically aims at developing a strong scientific collaboration between KU Leuven and the RBINS.

  • You will publish at the highest scientific level, are able to obtain competitive financing, and will supervise PhD students.

  • You provide high-quality education within the Bachelor and Master in Geology programmes at KU Leuven, with a clear commitment to the quality of education as a whole.

  • You also contribute to the pedagogical project of the faculty and university by supervising master theses and as a promoter of doctoral students.

  • You develop your educational project in accordance with the vision of KU Leuven on activating and research-based education and you make use of the opportunities for educational professionalization that the faculty and the university offer.

  • You participate to the RBINS missions, which are to foster, among the public at large and the scientific community, the understanding of and interest in the natural sciences and, through partnerships, to contribute substantially to its sustainable development. Thus, the core endeavours of this natural sciences-oriented institution consist of acquiring and managing collections, conducting scientific research, implementing the results of this research, disseminating knowledge, and participating in the mounting of exhibitions.

  • Service provision is therefore an important aspect within this FED-tWIN profile and will include science education and communication initiatives on the topics: identification of fossils, dating of geological layers with fossil markers, paleoenvironmental reconstruction, paleo(bio)geographical modelling, paleoclimatic interpretation, .... The RBINS offers a strong network in combination with new infrastructure to excel in scientific education and communication for primary and secondary schools, training courses, international internships and scientific visitors.

  • Through outreach activities, the FED-tWIN researcher will disseminate future research results to the scientific community, policy-makers and the general public. As such scientific data derived from the geology and paleontology of Belgium can provide educational value on Earth’s history and new stratigraphic data can be transferred to national organizations (NIRAS/ONDRAF, DOV, National Commission on Stratigraphy …).

  • You have a PhD in geology, with a particular focus on paleontology, paleoecology, stratigraphy, obtained no more than 12 years before the end date of the period in which you can apply for this vacancy. The 12-year period is extended by one year for each maternity, parental and adoption leave and for each long-term sick leave of yourself or your immediate family.

  • You have a strong research curriculum within the domain of paleontology and geology, marine micropaleontology and stratigraphy of Paleogene continental margin sequences, and demonstrable contributions regarding services. Your research quality is apparent from publications in leading international journals.

  • Experience with geochemical proxies in paleoclimate research and international research experience are an important plus.

  • You must be capable of correlating sedimentary sequences by means of integrated stratigraphy (field analysis, biostratigraphy, chemostratigraphy, lithostratigraphy...) and preferably have skills in collection and database management, imaging (e.g. SEM, micro CT, stereomicroscopy...) and outreach.

  • You have demonstrable qualities for academic education and teaching experience is a plus.

  • You are collegial and have organizational skills and preferably also managerial capacities in a university context.

Proficiency in English is required. KU Leuven offers courses in academic English.
The official administrative language used at KU Leuven is Dutch. If you do not speak Dutch (or do not speak it well) at the start of employment, KU Leuven will provide language training to enable you to take part in administrative meetings. Before teaching courses in Dutch, you will be given the opportunity to learn Dutch to the required standard.

Within the FED-tWIN framework, KU Leuven offers a 50% appointment as a tenure track professor in combination with an appointment as a 50% contractual researcher (salary scale SW2; indefinite duration) for at least 10 years at the RBINS.

KU Leuven is a research-intensive, internationally oriented university that carries out both fundamental and applied scientific research. It has a strong inter- and multidisciplinary focus and strives for international excellence. KU Leuven actively cooperates with its research partners at home and abroad. It offers her students an academic education based on high-level scientific research.

The appointment of the researcher at KU Leuven is on a tenure track for a period of 5 years; after this period and a positive evaluation, (s)he is permanently appointed and promoted to associate professor.

KU Leuven is well set to welcome appointed foreign professors and their family and provides practical support with regard to immigration and administration, housing, childcare, learning Dutch, partner career coaching, …

To facilitate scientific onboarding and accelerate research in the first phase a starting grant of 100.000 euro is offered to new professors without substantial other funding, appointed for at least 50%.

RBINS offers a full reimbursement of public transport for commuting, or a bicycle allowance if you commute by bike. The researcher will work in a dynamic, challenging, varied and stimulating research environment in a historical Art Nouveau building located in the heart of Brussels, just next to the European parliament.

Place of employment:
KU Leuven, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Celestijnenlaan 200E, 3001 Leuven
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Operational Directorate Earth and History of life, Vautierstraat 29, 1000 Brussels

For more information please contact:
Prof. dr. Robert Speijer
tel.: +32 16 32 64 04

Prof. dr. Gert Verstraeten
tel.: +32 16 32 64 11

Dr. Thierry Smith, Operational Directorate Earth and History of Life, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
tel.: +32 2 6274488

Add to your application following documents:
  • your biosketch in which you indicate your added value as an academic for research, education and service to society of your past career and of your future activities (maximum 2 pages);
  • a file on your five most important publications or realizations;
  • an extensive cv including a full publication list;
  • your research plan with focus on the development of your research line and research team in relation with the colleague-researchers of the entity of employment (maximum 4 pages);
  • your vision on academic education and its organization (maximum 2 pages);
  • your contribution to society by outreach and public communication on science and technology, internal representation in boards and councils and service activities directly in relation to your developed expertise (maximum 1 page);
  • your vision on leadership (maximum 1 page).

For problems with online applying, please contact

KU Leuven places great importance on research integrity and ethical conduct and will therefore ask you to sign an integrity statement upon appointment.

You can apply for this job no later than February 18, 2021 via the
online application tool.

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at d

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Assistant Curator (Invertebrate Paleontology or Paleobotany), Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Posting Date: 4 January 2021
Closing Date: 15 March 2021

The Field Museum invites applications for an Assistant Curator in the fields of Invertebrate Paleontology or Paleobotany. This term position has a probationary period of 3 + 3 years; after successful promotion to the Associate level it is renewable every 7 years, according to the Field Museum’s Policy Statement on the Curatorial Ranks. The start date for the position is on or after January 1, 2022.

The Field Museum's Geology Section has a record of scientific excellence in collections-based research, with current strengths in phylogenetic systematics, functional morphology, paleoecology, macroevolution, history and philosophy of biology, meteoritics, and cosmochemistry. Our Fossil Invertebrate and Paleobotany collections are world class. The Fossil Invertebrate collection is focused on the Paleozoic of the Midwest with significant collections of the Pennsylvanian Mazon Creek Lagerstätte, Devonian fossils from the Falls of the Ohio area, Silurian reef fossils from the Chicago area, and Paleozoic echinoderms. The Paleobotany Collection contains significant holdings of Late Carboniferous fossil plants preserved as compression-adpressions, permineralized peats, and within sideritic concretions. Cretaceous through Paleogene floras are well-represented, including angiosperm mesofossil assemblages from the Upper Cretaceous Raritan and Magothy Formations. Substantial fossil palynological collections and comparative extant pollen and spore preparations are also housed within the Collection.

We are seeking a collegial individual with strong communication skills who conducts innovative, integrative research that will complement and broaden the section’s strengths. The successful candidate will be expected:
  • to maintain an externally funded field and/or laboratory research program,
  • to contribute to building and using the Invertebrate Paleontology or Paleobotany collections, and
  • to participate in Museum exhibition, public outreach and education, and programmatic efforts.

We particularly value a commitment to equity and inclusion in the context of museum-based research, curation, education, and outreach. Close relationships with local universities provide opportunities for participation in graduate and undergraduate training. A Ph.D. in a relevant discipline must be held by the start of employment.

To apply and for inquiries, please email: Applications should include:
  1. a Curriculum Vitae;
  2. a statement of research interests and career objectives;
  3. a statement describing experience in and/or vision for increasing diversity and inclusion in a museum setting;
  4. names and contact information for three people from whom letters of recommendation may be sought; and
  5. copies of up to five relevant publications in PDF format.

Review of applications will begin on March 15, 2021.

The Field Museum is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in science, and strives to create a working environment that is free of sexual, racial, and ethnic discrimination, and that promotes human dignity among all staff. As such, it is the policy of the Field Museum to hire without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status.

If you are a qualified individual with a disability or a disabled veteran, you may request a reasonable accommodation. The Field Museum strives to ensure that our career website is accessible to all, including individuals with disabilities. Email us at if you are unable or limited in your ability to use or access our online application as a result of your disability.

Postdoctoral & Technical Positions

None of which I am aware at the moment.

Educational Opportunities

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PhD Position (Shark Extinction Mechanisms), Program in Evolutionary Biology, University of Zürich (UZH), Zürich, Switzerland

Posting Date: 4 January 2021
Closing Date: 1 April 2021

We are offering a fully funded PhD position in evolutionary biology, focused on modeling evolutionary processes using shark paleontological and neontological data. The successful candidate will work in a Swiss National Science Foundation project that aims at establishing the factors that predict extinction risk in the past and future. The specific objectives of the PhD project include: a) estimating shark extinction rates in the geological past; b) forecasting future shark extinctions; and c) modelling biological determinants of extinction. These can be re-defined based on the interests and skills of the selected candidate.

The student will be enrolled in the
PhD Program in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Zurich (UZH) and will be hosted at the Palaeontological Institute and Museum (PIM) under the supervision of Dr. Catalina Pimiento. The candidate will be able to learn new methods in computational biology in collaboration with Dr. Daniele Silvestro. Additionally, the student will be offered ample opportunities to learn from world-leading experts in palaeontology, ecology and conservation. The position will be fully funded for 3 years, with a possible 1-year extension.

The successful candidate will:
  • Be highly motivated to pursue their research project.
  • Have received a Master's degree or equivalent by the start of the PhD.
  • Have a biological or palaeontological background.
  • Have excellent communication skills in English (written and spoken).
  • Be willing to collect large sets of data and learn new methods in R or Python.
  • Have the ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Non-essential but desirable criteria include experience in quantitative methods in paleobiology using R or Python and basic knowledge on shark biology, ecology or conservation.

The UZH is one of the top research institutions in Europe and the city offers the conditions for an excellent quality of life. With a critical mass of researchers in Palaeontology and Evolutionary Biology, the UZH offers exceptional conditions for research and study. The PIM further offers state-of-the-art research facilities in an international and stimulating academic environment.

To apply, please send your application as a single PDF via e-mail to
Dr. Catalina Pimiento Hernandez including:
  1. Short cover letter (max 2 pages) explaining background, motivation and research interests.
  2. A CV including any publications, pre-prints, or manuscripts, if applicable.
  3. Contact information for 2-3 referees who may be contacted during the evaluation process.

The deadline to apply is April 1st (included) but applications will be considered until the position is filled. Candidates will be evaluated by a committee and those shortlisted will be invited for an interview (by Zoom or in person) in the summer of 2021. The selected candidate is expected to start in September 2021 (negotiable).

Sponsorship of The Palaeontological Association is gratefully acknowledged with special thanks to Alan R. T. Spencer,
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