Two tenure track positions in Computational Soft Matter

Institute of Physics, Van't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences and Institute for Informatics

Publication date
10 October 2018
Level of education
Salary indication
€3,545 to €5,513 gross per month
Closing date
15 January 2019
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam has vacancies for two tenure track positions in Computational Soft Matter.

Within the Faculty of Science, the Physics, Chemistry and Informatics institutes collaborate in the ‘Research Priority Area’ (RPA) Soft Matter. The RPA encompasses world-leading groups on both experiments, theory, and modelling and simulation. To strengthen the collaboration between the computational efforts in the RPA, two tenure trackers will be hired. These TTs will be appointed on joint positions between the three involved institutes Institute of Physics (IoP) (Physics), Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) (Chemistry) and Informatics Institute (IvI) (Informatics). The aim is to make the computational part of the RPA internationally leading and visible through a cross-fertilization amongst the different disciplines and successful collaboration with each other and the experimental Soft Matter groups.

Project description

The field of soft condensed matter aims to design, understand and control materials that have particular properties that are 'soft' compared to traditional solid materials such as metals and semiconductors. Examples are synthetic materials such as colloidal suspensions, emulsions, surfactants, liquid crystals, polymer networks etc., but also more biological materials such as protein aggregates, protein filaments and fibers, lipid membranes, vesicles, or soft tissues etc. The extremely low elastic constants, and the sensitivity to thermal energy distinguish these materials from atomic solid materials. Soft matter systems is by definition a multidisciplinary field bringing together physicists, chemists, computational scientists and material scientists.

Computational physics has become a cornerstone of the soft matter field, complementary to experiments. Not only have the more traditional simulation methods such as particle based methods, molecular simulation, computational fluid dynamics, Lattice Boltzmann methods etc. , proven to be indispensable, recently, multiscale modelling approaches have become more important. Moreover, current developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning are very promising and are beginning to find their way into soft matter. All these approaches, techniques and methodology are currently present in or interesting for the theoretical and computational groups in IoP, IvI and HIMS.

The two tenure trackers should form the core of a computational soft matter laboratory, that should foster the collaboration between the three founding institutes, and that should complement and strengthen the ongoing research in soft matter in our faculty. The tenure trackers should grow this laboratory to world class reputation, leveraging on the current research eco system in Amsterdam.

We already have substantial research programs in both experimental and computational/theoretical soft matter, and we expect these new positions to further strengthen these efforts, increase their international visibility and present new opportunities for collaboration in Amsterdam and beyond.

The appointments are available at the level of (Tenure Track) Assistant Professor.

Job descriptions

For this position you should have a consistent track record in computational soft matter. Examples of topics that the TT’ers could pursue are: Active matter, soft biological matter, dynamics of soft bioinspired materials, Emergent phenomena, self-organization, pattern formation, Information theoretical approach to matter, Machine learning & Artificial intelligence in statistical physics, Meta materials / Topological metamaterials, Non-equilibrium transport, Programmable matter. The positions are however open for other topics in the broad field of computational soft matter. You will be selected on your scientific track record and on your vision for future research, as well as on your teaching achievement, qualifications, and vision for future teaching.

We advertise these positions between three institutes as we see great opportunities in enhancing the connections between the ongoing soft matter research activities at the three different institutes of the faculty, the Institute of Advanced Study of the University of Amsterdam, the Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence, VU LaserLab Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Center for Multiscale Modeling and nearby national institutes such as AMOLF and ARCNL, the Dutch eScience center, the Dutch National Supercomputing center, as well as other players in the lively Dutch Soft Matter community. Active and enthusiastic contribution to teaching at the BSc and MSc level is required, involving activities in basic education, as well as research-related specialised courses in programmes offered by the three institutes.


What do we require of you?

  • A completed a PhD in computer/computational science, chemistry or physics;
  • an excellent track record in the field of computational soft condensed matter, with e.g. a background in Statistical physics, numerical algorithms, Computational tools, or method development;
  • a demonstrated dedication to teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels and the willingness to acquire a basic qualification in teaching (BKO) as demanded by Dutch universities;
  • being open to fostering collaborations not only within Amsterdam's academic institutes, but also nationally and internationally;
  • to display the ability and capacity to develop independent and vigorous programmes of funded research.

You should not only carry out outstanding research in computational soft matter, but also push the boundaries in model development and computational tools. Computational tools and modelling methods could include, but are not limited to, e.g. particle based methods, dynamics from solving equation of motions numerically, coarse graining methods, out of equilibrium dynamics, model development, Monte Carlo methods, Machine learning & Artificial intelligence, Enhanced sampling, Stochastic thermodynamics, Large deviation theoretical tools, etc.

We especially encourage female candidates to apply for these positions.

Further information

For more information and any questions you may have, please contact:

  • Edan Lerner, Assistant Professor Theoretical Physics, Institute of Physics                                                                 
  • Peter Bolhuis, Full Professor Computational Chemistry, Van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences
  • Alfons Hoekstra, Associate Professor Computational Science, Informatics Institute                                                              
  • Daniel Bonn, Full Professor Soft Matter, Institute of Physics


The details will depend on the seniority of the hire; start-dates are negotiable. If the hire is at tenure track assistant professor level, we are happy to provide details of the assessment pathway. For a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) at tenure track level, the gross monthly starting salary ranges from €3,545 to €5,513 (salary scales 11-12), depending on experience and qualifications.

At any appointment level the total salary includes an additional 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus, as usual under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants.

Job application

The Faculty of Science is an active participant in a diverse, international community. Our goal is for you to feel at home here, regardless of your background, race, orientation and/or beliefs.

Please submit your application as a single.pdf file containing the following documents by 15 January 2019:

  • a cover letter and a statement summarizing your motivation (max 1 page);
  • your previous research accomplishments and your future research goals (max 2 pages);
  • your teaching statement (max 2 pages);
  • a curriculum vitae including a complete list of publications, a list of your best five papers;
  • a list of your grants and scholarships;
  • the names and contact coordinates (email and telephone numbers) of three references.


No agencies please

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