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Research Assistant (one year; M.Sc.-level) on the subject of multiscale modelling of the gut microbiota in infants

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) has a vacancy in the Scientific Computing research group for a talented

Research Assistant (one year; M.Sc.-level)

on the subject of multiscale modelling of the gut microbiota in infants

The opening is a research position within the field of applied mathematics or computational science. The position may be prolonged to a period of maximum four years, in which case the candidate is expected to work towards an academic promotion. The one-year position will be financed by, and will be carried out in part at a large international Food Company.

Research group

The work will be embedded in the Biomodeling and Biosystems Analysis team at the CWI in Amsterdam. The group carries out biomodeling research with experimental collaborators working, and focuses on modelling pattern formation and morphogenesis in multicellular organisms and bacterial ecosystems.

Job description

The central hypothesis of the project is that the intestinal microbiota of the infant contributes to the physiological performance. The microbial composition and metabolic product blend, due to digestion, are linked with each other.  The microbial products can be produced with various physiological effects. The aim of this project is to identify control strategies for steering the microbial composition and the production of selected metabolic  products by the gut microbiota.

The objective of the project is to further develop our existing, spatial, multiscale simulation platform of the gut microbiota (Van Hoek and Merks, BMC Systems Biology 2017) towards a platform that can be as a hypothesis generator for how nutritional composition and structure of dairy products is linked to digestive performance in the infants. The model includes detailed metabolism of bacterial populations based on flux-balance analysis, partial-differential equations to model the exchange of nutrients, and agent-based models of bacterial population dynamics.


Candidates are required to have a Master’s degree in applied mathematics, computational physics, theoretical biology, computer science or a related discipline, and able to communicate with scientists in biology and mathematics.

Preferable qualifications for candidates include proven research talent, excellent programming skills in C++, an excellent command of English, and good academic writing and presentation skills.

Terms and conditions

The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres ("CAO-onderzoeksinstellingen"). The gross monthly salary, for a Research Assistant on a full time basis, is €2672,- during the first year.

Employees are also entitled to a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8,33%. CWI offers attractive working conditions, including flexible scheduling and help with housing for expat employees.


Applications can be sent before 25th May 2018 to All applications should include a detailed resume, motivation letter, list of your MSc courses and grades, copy of your Master’s thesis and preferably a list of publications.

For more information about the vacancy, please contact prof. dr. Roeland Merks, email, telephone +31(0)20 592 4117.

For more information about CWI, please visit More information about the group can be found on Or watch our video  “A Fundamental Difference” about working at CWI.

About Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) is the Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science and is part of the Institutes Organisation of NWO. The mission of CWI is to conduct pioneering research in mathematics and computer science, generating new knowledge in these fields and conveying it to trade, industry, and society at large.

CWI is an internationally oriented institute, with 160 scientists from approximately 27 countries. The facilities are first-rate and include excellent IT support, career planning, training, and courses.

CWI is located at Science Park Amsterdam that is presently developing into a major location of research in the natural sciences in The Netherlands, housing the sciences of the University of Amsterdam and of the Vrije Universiteit as well as several other national research institutes next to CWI.