Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, is the largest natural history museum in the Netherlands, with a unique collection of huge scientific and cultural value. It provides a key for scientists and the general public to open the door to the rich biodiversity of the Netherlands. Our collections, comprising more than 42 million objects, are part of an international network of biodiversity research and knowledge institutes. With over 120 researchers, Naturalis has the latest and innovative research facilities. In addition to research, Naturalis also provides educational activities for students from different universities.


Naturalis Biodiversity Center is presently seeking a

Project manager for innovation projects

36 hours a week (full time)


The Distributed System of Scientific Collections (DiSSCo) is a new pan-European Research Infrastructure (RI) with the vision to place European natural science collections at the centre of data-intensive scientific excellence and innovation for taxonomic and environmental research, food security, health, and the bioeconomy. DiSSCo brings together 115 museums across 21 European countries to unify and serve genomic, geographical, morphological and taxonomic knowledge for the 1.5 billion physical objects held in European collections. The new RI introduces a step change by massively improving the way scientists discover, access and analyse complex and previously disjoined information deriving from the study of the vast European natural science collections. DiSSCo embarks on a complex preparation and construction programme. The programme is executed through a series of innovation, consolidation and construction projects across multiple European stakeholders.

Naturalis is spearheading the coordination of DiSSCo, with a dedicated to international biodiversity infrastructures department. The department undertakes a series of other infrastructure innovation projects and aims to lead internationally in the area of biodiversity digital science and infrastructures.  


What will you do?

As part of your responsibilities your role will include the following functions:

  1. Formally manage the implementation of multi-million, multi-partner international project(s), using efficient project management tools and procedures, ensuring the communication with and between partners, contributing to the alignment of projects according to the wider DiSSCo strategy and invoking risk mitigation procedures when necessary;

  2. Come up with and develop new ideas that could lead to the novel partnerships (incl. with other Research Infrastructures, technical partners and the industry) towards submitting funding proposals under the umbrella of the DiSSCo preparation and construction programme;

  3. Follow closely infrastructure, policy and wider technological advances in wider community, including natural sciences and biodiversity & geodiversity data management practices and collections digitisation;

  4. Represent DiSSCo and actively participate in major stakeholders’ forums, including RDA, TDWG, GBIF, CoL and others as well as workshops and international meetings;

  5. Work closely with the participation and engagement officers in the DiSSCo office contributing to the development of ideas for national and European funding proposals.

This is a key position to the future development of the DiSSCo Research Infrastructure.As a project manager, you will be also called to manage and contribute intellectually to DiSSCo-linked projects and especially the DiSSCo preparatory phase project (expected to start late 2019). As an innovation manager you will be acting in capacity that includes the roles of an idea finder and manager, innovation scout and funding manager.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for an experienced, innovative project manager to lead on the development of project proposals and the management of research and innovation projects, as part of a wider portfolio of European activities. Our working language is English.

Hence, to fulfill the responsibilities, the successful candidate will have the following skills:

  • Have a solid understanding of the open science/data landscape (R);

  • Have proven experience in leading or managing complex international science innovation or infrastructure projects (R);

  • Hold an advanced university degree, preferably in natural or life sciences (R);

  • Have some experience working in cultural or scientific organisations, preferably in the area of natural sciences (D);

  • Have a good understanding of the European Research Infrastructures landscape (incl. ESFRI) (D);

  • Have experience working in distributed work environments (D);

  • Be able to travel internationally (more than 10% of work time) (R);  

  • Be self-motivated and happy to complete tasks with minimum supervision (R);

  • Think in an innovative and disruptive manner and able to articulate novel ideas clearly and in context (R);

  • Speak English fluently and willing to work in an english-speaking environment (R).

(R): Required qualification

(D): Desirable qualification


What we offer

This is a unique opportunity to contribute to the development of a transformative for natural science new Research Infrastructure, develop leadership skills in a highly dynamic and promising career path in e-science infrastructures and biodiversity/geodiversity data management.

You will be positioned in Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, the Netherlands in the Department for International Biodiversity Infrastructures and report to the head of the Department and Coördinator of DiSSCo. We offer a one year contract, which can be extended for one year pending performance evaluation and funding availability.

As an employee of Naturalis the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Museums will be applicable to you. All our employees are incorporated into a pension fund. Naturalis Biodiversity Center promotes gender equality and wants to enhance the diversity of staff members. We offer a gross salary of
max € 4.366,- a month (scale 11 of the Collective Labour Agreement) and an additional 8% holiday allowance and 3,15% end-of-year bonus. Incoming international employees could benefit (depending on conditions and tax regulations) from significant government tax relief (30% ruling) for a set number of years.

Application procedure and further information

Enquiries concerning the position can be addressed to Wouter Addink (, Coordinator Research-data and E-infrastructure and to Dimitris Koureas, head of the Department and Coordinator of DiSSCo ( For information concerning the procedure or HR issues please contact the HR department (071-751 9191).

Interested in the job? Applicants are invited to submit their application, including a cover letter and CV using het Sollicitatieformulier (application form) before 15 January 2019.

Interviews for the position are expected to take place last week of January 2019.

No (recruitment) agencies please.

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