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dr. Niels de Winter

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science, Earth Sciences

Personal information

As a paleoclimatologist, interested in reconstructions of past climates, I conduct research at the interface of geology, chemistry and biology. The main aim of my research is to improve the methods we have for reconstructing climate in the geologic past in high detail. Examples of such high-resolution climate reconstructions include reconstructions of seasonality and decadal variability in climate over long timescales (in "deep time"). Fossil bioarchives such as mollusk shells record changes in the environment in which the animal grew at this fine detail, and therefore form ideal archives for these reconstructions.

In my research, I combine detailed analyses of microstructures and chemistry in these fossils as well as in modern organisms to learn more about how the chemistry of these bioarchives records environmental conditions, and how we can use these fossils for accurate reconstructions of high-resolution paleoclimate.

In addition, I also strife to improve analytical methods that enable us to measure chemical variability in bioarchives with high precision and accuracy. These methods include stable and clumped isotope analysislaser ablation ICP-MS and micro X-Ray Fluorescence.



  • Eos Pipet Award 2021, Eos & Belgian Young Academy
  • Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award 2021, European Geosciences Union (EGU)
  • Steven Cohen Award for Student Research 2017, Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology.

Research Grants

  • NIOZ-UU collaboration grant 2021: Extreme midlatitude seasonality in a hothouse climate? (co-PI, 4 years PhD project)
  • FWO Junior Postdoctoral Fellowship 2019: 12ZB220N: Improving the accuracy of techniques of high-resolution seasonal-scale climate reconstructions from bivalve shells (PI, 3 years postdoc)
  • Marie Curie (MSCA) Individual Fellowship 2018: UNBIAS: Unravelling BIvAlve Shell chemistry: Advanced Techniques for Accurate Reconstructions of Sub-annual Climate (PI, 2 years postdoc)
  • FWO Instrument & Infrastructure grant 2017: IO10218N: A walk on the wild side of stable isotope biogeochemistry (co-PI)
  • IWT (now FWO) Strategic Basic Research Fellowship 2014: IWT700 Sub annual cyclicity in modern and palaeoclimate archives: Resolving seasonality in deep time (PI, 4 year PhD fellowship)


  • MSc Earth. Life and Climate | Utrecht University | 2011-09-01 - 2013-10-30
  • BSc Earth Sciences | Utrecht University | 2008-09-01 - 2011-07-30


  • FWO postdoctoral fellowship  | Vrije Universiteit Brussel | 2019-10-01 - 2022-09-30
  • MSCA postdoctoral fellowship | Utrecht University | 2020-04-01 - 2022-03-31
  • Visiting researcher | University of Mainz | 2020-09-01 - 2020-12-20
  • PhD paleoclimatology | Vrije Universiteit Brussel | 2014-02-01 - 2019-02-26

VU Amsterdam courses

  • Statistics & Data Analysis (2022 - present; lecturer)
  • Biogeosciences (2022 - present; lecturer)

Utrecht University courses

  • Paleoceanography & Climate Variability (2022; co-ccordinator & redesign)
  • Astronomical Climate Forcing and Time Series (2020-2021; teaching assistant)
  • Stable isotopes in Earth Sciences (2020-2022; teaching assistant)
  • BSc fieldwork (2021; instructor)

Vrije Universiteit Brussel courses

  • Introduction to Geology (2014-2022; assistant lecturer and teaching assistant)
  • Environmental Chemistry (2017-2021; assistant lecturer)
  • Instrumental Analytical Chemistry (2017-2019; assistant lecturer)
  • Origin of life and paleontological evolution (2018-2022; assistant lecturer)
  • Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (2020 - present; assistant lecturer)
  • MSc field trip inpact cratering (2016-2019; assisting instructor)
Ancillary activities
  • Vlaams Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek / Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Brussel | Medewerker | 2022-09-01 - 2024-10-01

Ancillary activities are updated daily

dr. Niels de Winter