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Civil Engineering, PhD Vacancy – Models and tools for designing living dike dynamics, Netherlands 2022

The Netherlands

Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) invites PhD position on Models for living dike dynamics and tools for designing living dike at the Department of Civil Engineering – University of Twente (UT), Netherlands 2022

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General Info

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Research Field: , , ,
Deadline to Apply: Expired
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Qualification Details

  • You are an enthusiastic researcher with an active attitude and broad interests covering coastal dynamics, modelling, biogeomorphological interaction, hydraulic engineering and an affinity with uncertainties.
  • You hold a Master's degree in Civil Engineering, Geosciences (e.g. Physical Geography or Geophysics), Mathematics, Environmental studies or a related field.
  • You have experience in the use of (coastal) numerical models and programming (e.g. Python, Matlab, other) is required, as is a good command of the English language. Non-dutch or non-native English speaking candidates who did not took an English taught MSc need to provide IELTS >= 6.5 or equivalent. Some of the desired skills can be acquired during an individual training program of 840 hours that is part of the PhD project.

You are able to view research from a broader perspective (within the Living Dikes project, the scientific world and towards the practical application) and that you are willing and able to collaborate closely with other researchers in the project and involved users in the team. Therefore, we welcome entrepreneurial candidates with an open mind, strong communicative skills and excellent comprehension of English, in both spoken language and writing.

Responsibilities/Job Description

One of the urgent challenges of our time is to prepare for the inevitable effects of global climate change. In densely populated deltas around the globe, hard structures such as dikes covered with asphalt are commonly used as coastal protection measure. Such structures are static and will not withstand the rising sea levels and increased storminess. In the Netherlands alone, it would cost billions of Euros to heighten these dikes in the coming years. Instead, soft solutions – coastal wetlands – could be placed in front of the dikes and the asphalt could be replaced with grass. Such systems are climate-adaptive as they capture sediments and grow with rising sea level and resilient as they buffer coast against storms by reducing wave-loading. Within the NWO funded research project “Living Dikes”, we aim to develop the know-how and the design tools for realizing living dikes.

In this PhD project, which is embedded in Living Dikes, you will develop models for living dike dynamics and tools to design living dikes. Coastal ecosystems react in a non-linear way to changing boundary conditions, often resulting in unwanted transitions, called tipping points. Model studies have revealed that living dike systems seem to be particularly sensitive to such transitions, because they are the result of a very delicate balance between sedimentation rates and erosion rates, which is governed by hydrodynamic forces and habitat-modifying species. Using idealized and detailed numerical models, you will study the interaction between the dominant ecological, morphological and hydraulic processes in the long-term, identify the role of extremes and uncertainties on the long term biogeomorphological evolution and focus on the dike cover strength against wave impact during storms. Finally, the aim is to develop design tools for resilient living dikes under climate change scenarios. You will present your results at (international) conferences, interact with users and write your findings in journal papers and a PhD thesis.

The Living Dikes project is a collaboration between the Marine and Fluvial Systems (MFS) group at the Department of Civil Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering Technology, the Faculty of Technology, Policy & Management at TU Delft, the Faculty of Civil Engineering at TU Delft, and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). In this PhD-project you will be supervised by a team from the University of Twente, with close collaboration with the involved partners.

How to Apply?

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Documents Required

Your application should include:

  • a cover letter (emphasizing your specific interest, motivation and qualifications).
  • a detailed CV.
  • an academic transcript of B.Sc. and M.Sc. education with grades obtained, a publication list (if applicable).
  • contact details of 2 referees.

The selection procedure will stop and the project will start as soon as possible after a suitable candidate is found. An (online) interview will be part of the selection procedure; the interviews are planned on December 9th and December 16th.

About the Department

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) engages in education and research Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering with a view to enabling society and industry to innovate and create value using sound, efficient and sustainable technology. We are part of a ‘people-first' university of technology, taking our place as an internationally leading centre for smart production, processes and devices in five domains: Health Technology, Maintenance, Smart Regions, Smart Industry and Sustainable Resources. Our faculty is home to some 1,800 Bachelor's and Master's students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates and offers three degree programmes: Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our educational and research programme are closely connected with UT research institutes Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

About the Employer:

Note or Other details

  • A challenging position in an inspiring multidisciplinary and international environment.
  • Four year full-time PhD position, with a qualifier in 6-9 months.
  • Full status as an employee at the UT, including pension and health care benefits.
  • Tailor-made educational program of at least 6 months (30EC), including visits to conferences.
  • A starting salary of €2.434,- gross per month in the first year and increasing to €3.111,- gross per month in the fourth year.
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.
  • You have to be willing to move to (the vicinity of) Enschede. A relocation allowance or temporary housing allowance may be part of the offer.
  • Minimum of 29 holidays per year in case of fulltime employment.
  • We provide excellent mentorship and a stimulating research environment to accelerate your further professional and personal growth.

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Contact details

For more information about the position, you may contact Dr. Jord Warmink (, +31 53 489 2831), Trang Duong (, +31 53 489 4075) or Prof. dr Suzanne Hulscher (, +31 53 489 3546).

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