PhD Position on Quantifying Drought Impacts on Water Resource using Large-Ensemble Simulations and Machine Learning

Utrecht University

Netherlands

 

Job Description

The Department of Physical Geography and Rijkswaterstaat are searching for a PhD candidate with the aim to improve our understanding of future drought impacts on water resources with a focus on the Netherlands. The project will make use of the latest development in climate and hydrological modelling and will be executed in close collaboration with our partners, the Dutch meteorological service (KNMI) and Deltares.

Drought is a major natural hazard, caused by lack of water in precipitation, soil moisture, groundwater or rivers. The 2018 drought in Western Europe showed that the impact of this hydrological extreme can be diverse and severe. The Dutch National Water Authority (Rijkswaterstaat) is responsible for the water management in the major river system of the Netherlands and wants to update their water management tools to improve drought preparedness in the future. The current hydrological models used by Rijkswaterstaat do not allow for rapid analyses needed for adaptive and flexible water management, making it difficult to use these tools for drought impacts assessment over the Netherlands.

You will make use of new developments in climate science, machine learning, big data analysis and hydrological modelling to improve our knowledge related to adaptive water management during extreme drought, now and in the future. The PhD project aims to develop methods to correctly quantify drought impacts (e.g. water shortages, land-subsidence rates and salt-water intrusion), using large-ensemble climate simulations to link meteorological and climate phenomena to hydrological drought impacts at the relevant resolutions and spatial extent. These methods should be efficient and able to use existing information to improve adaptive water management in the near future, to better deal with extreme droughts.

You will work in a multi-disciplinary team with a focus on fundamental research in climate change, hydrology and hydrological extremes. There will be ample opportunity to cooperate with researchers in the team, which include, in addition to Utrecht University, partners from Rijkswaterstaat, KNMI, Deltares and Wageningen University. Principle appointment will be at Utrecht University, but it is expected that you will work in close collaboration with the partners at different institutes.


Qualifications

We are looking for candidates with:

  • an MSc in Earth Sciences, Hydrology, Civil Engineering or a related field;
  • affinity with numerical modelling;
  • willingness to work at the interface of academia and application-driven research;
  • the ability to work in teams;
  • excellent English oral and writing skills; you should be able to demonstrate excellent English language proficiency. We require a qualification English at C1 level (comparable to level 3 of the Lecturer Assessment Grid) or you should be willing to obtain this level by training.
  • preferably basic Dutch oral skills or a willingness to master the Dutch language

Offer

The candidate is offered a full-time position for four years, with an evaluation after one year. The gross monthly salary with a full-time appointment will amount to €2,325.- in the first year and to €2,972,- in the fourth (P-scale of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities). The salary is supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8,3% per year. In addition we offer: a pension scheme, a partially paid parental leave, flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities. The candidate is expected to work approximately half of his/her time at TNO-GSN. The office of TNO-GSN is located at the UU University Campus. The research group and TNO-GSN will provide the candidate with necessary support on all aspects of the project.  For further information: working at Utrecht University


About the Organization

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, colleagues from various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Sustainability, Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, and Life Sciences.

Utrecht University has been ranked in the 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities as the best university in the Netherlands, and as one of the leading research universities in Europe. Utrecht University's sustainability research has the greatest citation impact worldwide according to a study conducted by Times Higher Education (2016). The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old centre and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht has been consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the Netherlands.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth – always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The Department of Physical Geography has the ambition to excel in research and education on BSc, MSc and PhD level. Its research focuses on processes, patterns and dynamics of Earth’s continental and coastal systems, and on the interaction between these processes. This knowledge is essential for the sustainable management of our planet and to guarantee the availability of resources for the next generations.


Additional Information

For further information about the vacancy, please contact Dr. Ir. N. Wanders (n.wanders@uu.nl) or Prof. Dr. Ir. M.F.P. Bierkens (m.f.p.bierkens@uu.nl).


Apply

To apply you can click on the button below. Applications should include a motivation for the application, curriculum vitae, and the names of at least two referees (with e-mail contact addresses and phone numbers). Applications should be sent by September 15, 2019. The exact date of the interview will be decided at a later stage.


In your application, please refer to Professorpositions.com

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