PhD: Re-use of treated wastewater for irrigation and groundwater recharge: measuring and modelling

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Brussels, Belgium 🇧🇪

1 – Working at the VUB

For already 50 years, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel has stood for freedom, equality and connectedness. These values are strongly present on our campuses, in our students as well as our staff. At the VUB, you’ll find a diverse collection of personalities: pure innovators and especially people who are 100% their authentic selves. With about 3.500 employees, we are the largest Flemish-speaking employer in Brussels, an international city with which we are all too happy to be connected, and around which our four campuses are located.

Our education and research are grounded in the principles of free research with an eye on human progress. We disapprove of every purely authoritative argument and guarantee the free formation of judgement that is necessary for this basic principle to be incorporated in the community.

The VUB is autonomous and managed democratically. As such, we guarantee fundamental freedoms within our university, as well as the right of the university community to be involved in making and checking university policy.

The mission of the university includes:

  • the development, the transfer and the application of high-standing academic education and scientific research, free from any prejudice;
  • community integration of this in a spirit of social compassion;
  • critical development of everyone in light of the responsibilities borne in the community.

2 – Position description

The Faculteit Ingenieurswetenschappen, Department Hydrologie en waterbouwkunde, is looking for a PhD-student with a doctoral grant

More concretely your work package, for the preparation of a doctorate, contains: 

  • You will concentrate your research on “Re-use of treated wastewater for irrigation and groundwater recharge: measuring and modelling the effects on quantity and quality of groundwater”;
  • In this project, you will perform field measurements of groundwater level and quality on a pilot test site where treated wastewater is applied through subirrigation and build a groundwater flow and transport model to simulate groundwater quantity and quality in space and time;
  • You will work in close cooperation with other VUB-departments, the Soil Service of Belgium, Aquafin and Boerennatuur;
  • Your assignment also includes to a limited extent the coordination and supervision of exercises, labs and projects (WPO) in courses on Groundwater Hydrology and/or Groundwater Modelling within the Master Water Resources Engineering and the supervision of master thesis students;
  • Your specific assignment is determined annually in consultation with you;
  • For these WPO sessions, English is the official language;

For this function, our Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering Campus (Elsene) will serve as your home base. 

3 – Profile

What do we expect from you?

  • You have a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering, Water Resources Engineering, Bio-Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Agricultural Engineering, Hydrology, Earth Sciences, Geology or Geography or a diploma recognized as equivalent by competent university authorities;
  • Demonstrable enthusiasm for hydrogeology, groundwater science and modelling is required;
  • Experience with groundwater modelling and aptitude to fieldwork are an added value for this PhD position; 
  • You express yourself fluently in English; 
  • Knowledge of Dutch is an added value for this PhD position;
  • You have a driver’s license;
  • You have a keen interest to conduct research in the field of Groundwater Hydrology and Modelling and the ambition to obtain a PhD in Engineering; 
  • You look forward to transfer your knowledge and insights to students at Master level with great enthusiasm; 
  • You have not performed any works in the execution of a mandate as an assistant, paid from operating resources, over a total (cumulated) period of more than 12 months.

4 – Offer

Are you going to be our new colleague?

You’ll be offered a full-time PhD-scholarship, for 12 months (extendable up to max. 48 months, on condition of the positive evaluation of the PhD activities), with planned starting date 15/11/2021

You’ll receive a grant linked to one of the scales set by the government.

IMPORTANT: The effective result of the doctorate scholarship is subject to the condition precedent of your enrolment as a doctorate student at the university.

At the VUB, you’re guaranteed an open, involved and diverse workplace where you are offered opportunities to (further) build on your career.

As well as this, you’ll enjoy various benefits:

  • Full reimbursement for your home-work commute with public transport according to VUB-policy, or compensation if you come by bike;
  • Cost-free hospitalisation insurance;
  • The space to form your job content and continuously learn via VUB LRN;
  • Excellent facilities for sport and exercise;
  • Ecocheques;
  • Delicious meals at attractive prices in our campus restaurants;
  • An open, family-friendly work environment where attention is paid to work-life balance, and exceptional holiday arrangements with 35 days of leave (based on a fulltime contract). 

5 – Interested?

Is this the job you’ve been dreaming of?

Send us ONLINE and at latest on 12/10/2021 your CV, letter of motivation and the highest degree you’ve attained (not applicable for VUB alumni).

Do you have questions about the job content? Contact Marijke Huysmans at [email protected] or on 02/6293039.

Would you like to know what it’s like to work at the VUB? Go to and find all there is to know about our campuses, benefits, strategic goals and your future colleagues.