PhD Researcher Global Groundwater Sustainability

Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen, Netherlands 🇳🇱

Your job

Are you interested in global water and sustainability challenges related to both water quantity and quality? Do you want to work with large scale numerical models? This PhD position might be what you are looking for!
The demand for water is increasing due to population growth and socio-economic development. At the same time water availability is changing due to climate change, overextraction of ground and surface water, and water pollution. To examine these issues, this PhD project will address the question: will there be enough clean groundwater to satisfy human and environmental demands? The PhD candidate will do an in-depth assessment of impacts and limitations of current and future groundwater use, considering both water quantity and quality criteria.

Your main task will be to integrate the water quantity and quality modelling approaches currently used in the Water Systems and Global Change Group. You will develop a water quality component into the coupled VIC-WOFOST-MODFLOW model that is currently being developed at our research group. Using the model, you will assess the impact of human water use on groundwater availability and quality. In addition, you will do in depth assessments of the trade-offs between saving enough groundwater to maintain healthy terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and other water uses and provide solutions to reduce and prevent negative environmental impacts of groundwater use now and in the future.

Your qualities

  • A completed (or about to be completed) MSc degree in Hydrology, Environmental Science, Earth Sciences, or related field;
  • An interest in and knowledge of water quantity and quality;
  • Interested in working on global water and sustainability problems;
  • Demonstrated enthusiasm for working with large datasets and large-scale numerical modelling in context of global change;
  • Experience with or willingness to learn scripting and programming (e.g., Python, R, C++);
  • Affinity for working with numerical modelling
  • Willingness to work in multidisciplinary teams;

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.

We offer you

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.541,- per month rising to € 3.247,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.
There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.
You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “ Best University ” in the Netherlands for the 18th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.
Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.
Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research’s International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling. For instance under the “30% rule”, certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.

Do you want more information?

For more information about this position, please contact Fulco Ludwig, Professor and Chair of Water Systems and Global Change, Email:
For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, Corporate Recruiter, Email:

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly by uploading your CV and motivation letter, using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.
This vacancy will be listed up to and including 13th March ‘23 . We aim to schedule the first job interviews in the third week of March ‘23

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information, please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

Wageningen University & Research
The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.
Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!
We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development