Postdoctoral Researcher Modelling Drought-Human Dynamics in the Context of Climate Services

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands 🇳🇱

  • Job area: Postdoc
  • Educational Level: Postdoc
  • VU unit: Faculty of Science
  • Contract type: Temporary
  • Minimum FTE: 0.8
  • Minimum salary scale: €3,226 (scale 10)
  • Maximum salary scale: €5,090 (scale 10)

Are you interested in modelling the feedback between droughts and society? Do you want to contribute to advancing our understanding on the effect of short-term adaptation strategies on long-term dynamics to achieve a resilient future? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 0.8 – 1


Understanding the feedback between drought and society is of pivotal importance for achieving a resilient future and avoid possible lock-ins and maladaptation. While different models have been proposed to represent the human influence on natural water systems, models that formalize the feedback between adaptation actions and water resources (quantity and quality) during drought at different temporal scales are still limited. The Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) of VU Amsterdam has wide expertise on researching systemic interactions between physical and social systems, and has a growing portfolio of research projects and teaching in this field. For this postdoc position, you will join the Department of Water and Climate Risk and closely collaborate with the Department of Environmental Economics.

In this Postdoc position you will develop a system dynamic modelling framework to unravel the interplays and feedbacks between society and drought. In particular, you will investigate how socio-economic conditions and adaptation actions responding to climate services (for instance, sub-seasonal to seasonal drought forecasts) can influence the water system on longer (decadal and climate) time scales. This will allow to unravel how adaptation actions based on climate and water (level and salinity) information can lead to different planning decisions and consequently different drought-resilience pathways.

This position is funded through the European projects ICISK (, which aim to co-produce the next-generation Climate Services that meet the climate information needs of citizens, decision makers and stakeholders at the spatial and temporal scale relevant to them. The work will be carried out at IVM. You will work in close collaboration with the consortium members of ICISK. Our institute values diversity, we therefore especially encourage applications from women and other groups traditionally under-represented in the discipline.

Your duties

  • apply system dynamic models on a ICISK case study for quantifying the interplays between drought  and society
  • investigate the influence of different socio-economic conditions and climate services on the implementation of different short-term adaptation actions and consequent effect on the water system on longer time scales
  • collaborate with other researchers within the ICISK project for the collection and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data needed for the system dynamic model
  • contribute to the deliverables of the ICISK project
  • contribute to our teaching programmes with thesis supervision, course support, and lecturing. These will be agreed on with the successful candidate


  • PhD degree in complex system modelling, environmental sciences, hydrology or similar (preferably with demonstrable affinity with socio-hydrological and water quality modelling)
  • experience with mixed methods approaches for analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data
  • strong networking skills
  • willingness to collaborate in a larger team of researchers and stakeholders from various disciplines involved in the ICISK project
  • strong programming skills in Python, R or MATLAB


A challenging position in a socially involved organisation. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3,226 (scale 10) and a maximum €5,090 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The initial employment contract will affect a period of 2 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package


The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 31,000 students. We employ over 5,000 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
Working at the Faculty of Science means working together with students, PhD candidates and scientists who are focused on their discipline, yet also have a broad view of the world. We are proud of the collegial working environment within the faculty, which is characterised by an ambitious and pragmatic attitude with commitment to the bigger picture. At the Faculty of Science, scientists and students work on fundamental and complex social issues for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, from genetics to pharmaceuticals and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research cover the full breadth of the natural sciences. Scientific teaching and research is highly experimental, technical, computational and interdisciplinary in nature. This is why we collaborate extensively with leading research institutes and industry. The faculty has over 11,000 students studying across 40 educational programmes and employs over 1,600 staff spread over 10 scientific departments, making us the largest science faculty in the Netherlands.

About the institute
Established in 1971, IVM is a leading environmental research institute that is internationally recognised for its high quality research output in a range of environmental disciplines, as well as for its interdisciplinary work. The mission of the institute is to contribute to sustainable development and care for the environment through scientific research and teaching. IVM aims to do excellent problem-oriented research that is useful to a wide range of stakeholders in the Netherlands and internationally. A unique strength of our research is to understand sustainability problems in their social and economic context. IVM’s research community works within four departments: Environmental Economics; Environmental Policy Analysis; Environmental Geography; and Water and Climate Risk. Since 2001 IVM has been part of the Faculty of Science at VU Amsterdam (legal name Stichting VU).

About the department
The department of Water and Climate Risk is a dynamic group of 45 international researchers, faculty members and PhD students within the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM). Explicit attention is given to the interaction between the hydrological and climate systems, and how these interactions lead to risk to society, the economy, and the environment. The focus is on water and climate extremes such as floods and droughts, to estimate impacts from these extremes on various economic sectors, and to examine which strategies can be developed to reduce impacts and risk. This requires the mapping of climate and water-related hazards, as well as the exposure of people and assets and their vulnerability, and estimating associated costs to reduce risk. Risk management and risk transfer strategies are evaluated in the context of both developed and developing countries. Model simulations, data processing, data assimilation and the integration of economic instruments, such as insurance, are key scientific strengths of the department.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter by 8 October 2023

Submitting a diploma and a reference check are part of the application process.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Dr M. Mazzoleni
Position: Assistent Professor

No agencies





You ad could be here!