Tenure-track position assistant professor in data driven water-climate risk modelling

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Amsterdam, , NL

Do you want to make a contribution to sustainable management of natural resources and work in a team of outstanding water and climate scientists? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 0.8 – 1

Job description

The tenure track candidate is expected to work as an assistant professor in the Department of Water and Climate Risk of the Institute of Environmental Studies (IVM). Over time, the tenure track candidate will write innovative proposals to acquire external funds, thereby establishing a personal research domain within the field of data-driven risk modelling in the area of water and climate. The candidate is expected to develop unique expertise in risk modelling using machine learning, statistics, and other data-driven techniques, and integrate these in water and climate risk models. The candidate will integrate IVM research with activities at our key partners KNMI and Deltares and further develop our international collaborations. Interdisciplinary science is central to our research, and the candidate is expected to bridge physically-based climate and water science to societal risk assessments, including long-term projections of climate change and socio-economic trends.
Besides research, the candidate will be responsible for teaching at Bachelor and Master levels within the field of water and climate risk. In principle, teaching and research are strongly linked, allowing for mutual cross-fertilization. Earth science-oriented field work is also part of the teaching program. While collaborating closely with colleagues within the Water and Climate Risk department, the candidate is also expected to engage in broader sustainability teaching programs and cooperate in interdisciplinary research working together with other scientific disciplines, such as economics, geography, ecology, hydrology and climatology. The candidate should have excellent programming skills, experience with machine learning and statistics, and have experience with water, climate or risk models. The candidate should show academic leadership, maintain a high publication output, and raise competitive research funding. On the longer term, the candidate is expected to build up a research line around her/his field of expertise. The candidate will co-supervise PhD candidates and several MSc students.

Your duties

  • develop your own research domain in data-driven water-climate risk modelling
  • write research proposals for external funding
  • teach and supervise BSc and MSc student projects
  • recruit and co-supervise PhD researchers
  • conduct innovative research
  • fulfil limited managerial duties


  • have a PhD degree in earth sciences, climate,  geography, or water sciences (or similar) and have key expertise in data processing and machine learning
  • experience with agent-based modelling or scenario-based methods are an advantage
  • have  experience in academic teaching and a strong publication record
  • strong willingness to work in an interdisciplinary environment and able to bridge between disciplines

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organisation. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3,637 (scale 11)
and a maximum €4,978 (scale 11), 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 desired starting date is 1 September 2020 (depending on the Corona developments). We offer a tenure track, initially for the duration of 6 years. The starting level and the end goal of the tenure track position depends on the CV, experience and performance of the candidate. We offer a position starting as Assistant Professor level 2 (salary scale 11) with as end goal a permanent contract as Assistant Professor level 1 (salary scale 12).
Within an agreed period tenure could be achieved if the faculty criteria for assistant professor are fulfilled. During the tenure, the performance will be evaluated in terms of teaching, publication record, and acquisition of prestigious personal grants or equivalent project funding. After a successful evaluation permanent employment will be granted.

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 
  • contribution to commuting expenses 
  • good growth opportunities
  • good paid parental leave scheme
  • child daycare facilities available on campus

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

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 endeavour – 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 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 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
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

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 Geography, Environmental Policy Analysis, and Water and Climate Risk. Since 2001 IVM has been part of the Faculty of Science at Vrije Universiteit 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 candidates within the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM). Key research partners are KNMI and Deltares. 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, but also other hazards (wind, hail, forest fires) 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, cover letter describing your abilities and motivation and two letters of recommendation before 1 June 2020.

Due to COVID-19 the first interviews will be done online and we might need to postpone the last interview round till it’s possible to have a face-to-face meeting. Don’t let COVID-19 get in the way of a great opportunity to work for the VU! We’re looking forward to receiving your application

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: Prof. Jeroen Aerts
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.ivm.vu.nl:

Relocation support      
If you have any questions regarding moving to Amsterdam, and working at VU Amsterdam, you may contact:
Name: Wytske Siegersma      
Position: Relocation Advisor     
E-mail: [email protected]
Telephone: +31 20 59 8503





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development