PhD scholarship in Water Management and City Development as a response to rising sea levels

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Lyngby, , DK

The Urban Water Systems Section focuses on sustainable management of the urban water systems related to water management under a changing climate. The section has a focus on quantitative assessments of hydrological, economic and sustainability aspects of urban water management.


Rising sea levels is one of the main challenges in relation to climatic changes. Denmark is one of the most vulnerable countries in Europe and new solutions for urban areas must be identified in order to minimize the economic, environmental and social costs and maximize the liveability of the many coastal cities in Denmark and beyond. The PhD-candidate will become part of the team at DTU Environment working on climate change impacts and adaptation. The scholarship is financed by the Realdania project on rising sea levels (—forskning).


Responsibilities and tasks

The PhD candidate will develop and apply a GIS-based model using indicators to describe and assess the resilience of present and future physical layout of the city as a response to key drivers. Drivers will include e.g. sea level rise and other climate change impacts, planning restrictions, and economic development. The response will be described by indicators encompassing resource consumption, ecological and economic developments, social cohesion, and other factors defined in collaboration with the project partners with the intent of defining suitable pathways for adaptation to rising sea levels and highlighting alternatives to protection by means of dikes.


A key element is to develop new and enhance existing quantifiable indicators for sustainable urban development in a changing environment. You will engage in collaboration with the other project partners, notably researchers within architecture and regional planning, and city planners from participating Danish cities. Part of the task is to engage in collaboration with professionals that are not used to working with quantitative assessments and help them translate their knowledge into quantitative indicators that can be assessed over time.


You must have good communication skills and enjoy working in an engineering environment. The main working language is English and therefore good command of English both written and orally is a requirement. Understanding and communicating in a Nordic language is a benefit because collaboration with Danish research partners and stakeholders will be an essential part of the project.


Candidates should have a two-year master’s degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master’s degree in environmental engineering, geography, spatial planning or a related field.


Approval and Enrolment

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.


The assessment of the applicants will be made by the main supervisor and key collaborators.


We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.


Salary and appointment terms

The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.


The main workplace is DTU Lyngby Campus. Travels to case study areas and workshops in Denmark is expected and potentially also an external stay at another research institution.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.
Further information

Further information may be obtained from Ass Prof Roland Löwe, [email protected] or Prof. Karsten Arnbjerg-Nielsen, [email protected].

You can read more about the Department of Environmental Engineering at

Please submit your online application no later than 10 August 2020 (23:59 local time)


Interviews are expected to be held ultimo August or primo September.


Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link “Apply online”, fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master’s degree but cannot begin before having received it.


Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.


DTU Environment is one of the largest university departments specializing in environmental engineering in Europe. The department conducts research and development, and provides educational programs and service to society in the area of engineering of water in natural, urban and industrial contexts, processing and recovery of residual resources, environmental risk assessment and chemical risk reduction. The aim is to develop new environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies, and to disseminate this knowledge to society and a new generation of engineers. The department has approximately 185 staff from more than 30 countries.


Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 11,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.