Postdoc/Junior Researcher (MSc) Dutch Coastline Challenge Research Project


Delft, Netherlands 🇳🇱

Do you have a PhD on Hydraulic Engineering, Physical Geography or a related field? Or do you have MSc degree with a similar background and work experience? For a Postdoc position at Deltares and TU Delft we are searching for a candidate with a track record in morphological research in coastal areas, with great communication skills.

The recently awarded Dutch Coastline Challenge (DCC) project will investigate and support decision making on long term (>10 year) coastal maintenance strategies for the Netherlands that are sustainable on the long term (i.e. beyond 2050). Currently, shoreface nourishments are the main strategy along the majority of the Dutch sandy coast to protect the dunes and hinterland. Over the last decades, this nourishment strategy has been successfully optimized to provide the maximum safety against flooding for the lowest costs. Projected sea level rise, changing weather climates, changing views on (CO2) emissions, dredging contract forms, sediment scarcity and ecology may however very well require alternative beach maintenance strategies in the future. The DCC project with its five interconnected workpackages spread out over different partners (Deltares, Ministry of Public Works, Dredging companies and Delft University of Technology) is focused on advancing to coastal maintenance policy by evaluating concrete examples of alternative sustainable nourishment strategies.

TU Delft Workpackage
The TU Delft workpackage in the project focusses on identifying and evaluating alternative nourishment concepts. Alternatives can be in terms of location, volume, frequency, shape amongst others. Innovations in low-emission dredging technology may induce an increased interest in nourishments higher in the coastal profile. Moreover, the impact of nourishments on beach, surfzone and dredging pit ecology is a topic of discussion. Depending on the ecological species and the form of nourishment, the time scale of recovery can be from months to years and effects may be well beyond the area of the nourishment itself. There are however not many quantitative tools for nature-inclusive design of nourishments yet. Some suggestions have been made for reducing the impact, such as concentrated application to reduce the disturbance area, application in thin layers or creating extra heterogeneity with mosaics, but it is still unclear how these would evolve morphologically and to what extent these alternatives are feasible and applicable to the Dutch situation.
Within work package, various maintenance concepts are compared starting from previous research projects. Various innovative maintenance concepts have been proposed in the recent past which will be assessed for feasibility in collaboration with dredging technology experts in the larger DCC project. We’ll synthesize from previous research (e.g. federal coastal maintenance programs, specialty nourishments (e.g. Sand Engine, outer delta nourishment), water safety projects in practice and over 10 years of ecological nourishment research) to provide an overview of the potential for different strategies. An important part of the work will be to examine morphological and ecological consequences of these concepts with conceptual and numerical model experiments.

Key element of the 2-year project is the close collaboration with the team of the DCC project. In the project we expect regular meetings and exchange of ideas on alternative strategies. This provides an opportunity to connect and collaborate with experts at Deltares, the Ministry of Public Works and the Dutch dredging industry.
The post-doctoral/junior researcher we are recruiting will work in a team with dr. Matthieu de Schipper (TUD), dr. Arjen Luijendijk (Deltares/TUD) and Prof. Stefan Aarninkhof (TUD). This position has a duration of 2 years with a full-time employment. The direct working environment will be at Deltares at the Harbour, Coastal and Offshore Engineering Department and within the department Hydraulic Engineering of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at TU Delft, in collaboration with the Coastal Dynamics group, who is specialized in nourishment science, currently consisting of 3 PhDs, Dr. de Schipper and several MSc/BSc students per year. We ask you to be an active member of the group, collaborating with others to improve the success of the collective. Click here to go to the website of the Faculty. 

What do we expect from you?

  • PhD on Hydraulic Engineering or Physical Geography or a related field. Candidates with a with a similar background having a MSc degree with several years of experience are also welcome to apply.
  • Track record in morphological research in coastal waters.
  • Understanding of the Dutch coastal system and its stakeholders is essential, enabling a rapid integration with the other project partners.
  • Excellent ability to think conceptually and quantitatively.
  • Excellent ability to communicate in English, both orally and in writing. Knowledge of the Dutch language is preferred.
  • Good communication skills and ability to work in a team.
  • Experience in numerical morphological modelling of beaches.
  • Experience or strong affinity with data processing.

What we offer:

  • An informal, dynamic and challenging working environment;
  • Excellent training opportunities;
  • We offer you a 2-year contract at Deltares;
  • Our terms and conditions of employment are in line with the market, with a good pension scheme and 34 vacation days;
  • A mobility budget;

TU Delft (Delft University of Technology)
Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.
Challenge. Change. Impact!

Additional information
For more information about this vacancy and the project you can contact Matthieu de Schipper, Assistant professor, email: [email protected] (after Jan 1st)  and dr. ir. Arjen Luijendijk [email protected]

Application procedure
To apply, please upload your motivation letter (max 1 page), CV and publication list. Make sure to include in your motivational letter (and/or CV) examples of projects in which you successfully demonstrate your skills relevant to this project. Please also mention when you could start.

Applications should be received before Jan 4th 2021. Job interviews will be held on January 11th 2021.
We aim to start this position in February/March 2021.

A pre-employment screening can be part of the application procedure