PhD Physical hydrogeological processes linking land-based pollution and coral reef health in the Dutch Caribbean (SEALINK)

Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen, , NL

We are looking for

The Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management Group at Wageningen University is looking for a PhD student to focus on mapping of groundwater flows and the quantification of the water balance of Curacao and St. Eustatius as part of the SEALINK project ( funded by the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO). SEALINK intends to provide a comprehensive understanding of the relation between land-based pollution and coral reef health in the Dutch Caribbean. A total of 9 PhD positions in varying scientific fields are available within SEALINK including this one at Wageningen University & Research (WUR).

One 4-year PhD position at WUR (advertised here) focusses on physical hydro(geo)logy, and is closely linked to a PhD projected hosted by and supervised from TU Delft focusing on (sub)surface water quality and transport. Both seek to improve the mechanistic understanding of how and to what degree various pollutants (e.g., nutrients, organic micro-pollutants, pathogens, sediments) reach the sea (overland via run-off, underground via groundwater flow, or both). Insights from these projects could ultimately support more effective land and water management options for Caribbean islands. Hence, both PhD students will work closely together during collaborative and extensive field work campaigns (about 3 months every year through CARMABI in Curaçao and CSNI at St. Eustatius). State-of-the-art and novel field measurement methods (e.g., geophysical data collection, tracer tests, and radon isotopes) will provide data to inform (ground)water flow and pollutant transport models.

At WUR you will be mainly supervised by the daily supervisor Dr. Victor Bense (WUR) and be in regular contact with Dr. Boris van Breukelen (TU Delft). Various SEALINK supervisors and collaborators will provide additional specific expertise. Furthermore, TU Delft offers this PhD position.

We ask

  • a relevant Master degree in Hydrogeology/Hydrology, Environmental Sciences, Earth Sciences, or Engineering
  • experience with independently conducting hydro(geo)logical field work, and meteorological data collection
  • willingness to spend considerable time in the Caribbean (3-4 months per year)
  • experience with scientific programming, numerical modelling of groundwater flow and solute transport
  • proficiency in English, and excellent writing skills
  • excellent pro-active communication skills and ability to work well in a team

We offer

We offer excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • paid parental leave;
  • the option to accrue additional 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 requirements.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.395,- per month rising to € 3.061,- 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.

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are plenty of options for personal initiative in an encouraging learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering an outstanding position in an internationally oriented environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.
You will 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 16th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
We are the #1 center for life sciences in the world. 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. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. 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, and other issues.


More information

To learn more about this position, please contact Dr. Victor Bense, Associate Professor in Hydrogeology at the Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management Group, [email protected]

For questions about the procedure, please contact Edgar Tijhuis, corporate recruiter, [email protected]

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. You do not need to upload any other documents than mentioned here.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including 15 March 2021.

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 webpage. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

Our mission 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 find solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 6.500 employees and 12.500 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. A coordinated approach to problems and the cooperation between various subject areas are at the heart of Wageningen’s outstanding approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

These are the points our employees list as good reasons to come work at WUR: read the 5 reasons to come work at WUR

The Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management group is part of the Department of Environmental Sciences. The department’s fundamental research and education concern our living environment: nature, landscape, land use, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, water management, and various competing claims on space.





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