Tenure Track Position: Assistant Professor in Hydroclimatic and Societal Interactions and Data Science

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Amsterdam, , NL

The tenure track candidate is expected to work as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Water and Climate Risk (WCR) of the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM).
Interdisciplinary science is central to our research, and you are expected to bridge natural water sciences to societal water risk assessments, including long-term projections of climate change and socio-economic trends. We are, therefore, seeking an expert with a strong modelling background, but with clear experience in bridging hydrology to societal impacts and feedbacks. Over time, the tenure track will establish a personal research domain within the field of socio-hydrological modelling, with a focus on feedbacks between (future) water-climate extremes (e.g. droughts) and human responses. Furthermore, you are expected to develop unique expertise in data processing using machine learning and statistics, and integrate these with hydrological models and agent-based approaches to solve questions on the complex interactions and feedbacks of systemic water-climate-risk such as droughts. You will seek for cooperation between IVM and our key partners Deltares, PBL and KNMI. You will write innovative proposals to acquire external funds to support the new research niche at the department.
Besides research, you will be responsible for teaching at Bachelor and Master levels within the field of water and climate risk. At WCR, teaching and research are strongly linked, allowing for mutual cross-fertilization. Earth science-oriented fieldwork is also part of the teaching programme. While collaborating closely with colleagues within the field of water and climate risk, you are also expected to engage in broader sustainability teaching programmes and cooperate in interdisciplinary research working together with other scientific disciplines, such as economics, governance, geography, ecology, hydrology and climatology. You should have excellent programming skills (preferably Python), preferably experience with socio-hydrological models and data processing. You should show academic leadership, maintain a high publication output, and raise competitive research funding. On the longer term, you are expected to build up a research line around your field of expertise. You will co-supervise PhD candidates, and several MSc students.

Your duties

  • develop your own research domain in socio-hydrological modelling and data processing
  • write research proposals for external funding
  • teach and supervise BSc and MSc student projects
  • recruit and co-supervise PhD candidates
  • conduct innovative research
  • fulfil limited managerial duties


  • have a PhD degree in hydrology, earth sciences, physical geography (or similar) and have key expertise in socio-hydrology, agent-based modelling, data processing, machine learning, risk assessment
  • have strong (python) programming skills
  • have strong quantitative modelling skills
  • have experience in leading projects in water-climate risk assessment
  • experience with risk modelling is an advantage
  • have experience in academic teaching
  • since some of teaching programmes are only provided in Dutch, speaking Dutch or willingness to learn Dutch is required.


A challenging position in a socially involved organisation. On full-time basis the remuneration for an Assistant Professor amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3,746 (scale 11) and a maximum €5,127 (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 2021, or earlier if possible. 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 your CV, experience and performance. 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
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses


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 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 recognized 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 Sciences at the VU University Amsterdam (legal name Stichting VU-VUmc).

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 by May 2, 2021.

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
Position: Head of department Water and Climate Risk
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: Sara Veldhorst
Position: Relocation Officer
E-mail: [email protected]
Telephone: +31 20 59 86212





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