PhD scholarship in Facilitated Modelling for Managing Multiple Stressors Impacting Water Resources – Towards a Policy Decision Support Tool for Mixed Land-use Catchments

, , DK

The Department of Environmental Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Environment) advertises a fully funded 3-year PhD position in water resources engineering and ecohydrological modelling.
This project aims to develop a decision support tool (DST) and associated visual user interface (VUI) that integrates quantitative hydrological modelling with multiple stakeholder interests. To this end, system dynamics simulation will be combined with a facilitated modeling approach to assess current practices and strategies across multiple identified stakeholder groups involved in the various aspects of the complex contamination dynamics found impacting water resources in mixed land-use environments. The project will generate a highly integrative, facilitated policy-making framework; develop a DST/VUI integrating complex hydrologic data with policy criteria for assessing management options in catchments characterized by complex contamination and stakeholder dynamics; and evaluate the transparency and transferability of the framework and tool, with the aim of providing a novel approach for bringing scientists and decision-makers together. The project will be carried out as a collaborative effort between DTU Environment and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IGSNRR). The PhD position will be partly funded by the Sino Danish University Center (SDC).
The PhD student will be placed in the Water Resources Engineering Section. This section, with ca. 30 scientific employees, covers many aspects related to the management, protection and remediation of freshwater in natural settings including surface water (rivers, lakes) and groundwater (shallow, deep aquifers). There is a need for developing methods and tools for managing, monitoring and protecting our water resources. Scientific topics in focus include multiple stressors and decision support tools, hydrogeophysics and data assimilation, land atmosphere interaction, risk assessment of contaminated sites, sustainable remediation, and reactive solute transport in the subsurface. Both computational and experimental studies are conducted and research is done at a variety of scales (both in the lab and in the field), and in collaboration with other research institutes, stakeholders, or end users.

Responsibilities and tasks
The candidate will work as part of a team with scientists from DTU Environment and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Willingness to work in an international environment is essential, which includes a research stay of 9 months in China.

  • The successful candidate will have a strong background in system dynamics simulation research, preferably with a Master degree in System Dynamics; demonstrable experience with system dynamics software (e.g. Vensim; Powersim; Stella) is a prerequisite.
  • Demonstrable experience in policy analysis and development via participatory simulation modelling is essential.
  • The candidate should have a strong interest in engineering applications for SDS research, i.e. the coupling of quantitative and qualitative SDS modelling approaches, which may include the integration of field data within models.
  • Desirable qualifications include a high degree of motivation and the ability to work independently in an interdisciplinary field.
  • Excellent skills in English (oral, written).

The PhD candidate should be able to start at the latest by April 1st, 2018.
Candidates should have a master’s degree in engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master’s degree in engineering.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.
The assessment of the applicants will be made by Assistant Professor Ursula S. McKnight and Professor Poul L. Bjerg.
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 an 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 with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Assistant Professor Ursula S. McKnight, Tel.: +45 4525 1412, email: [email protected],

Please do not send applications to this e-mail address, instead apply online as described below.

You can read more about the department on
Please submit your online application no later than 5 January 2018.
Applications must be submitted as one pdf file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link “Apply online,” fill in 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 (an official translation into English)
  • 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.

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. DTU was recently ranked #7 worldwide in the Shanghai Rankings in Environmental Science & Engineering.

DTU Environment 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 nationalities.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 11,000 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.