PhD on improving global hydrological understanding by combining global models and observations

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

Delft, , NL

Faculty Civil Engineering and Geosciences

The Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) provides leading international research and education, with innovation and sustainability as central themes. Research and education are closely interwoven and address societal challenges. The Faculty consists of 7 departments: Materials Mechanics Management, Engineering Structures, Geoscience and Engineering , Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Transport & Planning, Hydraulic Engineering and Watermanagement.

The mission of the Water Management Department  is to perform innovative research and provide education on societal relevant themes related to the hydrological and urban water cycle. Aspects of the research concern understanding water availability and water use, as well as water quality, treatment and transport. The research themes include decision-making in water-related issues such as flood control, drought mitigation, water quality management and ecosystem management.

The Water Resources Section has an outstanding international research reputation and is very well embedded in both the national and international research community and networks such as IAHS, AGU and EGU. A significant part of the research is done in strong collaboration with national and international research institutes and industry partners. The Section is an international working environment with many expert staff members at the forefront of their research in water resources and hydrology. There is a lively community of PhD students, providing an excellent scientific environment.

Job description

A hill in the east of the Netherlands and a hill in the south of England might look the same, yet hydrologically they behave very differently. Local knowledge is essential in both understanding and predicting hydrologic behavior. This “curse of locality” is what makes geosciences in general and hydrology in particular hard and interesting at the same time.

Hydrological understanding of the world, encoded in hydrological models, is instrumental in our understanding of the Earth system as well as in our ability to predict floods, droughts and other extreme events. Yet, global models used for, among other things, flood forecasting and climate impact studies do not include detailed local knowledge that might be available.

During your PhD you will work with a team of e-engineers from the Netherlands eScience Center within the eWaterCycle II project. In this project a set of computational tools will be developed to allow the hydrological community to compare, couple, and integrate models. You will be instrumental in the development of the tools as well as the first user to apply them to answer your own hydrological science questions. You will combine the world of local and global hydrologists to answer the open questions neither of them can answer alone.


A successful candidate requires a master’s degree in hydrology, water resources, meteorology, data-analytics, big-data, or a related field with a strong focus on modelling and data analysis skills. The PhD candidate should be prepared and motivated to explore different areas and acquire knowledge and skills outside his or her main field. The selection among the eligible candidates will be based on the following:

– Three works (see below) you have produced and which you would like to discuss during a possible interview.

– Passion and persistence for doing research

– Affinity with modelling, statistics and data analysis

– Programming skills (e.g., Python, R)

– Oral and written communication skills

– Enthusiasm to engage with both the academic community as well as the broader public

Conditions of employment

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

Information and application

For information about this vacancy, you can contact Rolf Hut, Assistant Professor.

To apply please send us the following documents:

(1) Short motivation letter (maximum 1.5 page) covering your research interests and relevant experience. 

(2) Curriculum Vitae, including names, email address and telephone number of 1-2 references.

(3) Copies of academic qualifications

(4) List of courses followed and acquired grades

(5) A list of three works that you are personally proud of and want to discuss in an possible job interview. These can be academic articles, newspaper interviews, your thesis, outreach activities, online videos or anything else you deem relevant.

Send your application to [email protected]. When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number CiTG18.12.

Deadline for the application is 20th April 2018, 17.00 CET.