PhD Position Nourishment Hydrodynamics and Sediment Transport (SOURCE) – TU Delft – Delft

  • Delft

TU Delft

Job description

The department of Hydraulic Engineering (Civil Engineering and Geosciences) is looking for a PhD candidate as part of the large SOURCE research project. SOURCE stands for Sand nourishment strategies for sustainable Coastal Ecosystems. The SOURCE philosophy is that carefully planned sand nourishments now will create the required and desired resilient and dynamic multifunctional coastal landscapes of the future.

Sand nourishment has been essential in the Dutch government’s strategy to sustainably maintain flood protection levels along the Dutch coast for more than 30 years. Nourishment volumes are projected to increase to keep up with the expected acceleration in sea level rise. Currently, however, there is a lack of fundamental knowledge on how the nourished sand finds its way through the coastal system, and what the long-term, cumulative effects are for the coast as an ecosystem. For instance, we know that beaches that are nourished with sand in the nearshore are eroding less, but which sediment is accumulating on the landward beach is still unknown. Likewise it is still unknown which hydrodynamic and sediment transport processes dominate in the vicinity of a nourishment.

In its entirety, the SOURCE research team will deliver the scientific knowledge, models and design tools to develop and evaluate nourishment strategies in a multi-stakeholder co-creation process. Our Living Labs are two sand nourishments along the Dutch coast. These will be co-designed, monitored and evaluated by the SOURCE consortium (in particular the 12 PhD and postdoc researchers at 8 academic institutes in total) in collaboration with 25 partners from government organizations, research institutes, nature organizations and industry.

Position at Delft University of Technology:

As part of the SOURCE project, the PhD candidate at Delft University of Technology will examine the morphological development of shoreface nourishments. Understanding the hydrodynamics and sediment transport are key in this research. You will therefore use state-of-the-art field equipment and strategic numerical modelling to unravel the physical processes shaping nourishments. This will ultimately contribute to the robustness of (Dutch) sandy coasts to climate change and the safety of its people against flood hazards.

You will:

  1. Plan, execute and analyse field observations at a nourished beach to better understand the impact of nourishments on the hydrodynamics, sediment transport, and morphological evolution.
  2. Use strategic modelling to predict coastal sediment pathways at recently nourished beaches and the origin of sediment accumulated in the lee side.
  3. Combine data and findings of multiple nourishment projects to show the link between engineering design and coastal settings on the nourishment performance. This step will require you to collaborate with government and industry partners (abroad).
  4. Collaborate with academic partners in the SOURCE project to translate quantitative metrics of physical beach response to ecological and socio-economic impacts.

At TU Delft, you will be part of the Coastal Engineering section where we combine research on hydrodynamics, morphodynamics, and human interventions to the coast using numerical modelling and field measurements. You will primarily work with Matthieu de Schipper and Stuart Pearson, embedded within a larger ecosystem of research partners.


Required conditions are:

  • Master of Science (MSc) in a relevant field, e.g. Civil or Environmental Engineering, Earth Science, Physics, Physical Geography.
  • Excellent communication skills (written and oral), including proficiency in English. Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the .

In addition:

  • You have demonstrated an affinity for and a strong interest in doing fieldwork and numerical modelling, coding (Matlab or Python), data analysis, and critical thinking
  • You follow your curiosity and enjoy cross-pollinating different research fields, e.g. sediment dynamics, numerical modelling and biogeomorpological interactions. Enjoy a long day of working on the beach!
  • You work well in teams, supporting and leading your colleagues and MSc/BSc students, and demonstrate inclusive values towards building a diverse research community.
  • You are enthusiastic to share your ideas and findings via scientific papers, presentations at (inter)national conferences and where possible with a wider public. 
  • You like to finish what you start, and can balance perfectionism with pragmatism.

Conditions of employment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to €   3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

T he TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. 

For international applicants, TU Delft has the   . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a    for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

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 as one of our core  and we actively  to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

Faculty Civil Engineering & Geosciences

The Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences (CEG) is committed to outstanding international research and education in the field of civil engineering, applied earth sciences, traffic and transport, water technology, and delta technology. Our research feeds into our educational programmes and covers societal challenges such as climate change, energy transition, resource availability, urbanisation and clean water. Our research projects are conducted in close cooperation with a wide range of research institutions. CEG is convinced of the importance of open science and supports its scientists in integrating open science in their research practice. The Faculty of CEG comprises 28 research groups in the following seven departments: Materials Mechanics Management & Design, Engineering Structures, Geoscience and Engineering, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Transport & Planning, Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management.

Click  to go to the website of the Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences.

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