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  3. PhD: Morphology of Tidal Flats – Interaction of Scales

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PhD: Morphology of Tidal Flats – Interaction of Scales

Deltas, under pressure from climate change and increasing human activities, are undergoing transitions in their abiotic and biotic systems. Especially when …

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Stevinweg, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
32 - 40 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


Deltas, under pressure from climate change and increasing human activities, are undergoing transitions in their abiotic and biotic systems. Especially when the pressures exceed certain thresholds substantial or even irreversible changes (i.e. regime shifts) can take place. The transitions of deltas are complex as human impacts operate on a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, while internal buffers and processes in the systems also set specific reaction time scales. Identifying how processes at different spatial scales, involving physical and biological mechanisms and their interaction, shape the resilience of estuarine systems will be adamant to understand and optimize the adaptive capacity of estuaries in an uncertain future.

An extensive research program is set up to identify and determine the relevant thresholds, regimes and time scales, and to explore measures for coping with the transitions. Delft University of Technology is intensively collaborating with State Key Laboratory for Estuaries and Coasts (SKLEC) in Shanghai and Dutch partner Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) in Yerseke.

This PhD project focuses on tidal flats and aims to unravel the mechanisms responsible for small-scale morphological features (like tidal creeks) on these tidal flats. Furthermore, we want to determine the interaction between these small-scale features and the larger scale morphology. We will do this by (1) carrying out field campaigns in the Dutch systems, but also in collaboration with the Chinese partners, in the Chinese systems; (2) high resolution numerical modelling with Delft3D and XBeach.


We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a Master's degree in the field of Coastal Engineering, Physical Geography, Environmental Engineering or related field. A solid background in the dynamics of tides, waves and morphology is asked for. The ideal candidate would: (1) have a keen interest in doing fundamental research, which can be translated into applicable knowledge; (2) be highly motivated to collaborate with the Chinese and Dutch partners, implying staying (short) periods in Shanghai and Yerseke; (3) be capable of planning and organising his/her own fieldwork on tidal flats in the Netherlands; (4) be skilled to apply and improve numerical models. Communication skills and an open, collaborative attitude are essential in this multidisciplinary project. Good English speaking and writing skills are demanded.      


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 http://www.tudelft.nl/phd for more information.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact dr.ir. B.C. van Prooijen, associate professor, e-mail: b.c.vanprooijen@tudelft.nl, tel: +31 6 24661771.

To apply, send an e-mail with an attached zip-file that includes (1) a motivation letter; (2) detailed CV; (3) list of marks received in your Master studies; (4) contact details of two references by 17st of June 2018 to Recruitment-CiTG@tudelft.nl. Mention the reference CITG18-26 in the subject of the email.