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PhD: Regime Shifts in Estuarine Morphology

Deltas are under pressure due to climate change and increasing human activities, resulting in gradual or rapid changes in their abiotic and biotic systems. …

ongeveer een jaar geleden


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


Deltas are under pressure due to climate change and increasing human activities, resulting in gradual or rapid changes in their abiotic and biotic systems. Especially when these pressures exceed certain thresholds these changes may be abrupt or even irreversible (i.e. regime shifts). 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 relevant physical and biological processes interact at different spatial scales, and thereby shape the resilience of estuarine systems, is crucial for understanding and optimizing the adaptive capacity of estuaries.

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 large-scale regime shifts in estuarine morphology. The focus will be on the Yangtze, Scheldt and Ems estuaries, which are all highly impacted by human interferences. The aim of this study is to identify and explain the complex relationship between human interventions and large-scale morphological changes. This will be done by applying and developing idealized models, applying detailed process-based numerical simulations and analysis of field data.


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, with a solid background in the dynamics of tides, waves and morphology. 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 skilled to apply and improve numerical models; (4) be capable of unravelling physical and biological mechanisms from large datasets. 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 CITG18-27 in the subject of the email.