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  3. PhD: Sustaining Irrigated Agriculture with the Integrated Turbine Pump

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PhD: Sustaining Irrigated Agriculture with the Integrated Turbine Pump

Providing irrigation as a service to communities

ongeveer een jaar geleden


Mekelweg, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur
€ 2840 per maand


Many current irrigation technologies are energy- and cost-intensive. Accessible and affordable water services enable high-value agriculture, providing opportunities for the rural poor and improving food security. The Integrated Turbine Pump (ITP) is an innovative hydraulic device, with the turbine providing energy for the pump. ITP hardware combines higher initial costs with lower running costs compared to fuel-based pump; ITP systems are therefore expected to provide improved irrigation services over the long term. Such services address the economic reality and potential of many smallholder farmers and could build sustainable business models. Cost-effective, sustainable business models for smallholders could be combined with profit-effective models for organisations and/or businesses.
With the cooperation of users and supporting organisations, the PhD candidate translates the ITP principle into irrigation system prototypes providing ‘irrigation as a service’ to communities – building on an iterative design process with inputs from users rather than setting technical parameters as a given. In a co-creative approach, close cooperation with prospective users and support organizstions in selected pilot areas allows translating challenges into specifications and use scenarios. Insights from different contexts are linked early on in the process to develop solution directions that translate the ITP principle into approaches providing ‘irrigation as a service’ to communities. The research project builds on strong involvement of the company Aqysta. The candidate is supported by an interdisciplinary team from Water Resources and Industrial Design.


We are looking for a creative and active person, with a suitable background at the MSc level in water and/or agricultural engineering. In addition, the candidate should have experience with either business models or participatory design approaches, as well as a clear ability to quickly master needed expertise. Ideally, the candidate has field experience with farmers, water use, design activities, or other relevant aspects. As we anticipate that frequent adaptation is needed in (field) research and design actions, the candidate should be able to plan and improvise simultaneously.


The TU Delft offers an attractive, customisable compensation and benefits package, including 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 day care, before- and after-school care 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. The 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 www.tudelft.nl/phd for more information.

For more information about this position, please contact Maurits Ertsen, phone: +31 (0)15-2787423, e-mail:
Please include in your application:
(1) Short motivation letter (max. 1 page) covering your research interest and relevant experience.
(2) 2 page CV incl. list of publications (if any) and names, e-mail and telephone of two references.
(3) Copies of academic qualifications.
To apply, please e-mail a detailed CV and a letter of application by 15 December 2017 to B. Tabak, Recruitment-CiTG@tudelft.nl.
When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number CITG17-35.

Additional information

Maurits Ertsen
+31 (0)15-2787423

Technische Universiteit Delft


Delft University of Technology (the TU Delft) is a multifaceted institution offering education and carrying out research in the technical sciences at an internationally recognised level. Education, research and design are strongly oriented towards applicability. The TU Delft develops technologies for future generations, focusing on sustainability, safety and economic vitality. At the TU Delft you will work in an environment where technical sciences and society converge. The TU Delft comprises eight faculties, unique laboratories, research institutes and schools. Civil Engineering & Geosciences The Department of Water Management focuses on quantitative and qualitative aspects of fresh and salt/brackish water systems and related user functions such as building, drinking water, wastewater, and agriculture. Delft is a global centre for hydrological research and education, resulting from the necessity of excellent water management in the Netherlands. Within the TU Delft, we cooperate closely with Deltares, UNESCO-IHE, and consulting firms.

The Water Resources Engineering section has an excellent 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 performed in strong collaboration with national and international research institutes and industry. There is active interaction and cooperation with other relevant disciplines particularly in the areas of new observation techniques (satellites, in situ, citizen science) and advanced mathematical techniques, such as data assimilation.