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PhD: Turnover of Suspended & Settled Organic Matter in Ports & Waterways

Processes and properties of sediment organic matter

10 maanden geleden


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


The aerobic and anaerobic microbial turnover of organic matter in surface waters affects the processes of flocculation, sedimentation and consolidation of suspended particulate matter (SPM), leading to the formation of layers of different rheological properties in the transition zone between the water phase and the genuine river bed. As a consequence, the detection of the nautical bottom in ports and waterways and the efficiency of maintenance dredging carried out to warrant the navigable depth can be impeded. Port authorities therefore seek new insights into the strength development of fluid mud and sediment layers and the impacting processes and parameters. The aim of the research is to elucidate the role of the physicochemical properties of the organic and mineral phases for organic matter degradability and to investigate their influence on the rheological properties of the corresponding fluid mud and sediment layers observed in situ. Research activities will include field sampling campaigns in the Port of Hamburg and subsequent laboratory analyses, addressing, amongst others, the following aspects: (1) characterisation of SPM and sediment properties and identification of properties relevant for the organic matter degradation, (2) quantification of the size of the degradable organic matter pools, and (3) temporal and spatial variability of all pertinent processes. All activities will start as soon as possible and be carried in close cooperation with Hamburg Port Authority, with the University of Hamburg and the Department of Hydraulic Engineering at the TU Delft.


Applicants should meet the following requirements:
• MSc degree in a discipline of the Biosciences, Earth Sciences, Geo-environmental Engineering (or comparable) with a focus relevant to the research field
• Motivation for applied research and experimental work (lab and field)
• Strong analytical skills
• Ability to work independently and in a team
• Ability to cooperate with both scientific and industrial partners
• Ability to write and contribute to scientific publications and technical reports.
• Good proficiency in spoken and written English language, German language skills are desired.


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 Dr. J. Gebert. Phone: +31 (0)15-2782798, e-mail: j.gebert@tudelft.nl. To apply, please e-mail a detailed CV, summary of academic record or research experience, abstract of your MSc thesis (1 page), list of any publications, grades list, proof of English language proficiency, and contact details of two references, along with a letter of application by 28 January 2018 to Recruitment-CiTG@tudelft.nl. When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number CiTG17-43.

Additional information

Julia Gebert
+31 (0)15-2782798

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 Geoscience and Engineering is part of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences and encompasses five sections: Applied Geology, Applied Petrophysics and Geophysics, Geo-Engineering, Resource Engineering, and Petroleum Engineering. Within the Department there is considerable scope and encouragement for interdisciplinary research.

The Geo-Engineering section has 10 full-time and six part-time academic staff, and 30 PhD and post-doctoral researchers. Areas of expertise include soil mechanics, dykes and embankments, foundation engineering, underground space technology, engineering geology, and geo-environmental engineering. There are extensive experimental laboratory facilities, including large-scale soil-structure interaction testing facilities and a geotechnical centrifuge, as well as excellent computing facilities, including access to national High Performance Computing.