PhD position 'Hydraulic conductivity of the Dutch shallow subsurface at varying resolutions' (1.0 FTE)

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences is looking for a PhD 'Hydraulic conductivity of the Dutch shallow subsurface at varying resolutions'. Are you interested? Then please read the full profile and apply.

ongeveer een maand geleden


Domplein, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


The department of Physical Geography and Geological Survey of the Netherlands TNO are searching for a PhD candidate with the aim to improve the characterization of hydraulic conductivity for the hydrogeological models of the Dutch subsurface.

Hydraulic conductivity of aquifers and aquitards is a basic information need for hydrogeologists. The Geological Survey of the Netherlands TNO (TNO-GSN) makes estimates of hydraulic properties of the subsurface available at as part of the GeoTOP model (subsurface until 50 m below the surface) and the national, hydrogeological model REGIS (down to geohydrological basis). TNO-GSN has carried out a characterization of hydraulic parameters of groundwater aquifers and aquitards at different resolutions. Laboratory measurements of hydraulic conductivity on cm-scale samples from different sedimentary facies in various geologic formations have served as basis for these characterizations. Using stochastic simulation of fine-scale (0.5m x 0.5m x 0.25m) texture variations within facies, these values have subsequently been upscaled to larger voxels (25m x 25m x 0.5m) and finally to transmissivity and vertical hydraulic resistance values. It is yet unknown to what extent these upscaled conductivity values are representative for the scales of groundwater investigations. These scales range from local (a single parcel or building pit) via regional (such as groundwater protection areas or large infrastructural interventions) to national (e.g. the Dutch policy on water supply). A PhD project is commissioned by TNO GSN to Utrecht University in order to further establish and validate scientific but practical methodologies for characterisation of hydraulic conductivity at various resolutions.

The main objective of the PhD project is: to develop a method to correctly assess the hydraulic conductivity distribution for the (hydro)geological data models GeoTOP and REGIS at the relevant resolutions and spatial extent that GeoTOP and REGIS are commonly used. This method should be cost-effective and able to use existing information about hydraulic conductivity that is present in the current GeoTOP and REGIS databases. The general idea is to devise a method that is able to use both existing and new laboratory measurements, dedicated and existing pumping tests and groundwater abstraction data that are available from drinking water production wells.


We are looking for candidates with:

  • a MSc in Earth Sciences, Hydro(geo)logy, Civil Engineering or a related field;
  • affinity with performing field work and numerical modelling;
  • willingness to work at the interface of academia and application-driven research;
  • the ability to work in teams;
  • excellent English oral and writing skills;
  • knowledge about Quaternary geology of alluvial deltas and geostatistics is an advantage.


The candidate is offered a full-time position for four years, with an evaluation after one year. The gross monthly salary with a full-time appointment will amount to €2,222 in the first year and to €2,840 in the fourth (P-scale of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities). The salary is supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8,3% per year. In addition we offer: a pension scheme, a partially paid parental leave, flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities. The candidate is expected to work approximately half of his/her time at TNO-GSN. The office of TNO-GSN is located at the UU University Campus. The research group and TNO-GSN will provide the candidate with necessary support on all aspects of the project. For further information: working at Utrecht University.

Additionele informatie

For further information about the vacancy, please contact Prof M.F.P. Bierkens ( or Prof. J. Griffioen (


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht University has been ranked first nationally in the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities, and 65th globally. The University is committed to a strategies orientation on four overarching themes, which include ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Institutions’. The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old center and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht city has been consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the Netherlands.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences offers education and research concerning the geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and anthroposphere. With 2.200 students (BSc and MSc) and 550 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty is organised in four departments: 1. Earth Sciences, 2. Physical Geography, 3. Innovation, Environmental & Energy Sciences and 4. Human Geography & Urban & Regional Planning.

The Department of Physical Geography has the ambition to excel in research and education on BSc, MSc and PhD level. Its research focuses on processes, patterns and dynamics of Earth’s continental and coastal systems, and on the interaction between these processes. This knowledge is essential for the sustainable management of our planet and to guarantee the availability of resources for the next generations.


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