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PhD position in advanced data analysis of marine plastic litter (1.0 FTE)

Utrecht University's Faculty of Science is looking for a PhD position in advanced data analysis of marine plastic litter. Are you interested? Then please read the full profile and apply.

ongeveer een jaar geleden


Domplein, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
36 - 40 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


The amount of plastic in our ocean is growing exponentially, with recent estimates of more than 5 million metric tonnes of plastic reaching the ocean each year. This plastic infiltrates the ocean food web and thus poses a major threat to marine life. However, understanding of the distribution, pathways and fate of plastic once in the ocean is very limited.
The project ‘Tracking Of Plastics In Our Seas’, funded by the European Research Council, will create a novel comprehensive modelling framework that simulates plastic movement through the ocean, and uses that framework to significantly improve the understanding of the plastic pollution in our oceans.

This PhD position will contribute to the compilation of a global 3-dimensional dataset of observations of plastic litter in the ocean, on the seabed, on coastlines and in marine organisms. Using advanced data analysis tools, the PhD will assemble interdisciplinary data from published observations and where necessary work with international collaborators to target under-sampled areas. The PhD will then use this new global dataset, in combination with numerical models of the transport of plastic, to create a global, three-dimensional estimate of distribution of plastic litter in our oceans.


- MSc in Physics, Computer Science, Applied Mathematics or similar field;
- Strong skills in python programming;
- Ability to cooperate within a wider research team;
- Excellent level of written and spoken English.

- Proven affinity with physical oceanography;
- Strong skills in advanced data science;
- Experience with software development practices such as version control and unit-testing.


The Candidate is offered a full-time position for four years, with an evaluation after one year, at the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht.

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 research group will provide the candidate with necessary support on all aspects of the project. More information is available on the website.

Additionele informatie

Additional information about the vacancy. This can be obtained from: Dr. E van Sebille (via email: e.vansebille@uu.nl).

As part of the selection procedure, the candidate is expected to give an outline of his/her research plans in a written report and an oral presentation.

For more information about the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, please visit the IMAU website.


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.

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 livable cities in the Netherlands.

The Faculty of Science consists of six departments: Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Information and Computing Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry and Mathematics. The Faculty is home to 5600 students and nearly 1500 staff and is internationally renowned for the quality of its research. The Faculty's academic programmes reflect developments in today's society. Read the overall impression 2016 of the Faculty of Science.

The Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht (IMAU) is an interfaculty research institute that focuses on the fundamental aspects of the climate system. Research is organized in five main themes: ice and climate, ocean circulation and climate, atmospheric physics and chemistry, atmospheric dynamics and boundary layer meteorology and Coastal and shelf sea dynamics. The IMAU includes some 15 faculty members, 15 postdocs and 30 PhD students. The graduate programme is organized in the Buys Ballot research school. For more information about the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, please visit the IMAU website