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  2. Universiteit Utrecht (UU)
  3. Postdoc position in advanced data mining and analysis of marine plastic pollution (1.0 FTE)

Postdoc position in advanced data mining and analysis of marine plastic pollution (1.0 FTE)

Combine and analyse data on the sources and whereabouts of plastic litter in the ocean.

11 dagen geleden


Domplein, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur


The amount of plastic in our ocean is growing rapidly, with 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, the understanding of the distribution, pathways and fate of plastic once in the ocean is very limited.

In the project ‘Tracking Of Plastics In Our Seas’ (TOPIOS), funded by the European Research Council, we will create a novel comprehensive modelling framework that simulates plastic movement through the ocean, and use that framework to significantly improve the understanding of the plastic pollution in our oceans.

You will work within the TOPIOS project, focusing specifically on data analysis of the distribution of plastic in the ocean. You will combine published data from the literature and public datasets with output from ocean circulation models, to help create a map of the three-dimensional distribution of plastic in our oceans.

During the project, you will be involved in

  • automated processing of the literature to collate a database of observations of plastic in the ocean;
  • analysis of the database using advanced statistics;
  • together with others in the team, combining the observational data with numerical simulations;
  • writing and presenting the results to scientific peers, the general public and the media.

At the end of this postdoc project, you will have:

  • a deep understanding of the scale of the problem of global plastic pollution;
  • embedded yourself in the global community of scientists investigating marine plastic pollution;
  • further developed your skills to communicate your scientific results to a wide audience.


Our ideal candidate has a driven and collaborative spirit and:

  • a PhD in Physics, Computer Science, Applied Mathematics or a similar field;
  • experience with data mining and/or natural language processing;
  • the ability to cooperate within a wider and interdisciplinary research team;
  • an excellent level of written and spoken English.

Preferably you also have a proven affinity with physical oceanography and strong skills in python programming.


  • a position for 18 to 21 months, depending on start date (end date is 31 March 2022);
  • a full-time gross salary ranging from €2,709 to €4,274 in scale 10;
  • benefits including 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (cao).

In addition to the employment conditions laid down in the cao for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. For example, there are agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment yourself via the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we like to encourage you to continue to grow.

More information about working at the Faculty of Science can be found here.

Additional information

If you have any questions, please contact Dr Erik van Sebille via E.vanSebille@uu.nl.

Do you have questions about the application procedure? Send an email to science.recruitment@uu.nl.


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