PhD Position Efficacy of Sediment Nourishments in Groyne Fields of Engineered Rivers

  • WO
  • Tijdelijk


Rijkswaterstaat, the executive agency of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, will conduct a field experiment with sediment nourishments in a few groyne fields of the Waal River (Rhine River). Currents and ship waves are expected to transport this nourished sediment into the main channel. As such, the groyne fields may act as a “sand engine” and may contribute to mitigating the overall channel bed erosion in the Dutch Rhine branches.

The scale of this field experiment provides a unique opportunity to observe, analyze, and evaluate the relevant processes on prototype scale. This PhD project will contribute largely to the collection, interpretation and analysis of field data, and will provide knowledge for further upscaling of this approach.

The project objective is to provide insight on (1) entrainment of sediment artificially added to the groyne field and its transport to the main channel, (2) the conditions under which groyne field nourishments (gravel-sand) contribute to mitigating channel bed erosion and to enhancing nature values of the bank zone, and (3) best practices for design and upscaling groyne-field nourishments.  

The method comprises:

  1. Analysis of existing knowledge about sediment exchange between groyne fields and main channel;
  2. Analysis of recently developed knowledge about the efficacy of main channel nourishments for mitigating channel bed erosion (Czapiga et al., 2022);
  3. Set up of monitoring approach, subsequent collection of field data on flow and sediment processes, as well as ship traffic, in and around the relevant groyne fields with both standard and innovative techniques in close co-operation with the Central Information Technology unit of Rijkswaterstaat.
  4. Analysis of the new field data acquired pre, inter, and post the groyne-field nourishments;
  5. Conceptual and/or numerical modelling of the relevant processes of hydrodynamics and transport of nourished sediments, and the river response to groyne-field nourishments;
  6. Development and improvement of best practices on groyne field nourishments.

Your advisors are Dr. Kees Sloff and Dr. Astrid Blom. A practitioner group, consisting of members affiliated with various water management authorities and consultancies will warrant the link to practice. The project is funded by Rijkswaterstaat, which is the executive agency of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. The project will be part of the NKWK research program Rivers2Morrow. Aim of the program is to study the long term development of lowland rivers (especially the Rhine-Meuse delta) under climate change. A close connection and collaboration with other PhD students in the research group is foreseen.


If applying for the PhD position, the candidate is required to have an MSc degree in Civil Engineering, Geosciences, Hydroinformatics, Applied Mathematics, Physics, or a related field. Past experience with field work is an advantage. In particular, the preferred candidate is eager to learn, and has a strong interest in fluvial processes, field work, analysis of field data, mathematical modelling, and numerical coding. She/he is communicative, curious, eager to learn and receive feedback, and able to work in a multi-disciplinary team of scientists.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.


Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact! 


Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2443 per month in the first year to € 3122 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

Meer informatie

For more information about the selection procedure, please contact Astrid Blom, Associate Professor, email: or Kees Sloff, Lecturer, email: