PhD position Natural Disaster Insurance and Risk Modelling

Contents of the research Economic losses due to weather-related natural hazards continue to rise rapidly in all regions of the world. For example, extreme flood events and storm surges all have a significant impact on ...

17 dagen geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


Contents of the research
Economic losses due to weather-related natural hazards continue to rise rapidly in all regions of the world. For example, extreme flood events and storm surges all have a significant impact on society, and these impacts will increase in the future through climate change and socio-economic developments. This implies that adequate natural disaster insurance arrangements should be designed to cover these risks, which should be connected to incentives and public policies that reduce risk. Much research to date has focused on the assessment and quantification of the natural hazard component of flood risk including the effects of climate change, which may lead to increased hazard magnitude and/or intensity in many regions. However, there is a growing understanding that increasing exposure of people and economic assets has been the major cause of the long term increases in economic losses from weather and climate-related disasters. This project focusses on modelling the vulnerability of properties in flood-prone areas, and how this vulnerability can be reduced by policies that improve household flood preparedness and by insurance strategies. Moreover, it contributes to the development of models that inform the design of affordable and efficient natural disaster insurance arrangements.

This research will focus on the following activities:
(1) In the first part of the research the candidate will expand an existing demand and supply side model of flood insurance and flood risk in the EU, to include other natural disaster risks, like drought;
(2) In the second part of the research, the model will be expanded from insurance arrangements to include other systems of government compensation for natural disaster damage that exist in the EU;
(3) A decision model (e.g. agent based) will be developed to simulate how people respond to long term changes in natural disaster risk and government and insurance strategies for risk reduction. The model will simulate the interaction between the government, households and insurers for each country at the EU scale;
(4) The developed model will be used for informing the design of improved natural disaster insurance arrangements in EU countries.

The candidate will write a PhD thesis based on the research carried out during the project, consisting of a minimum of three first-author papers that are published/to be published in international peer-review journals. Besides that, the responsibilities of a PhD include a limited amount of teaching.


The candidate must have a Masters degree in Economics, Earth and Economy, Civil/Environmental Engineering or related fields. The preferred candidate will have knowledge of statistical methods, programming (Python/Matlab) and modelling skills. The position involves collaboration and communication in a larger research team of researchers from other disciplines involved in international research projects.


The appointment will be fulltime for an initial duration of 12 months. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years.
You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at like:
• remuneration of 8.3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance
• solid pension scheme (ABP);
• a minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment;
• generous contribution (65%) commuting allowance based on public transport;
• discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance);
• participation in Individual Choices model;
• a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge.

The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and ranges from a minimum of € 2222 gross per month up to a maximum of € 2840 gross per month based on fulltime employment (salary scale 85) for a PhD student.

Additional information

For additional information please contact:
prof. dr. J. (Jeroen) Aerts or prof. dr. W. (Wouter) Botzen

Applicants are requested to write a letter in which they describe their abilities and motivation, accompanied by their curriculum vitae, grade lists, copies of relevant research papers and/or theses and two letters of recommendation. Applications should be sent by e-mail before 27 July 2017 to Marjolijn Staarink.

Please mention the vacancy number in the e-mail header.

Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) is a leading, innovative and growing university that is at the heart of society and actively contributes to new developments in teaching and research. Our university has ten faculties, and provides work for over 4,500 staff and scientific education for more than 23,000 students.

Established in 1971, IVM is a leading environmental research institute that is internationally recognized for its high quality research output in a range of environmental disciplines, as well as for its interdisciplinary work. The mission of the institute is to contribute to sustainable development and care for the environment through scientific research and teaching. IVM aims to do excellent problem-oriented research that is useful to a wide range of stakeholders in the Netherlands and internationally. A unique strength of our research is to understand sustainability problems in their social and economic context. IVM’s research community works within four departments: Environmental Economics; Environmental Policy Analysis; Chemistry and Biology; and Water and Climate Risk. Since 2001 IVM has been part of the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences at the VU University Amsterdam (legal name Stichting VU-VUmc).

The Departments of Water and Climate Risk and Environmental Economics offer a joint position for a PhD student for the research project

‘Natural disaster insurance and risk modelling’.

The PhD position will be funded by NWO Vidi and Vici programs on flood risk assessment and natural disaster insurance.


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