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  3. PhD position ‘Stagnant weather extremes: Present and future risks’

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PhD position ‘Stagnant weather extremes: Present and future risks’

The Department of Water and Climate Risk offers a position for a PhD researcher for the research project ‘Stagnant weather extremes: Present and future risks’ The PhD position will be funded by the new NWO ...

12 maanden geleden


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


The Department of Water and Climate Risk offers a position for a PhD researcher for the research project
‘Stagnant weather extremes: Present and future risks’
The PhD position will be funded by the new NWO Vidi program on Persistent Summer Extremes.

Overview of the research project:
Extreme heat waves and heavy rainfall are increasing in intensity on a global scale, trends which will continue with future global warming. Summer extremes can have the most-severe impacts on humanity especially when they persist for several days: Many consecutive hot-and-dry days causing harvest failure, or stagnating wet extremes causing flooding. This project aims at better understanding and quantifying the causes and consequences of stagnating weather systems focusing on the most high-impact events. What maintains stagnating summer weather? Do climate models capture persistence and the underlying processes accurately? Can we find early warning signals? New methodological developments, including machine learning algorithms and higher resolution climate models, now enable us to achieve real progress in answering these questions.

The PhD candidate will become part of the research group on “Climate Change and Extreme Weather”, led by Dr. Dim Coumou, and work with experts from VU Amsterdam, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and possibly other project partners. S/he will work with the high-resolution climate model EC-Earth, perform and analyze model simulations and, together with direct colleagues, apply machine learning algorithms to both observed and modeled data. This way the atmospheric teleconnections behind extreme weather should be better understood and quantified.

The research will be carried out in close collaboration with partner institutes. The PhD candidate will be based at VU Amsterdam, but is expected to regularly spend days at KNMI. In addition, extended research visits at Harvard University and/or the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research are planned.

The responsibilities of a PhD include writing and publishing your scientific results which will lead ultimately to a dissertation as well as a limited amount of teaching


The candidate must have a Master’s degree in Climate Sciences, Earth Sciences, Physics, Mathematics or a related field. The candidate should have good programming skills (e.g. Python) and willing to learn working with large climate datasets, high-resolution climate models and machine learning.


Tthe appointment will initially be for 1 year. 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 www.workingatvu.nl such as:
• 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;
• Contribution 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.

Additional information

The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and amounts from € 2222,00 gross per month in the first year up to € 2840,00 gross per month in the fourth year (salary scale 85), based on a fulltime employment.

For additional information please contact: Dr. Dim Coumou
Phone number +31 (0)20 59 89535


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, the Institute for Environmental Studies (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 three departments: Water and Climate Risk; Environmental Economics; and Environmental Policy Analysis. IVM is part of the Faculty of Science at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.