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PhD-researcher Microplastics in turbulent water flow

Do you have a Master degree or an equivalent degree in Civil Engineering, Earth Sciences, Applied Mathematics or Physics, and are your eager to do a PhD? Can …

3 maanden geleden


Droevendaalsesteeg, Wageningen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur


Do you have a Master degree or an equivalent degree in Civil Engineering, Earth Sciences, Applied Mathematics or Physics, and are your eager to do a PhD? Can you combine systematical physical model experiments with detailed computation fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations, to create physics-based models that are able to simulate the vertical distribution of microplastics? Then this could be the ideal PhD for you!

Rivers are important transport pathways for microplastics from inland sources to the oceans, but the processes leading to the distribution of microplastics in the fluvial environment cannot be explained in detail yet. The transport seems to be influenced by the plastic particle properties, interactions with natural sediment, the morphology of the sediment bed and turbulence in the stream. However, there is a lack of data and understanding of how mixtures of microplastics and sediment behave in turbulent flows. This inhibits us from collecting representative fluvial microplastic samples, as the vertical distribution of microplastics in the water column is still largely unknown.

This PhD project therefore seeks to understand the influence of turbulence on the transport of microplastics in the fluvial environment. In combining systematical physical model experiments in the Kraijenhoff van de Leur Laboratory for Water and Sediment Dynamics with detailed Computation fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations, we aim to create physics-based models that are able to simulate the vertical distribution of microplastics and thus give an estimate of the depth profile of microplastic transport in rivers. This way, we take an important step towards representative monitoring methods of microplastics in rivers.


  • a Master degree or an equivalent degree in Earth Sciences, Civil Engineering, Physics or Applied Mathematics;
  • a strong interest and preferably experience in CFD modelling;
  • a strong interest and preferably experience in designing and performing physical model experiments;
  • good organizational, writing and presentation skills and you can work both independently and in a team;
  • commitment to finalise a PhD, combined with a training and supervision trajectory;
  • ability to participate in courses within the master's programme Earth and Environment, and to supervise MSc-thesis students within the project;
  • excellent command of the English language, both orally and in writing.


We offer excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.
In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team. The gross salary for the first year is € 2.395,- per month rising to € 3.061,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering an outstanding position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the "Best University" in the Netherlands for the 16th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
WUR is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

Additional information

To learn more about this position, please contact Dr. ir. K. Waldschläger, kryss.waldschlager@wur.nl

For questions about the procedure, please contact Edgar Tijhuis, corporate recruiter, edgar.tijhuis@wur.nl

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including August 13, 2021. We hope to schedule the first job interviews in the week of August 30, 2021. The preferred starting date for this position is October 1, 2021, or soon after that date.