Junior Researcher for the UNITED project (PHD position)

Delft, Netherlands
Position Type: 
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Are you interested in Blue Growth and enhancing both the productivity and environmental quality of coastal regions? Do you have an interest in remote sensing, data science, real-time coastal forecasting systems? Do you possess modelling skills and an interest in multi-use of marine space, aquaculture, and marine system dynamics? Join our team! Deltares is looking for talented and enthusiastic

PhD candidates for the UNITED project for 3.5 years

As a PhD candidate you will coordinate and perform research tasks in a new European Horizon2020 research project UNITED: multi-Use platforms and co-locatioN pilots boostIng cost-effecTive, and Eco-friendly and sustainable proDuction in marine environments. UNITED aims to deploy Multi-Use and Co-Location activities within European maritime space, combining different economic, environmental, and social activities to increase synergies, benefit health and safety, increase utility and effectiveness, while addressing health and safety issues of such operations at sea. The PhD will be immersed in the project and will collaborate with over 20 research institutes, universities and industry actors from across Europe to achieve the project goals. This will enable a large degree of co-authorship and joint research potential focusing on 5 specific project pilot sites.

What can you expect as a PhD Candidate for 3.5 Years?

One  PhD  work  will  be  centered  on  developing  3-dimensional process based models for specific use cases.  Such models will address the hydrodynamic and environmental factors involved in combining multiple activities in off-shore multi-use marine space.  These ecological and hydrodynamic models with be further improved upon and enhanced through the incorporation of data sets provided by remote sensing programs such as COPERNICUS as well as utilizing the information garnered from the monitoring equipment and sensors installed on the marine platforms and adjoining equipment. These complimentary data sets will be used to derive additive value data sets which are then incorporated into the 3-dimensional models to provide enhanced operational and forecasting capacities to better inform operational activities at these multi-use sites. The key element to be stressed across the body of work is the enhancement of the data resources and integration into the model through automated calibration and state-updating, citing data assimilation techniques.  While the project has specific goals to be achieved, the depth of the research is flexible within the field and will be set through mutual agreements between the PhD student, university promoter, and project.

The second  PhD  will  focus  on uncertainties within  3-dimensional process based models for specific use cases. These are the same models being improved upon by the first candidate, however, the work parallel and not inter-dependent on one another. Models will address the hydrodynamic and environmental factors involved in combining multiple activities in off-shore multi-use marine space and the potential deployment of multi-use. Through the utilization of ensemble modelling and informed by stakeholder participation, various scenarios for differently scaled multi-use and co-location rollouts will be addressed.  These ecological and hydrodynamic models with be used to determine the impacts different design schemas in order to determine optimal deployment and also to ensure that under a wide range of variable climactic and environmental stressors, deployed systems will be able to operate functionally with minimal negative impacts. The various elements of uncertainty underpinning the model results will be addressed by the PhD candidate, exploring the impacts of various data sets for calibration, validation, and forecasting and how to express and visualize such uncertainties to operational managers, planners, and society at large. Good technical skills, modelling experience or understanding of process-based model concepts will provide a solid basis for the work to be executed.  While the project has specific goals to be achieved, the depth of the research is flexible within the field and will be set through mutual agreements between the PhD student, university promoter, and project.

What does Deltares expect from you as a PhD for a period of 3.5 years?

As a PhD candidate you should have an interest in the development of real-time water quality forecasting systems in coastal areas and marine systems as well as information sciences and data assimilation. This involves the integration of (hydrodynamic and water quality) models, Remote sensing and other measurement data and ICT components in operational systems. You will be a member of a team at Deltares, as well as an international project team working on 5 demonstration sites, focusing on a particular use case applicable to the PhD focus. It is important that you work well within a team, at Deltares as well within the international UNITED project team consisting of members from across Europe and 20+ institutes. You also take initiative, can work independently, and ensure you complete tasks you are responsible for.

  • You have a master’s degree in physics, mathematics, hydrodynamics, water quality or another environmental discipline, with interest and skills in information technology, data science and/or modelling techniques;
  • You are fluent in English (reading, writing and speaking, including giving presentations in meetings);
  • You have good organizational skills and can give instructions to others;
  • You are able and willing to travel to foreign countries and work with international researchers and companies;
  • You can start no later than January 10th, 2020.

Working at Deltares

Deltares is an independent institute for applied research in the field of water, subsurface and infrastructure. Worldwide we work on smart solutions, innovations and applications for people, environment and society. To achieve our goals, we develop our own expertise, innovative software and services. We have special facilities on our campus in Delft, like the Delta Flume and our iD-lab (Interactive data research laboratory) and the Geochemical and Microbiological laboratory in Utrecht.

Deltares supports governments, industries, water boards, and municipalities in their ambitions to reduce water and energy consumption and to develop and implement sustainable energy technologies. Deltares places high demands on the quality of its knowledge and advice. Enabling Delta life is our core business.

We offer an informal, dynamic and challenging working environment. Your personal development and building on your resume is important to us. Therefore we offer excellent training opportunities and future perspective.


Are you interested in this job and do you fit the job qualifications? Apply directly by uploading your CV and motivation letter, before 10 November, 2019. We will get in touch with you within two weeks after the closing date. Only applications via our website will be considered. For more information you may contact Bianca Peters ( or + 31883357964) or Debbie Duimel  ( or + +31883358454).