The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers

PhD position in Dynamics of mixed sands at manmade beaches in mixed-energy coastal environments (1.0 FTE)

    Utrecht University
    Cultural studies
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    Recognised Researcher (R2)
    22/06/2020 00:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Netherlands › Utrecht

As part of a joint project between Utrecht University (UU) and the Technical University Delft (TUD), we seek a highly motivated candidate for a PhD position within the field of coastal morphodynamics. The available position is one of two PhD positions within the EURECCA project (Effective Upgrades and Retrofits for Coastal Climate Adaptation), awarded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). Your counterpart will be situated within the Hydraulic Engineering department of the TUD.
The EURECCA project will focus on the dynamics of man-made beaches in mixed-energy coastal environments, where both waves and currents drive the morphodynamic evolution. Sandy retrofits, where a sandy beach system is placed in front of an existing flood defense, are a novel engineering approach using sediment instead of stones and asphalt to guarantee coastal safety. Much of our understanding of sand deposits, or nourishments, stem from research in coastal areas that are dominated by energetic waves. However, the redistribution of sand and the evolution of different sediment sizes of potential retrofits is not understood in environments which are under the influence of both strong tidal currents and waves (i.e. mixed-energy systems). The EURECCA project aims to develop robust and quantitative knowledge of mixed-sand transport driven by mixed-energy forcing. The project will focus on the recently completed Prins Hendrikzanddijk (PHZD), a sandy retrofit of a dike on the back-barrier side of the Dutch barrier island of Texel, an area with strong tidal currents and relatively weak wind-driven waves: a typical mixed-energy system.

Your research will focus on the sediment transport processes and morphological evolution at the PHZD. As part of your project, you are expected to take part in a number of dedicated large field campaigns at the PHZD to measure the forcing conditions (waves, currents and water levels), bed levels, grain sizes and sediment transport, supported by our highly experienced field-technicians from the Faculty’s Earth Simulation Laboratory (ESL). In addition to these measurements, you will apply an operational numerical model (Delft3D) to further explore the role of mixed grain sizes and sediment sorting processes on the morphological development.

You will be supervised by Dr Timothy Price (daily supervisor, UU), Prof Gerben Ruessink (promotor, UU) and Prof. Maarten Kleinhans (advisor, UU). Also, you will work in tandem with the TUD-based PhD candidate, led by Dr Matthieu de Schipper. The EURECCA research team will work together closely with a diverse group of dedicated end-users for data collection, numerical modelling and the implementation of the acquired insights into practice: Jan de Nul B.V., Waterproof B.V., Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier, Deltares, Arcadis, and the Dutch Ministry of Public Works Rijkswaterstaat. This collaboration includes a (non-consecutive) 6-month stay at Waterproof B.V. in Lelystad, the Netherlands, where you will explore (using Delft3D) how different configurations of sediment mixtures and nourishment morphologies affect the dispersal of a nourishment.

Up to 10% of your time will be dedicated to assisting in the BSc and MSc teaching programmes of the Graduate School of Geosciences. You will be offered a personalized training programme set up, mutually agreed on recruitment, to strengthen your research profile, adding skills and filling knowledge gaps. It will help achieve your long-term career objectives as well as supplement and support the project-related research.


We offer a position (1.0 FTE) for the duration of four years. The research group will provide the candidate with strong and collegial support on all aspects of the work. We offer a collegial and lively department with a lot of cooperation, including collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). The gross salary ranges between €2,325 in the first year and €2,972 in year 4 (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.

Facilities for sports and child care are available on our main campus which is located only 15 minutes away from the historical city centre of Utrecht.

Selection process

To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation via the ‘apply’ button below. Your application will be considered if it contains:

  • a letter of application that describes your motivation for this position and includes the most important qualifications;
  • your curriculum vitae, including any publications or teaching you may have contributed to and any public communications or applied projects you are proud of;
  • the names and contact information of two referees.

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

Additional comments

For more information about this position, please contact:
Dr Timothy Price (Assistant Professor), via T.D.Price@uu.nl.
Interviews will take place in July 2020, either in person or via online meeting (e.g. Skype or Teams).

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

Specific Requirements

Do you have:

  • an MSc degree in Earth Surface Processes, Physical Geography, Sedimentology, Marine Sciences, Coastal Engineering or a closely related discipline;
  • knowledge of (coastal) hydrodynamics and/or sediment transport processes;
  • proficiency in English, both spoken and written;
  • affinity for fieldwork, numerical modelling and/or data analysis;
  • demonstrable organisational skills and the ability to work independently;
  • a strong motivation to (learn how to) communicate your research in journal papers and international conferences;
  • a keen interest in the outreach of your work outside of the academic setting (e.g. through stakeholder meetings);
  • an enthusiastic mindset as a team player?

We are looking forward to your application! Our department has committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workforce, and we explicitly welcome women to apply.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Utrecht University
3512 JE
Domplein 29

EURAXESS offer ID: 525760
Posting organisation offer ID: 291985


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