Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

PhD DuneForce – Coastal Engineering, Delft University of Technology

Application deadline: 15 March 2019

We are looking for a PhD to strengthen our new DuneForce project team. DuneForce is a project funded by the Netherlands organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES).

Duneforce involves a comprehensive study on coastal dunes that provide coastal defence and specific ecological habitat to human society. Those values are under pressure due to increased human activity in coastal zones and climate change. Management of coastal dunes relies on knowledge on the relevant eco-physics. However, state-of-the-art knowledge does not yet integrate across coastal domains (shoreface, beach and dune) and relevant disciplines (ecology, morphology, engineering). As a result, it is not possible to anticipate on the combined impact of management strategies for coastal defence and habitat development. DuneForce addresses the eco-physical unknowns at the interfaces of coastal domains and disciplines through a combination of multi-disciplinary field works and numerical simulations. This will result in a quantitative model that predicts the development of the coastal zone in respect to dune habitat and coastal safety. This new model will be applied in several real life case studies to optimize coastal management strategies and interventions in the coastal system.

The PhD candidate will work on the quantification of marine and aeolian sediment transport processes at the land/water interface with the aim of developing a model for predicting sediment transports and morpho-dynamics at this interface. Collaborative field work in combination with numerical modelling is foreseen to quantify and predict sediment fluxes at the land water interface at several locations in the Netherlands.

The candidate will work in a research team that will involve 2 universities and receives support of several Dutch industry and governmental partners. The academic core of the project will consist of 1 PhD position at Wageningen University & Research (WUR) 1 PhD position (this vacancy) and 1 Post-doc at Delft University of Technology (DUT). The team is led by dr. Sierd de Vries at the (DUT) in collaboration with dr. Juul Limpens and dr. Michel Riksen at WUR.

This 4 year PhD position starts on April 1st 2019 at the earliest. The exact starting date for the position is negotiable to some extent.


  • MSc degree in Hydraulic Engineering, Physical Geography, Earth system science or related discipline.
  • excellent ability to think conceptually and quantitatively
  • excellent ability to communicate in English and preferably in Dutch, both orally and in writing
  • interest in (bio)geomorphological interactions (sediment, hydrodynamics, vegetation)
  • good organisational skills and ability to work independently
  • affinity with field field work and technical aspects of data processing and nummerical modeling

> More information

Tuesday 26 February 2019