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

PhD Position on Coupling of Tipping Elements in Networks of the Earth System, Wageningen University

Application deadline: 19 May 2019

Large integrated climate models with a full coupling of ocean and atmospheric circulation mechanisms and ecosystem dynamics are notoriously difficult to formulate and parametrize. The PhD student will develop simplified network models, in order to get a deep understanding of potential dynamics resulting from the coupling of tipping elements, such as cascades, oscillations, and chaotic behavior. The PhD student will build and analyze both simple and complex models, and link the observed dynamics to modern and paleo climate data.

The project is one of 30 PhD positions focusing on climate research, still available and to be found on the NESSC website (Netherlands Earth System Science Centre). NESSC is a so-called Gravitation Programme, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). The programme is co-funded with a Grant that has been awarded from the European Unions Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme: the Marie S.Curie COFUND programme, grant agreement No 847504. For this reason a minimum of 13 of the PhD positions are subject to EU eligibility criteria, to be selected when all applications have been received.

All PhD positions have full funding for four years and employment conditions are subject to the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement. The PhD positions will be hosted at one of the NESSC research institutes: Utrecht University, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Radboud University Nijmegen, VU University Amsterdam or Wageningen University.

NESSC brings scientists together with a background in Physics, Earth Sciences, Ecology and Mathematics. To better understand the processes behind climate change and to improve future climate projections and predictions. NESSC offers young academics the opportunity to work on important scientific topics in not previously existing partnerships, and thus creates the conditions for innovative, groundbreaking and multidisciplinary research, including both experimental and theoretical approaches. Please click here for general information about NESSC and here for NESSC research.

NESSC is a so-called Gravitation Programme, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). The programme is co-funded with a grant that has been awarded from the Europen Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme: the Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie COFUND programme, grant agreement No 847504.

Job requirements

NESSC will host excellent, talented, enthusiastic, highly motivated and goal-oriented Early Stage Researchers, with a no-nonsense mentality. The ideal candidates are interested in past and/or current climate research, are highly motivated to perform research in an excellent, exciting and international working environment, and are committed to a 4 year PhD track. They are excited about moving to the Netherlands and to perform a secondment at one of the NESSC COFUND Partner Organisations in the Netherlands or globally.

For this project we seek a PhD candidate who has demonstrated skills in building and analyzing models of dynamical systems and analyzing complex data sets. Basic knowledge of the functioning of the Earth system is an asset.

General requirements for applicants

  • Candidates did not reside or carry out their main activity (e.g. reside, work, studies) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months during the 3 years immediately prior to the date of appointment (time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention, compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account)*,
  • Candidates hold an MSc degree (or will graduate before the appointment date) in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Ecology, Earth Sciences and/or Environmental Sciences.
  • Candidates are in the first four years of their research careers at the start of their NESSC COFUND appointment (full-time equivalent research experience, measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree entitling him or her to embark on a doctorate) and have not been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • Excellent proficiency of the English language (both oral and written).
  • The ability to work both independently in challenging environments and in a multidisciplinary team. Excellent communication skills and cooperation skills are required.
  • An inquisitive mind-set, accuracy, creativity and self-reliance are very important. You are required to be flexible, mobile and pro-active.
  • Enthusiasm to attend the full training programme as offered in the project and to actively contribute to the project aims and objectives.
  • High interest in receiving training from supervisors from different institutes, disciplines and sectors, this will require regular travelling within the Netherlands.
  • High motivation to contribute to the dissemination of results and outreach to both specialists and the public at large.
  • Enthusiasm to visit a Partner Organisations for a secondment (internship), in or outside the Netherlands, as this is part of the programme. Additional research visits to international institutes for research collaborations are expected.
  • Strong motivation to obtain a PhD degree.

*If you do not qualify for the first criteria, you can still submit your application if you would like to be considered for the NON-COFUND positions.

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Wednesday 10 April 2019