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

PhD Adaptation measures based on smart nutrient management at the catchment scale for future-proof water quality, Wageningen University

Application deadline: 22 April 2021

Are you passionate about water quality and ecological modeling and developing innovative modeling approaches for nutrient management? And interested in scenario analysis, seeking solutions, and evaluation of water-related policy? Then you maybe the candidate we are looking for!

Within the inventWater consortium on “Innovative forecasting approaches to assess future trends in pollutant flows from land to water systems for advancing sectoral water quality services” we are looking for a PhD candidate.

Nutrient pollution is by far the most widespread water quality issue in many water systems such as reservoirs, lakes and rivers worldwide. Climate change is further influencing water quality through altered precipitation patterns and warmer temperatures that stimulate harmful cyanobacteria blooms. This project aims to develop an integrated modelling tool to assess expected nutrient flows from land to water systems, to determine its impacts on water quality and to provide management decisions for mitigation. The PhD candidate will focus on quantifying nutrient flows from the catchment into the river/reservoir/lake basin of the Dnieper in Ukraine that will serve as an example case. Modelling tools will be developed to determine the critical nutrient loads in selected reservoirs in the system. Scenario analyses with various combinations of measures will be run to evaluate the most promising set of interventions. The combined MARINA/PCLake modelling builds on experiences gained for several lakes and reservoirs in China and Africa, and this project will further integrate these existing models for future analysis of water systems under changing pressures and will provide a tool for water managers to evaluate nutrient stress in combination with predicted climate change, as well as a tool to evaluate what the most promising interventions will be.

The aims of this PhD-projects are: 1) Integrate existing modelling approaches for catchment nutrient flows (MARINA) and lake ecosystems (PCLake ); 2) Analyze the impacts of future climate change and potential adaptation measures on water quality in a selected river/reservoir/lake basin; 3) Evaluate most promising adaptation strategies to reduce future nutrient driven water quality issues.

The PhD candidate will do two secondments (internships as visiting researcher). One at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) in Wageningen (4 months), and one at the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA) in Girona, Spain. The PhD candidate will interact with Fellow PhD’s within the inventWater project for global water quality modelling. Details on the inventWater project and all the other vacancies can be found here.

The PhD candidate will be supervised by Dr. Jeroen de Klein (WUR), Dr. Lisette Senerpont Domis (NIOO) and Dr. Miquel Lurling (WUR).

We ask 

  • A passion for water quality and ecological modelling (e.g. carbon and nutrient flows, aquatic food-web and ecosystem state, and with an interest in scenario analysis and evaluation of water-related policies. 
  • Master degree in Environmental Sciences or similar. 
  • Programming skills and data analysis, and willingness to face complex modelling problems. 
  • Basic knowledge about biogeochemical and ecological processes affecting water quality and aquatic ecology in rivers and lakes. 
  • Proficiency in the English language (a minimum of CEFR C2 level, language page), as well as good communication skills, both oral and written. Applicants from non-Anglophone countries or for those that have not completed their higher education with English as the language of instruction must have an English certificate in the application package (e.g. IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge English). 
  • Experience with cross-disciplinary and/or multi-cultural collaboration will be an advantage 
  • You meet all the entry requirements of the WUR PhD programme.

> More information

Wednesday 24 March 2021