PhD Position SALTISolutions Faculty CEG

PhD Position SALTISolutions Faculty CEG

Published Deadline Location
3 Dec 4 Jan Delft

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To strengthen our new SALTISolutions project team we are looking for two PhD Candidates.
SALTISolutions  is a multi-disciplinary TTW-funded Perspective Program, led by Prof. Julie Pietrzak TU Delft and carried out in close collaboration with the universities of Twente, Eindhoven, Utrecht, Wageningen and NIOZ.
SALTISolutions will deliver the VirtualDelta, a digital twin of a real Delta, as a management and design instrument for salt-intrusion related questions in deltas worldwide. Increasing salt intrusion caused by human alterations of estuaries and deltas, increased freshwater demand, and climate change threatens freshwater availability in deltas. Freshwater supply is essential for health and human well-being, for ecological integrity of aquatic ecosystems, and for economic interests. An integrated and optimized societal response to salt intrusion challenges demands actions at several levels:

On short time scales: operational management tools based on short-term forecasts and available (‘big’) data for freshwater management;
On medium time scales: evaluation of effects of infrastructural changes on salt intrusion and, using scenario models, introduction into the society-stakeholder debate. Development of well-designed, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly solutions to salt intrusion based engineering (‘grey’) and nature-based (‘green’) solutions is essential;
On long time scales: evaluation of climate-proofness of infrastructure, policies and mitigation measures. Extreme climate-change scenarios require radically new solution pathways.

SALTISolutions’ Virtual Delta brings together advanced models, data-assimilation tools, visualisation methods, stakeholder-interaction tools, and exploratory strategic analyses for delta management at different levels. Scientific challenges and expected scientific breakthroughs include: incorporating multiscale physical processes; understanding impact of natural eco-morphological processes on salt intrusion, and developing forecasting systems and advanced game approaches for stakeholder engagement and decision making. Technology suppliers and end-users are actively involved in SALTISolutions, which will lead to conceptual and operational breakthroughs in freshwater management of deltas.

Job description

In the framework of SALTISolutions, TU Delft PhD Candidates are sought to work on the following topics:

Position #1 TUD00669 : Salt intrusion in the Rhine-Meuse Delta; field data for solutions

The PhD candidate will explore and unravel the different physical mechanisms responsible for salt intrusion across scales in the Rotterdam Waterway by collecting and analysing unique data sets. The candidate will take a leading role in the design of a field program to understand salt intrusion and mitigation measures in the Rotterdam Waterway. They will design the field campaigns, analyse the data and work with other members of the team to advance our understanding of salt intrusion. Together with Project 3 and 4 we also aim to design a joint field campaign to investigate salt intrusion across the scales of the Rhine Meuse Delta. They will work closely with a fellow PhD in project 3 to validate an advanced coastal ocean-delta salt intrusion model, that will form an integral contribution to the Virtual Delta. The impact of natural and man-made changes (in geometry and bathymetry) and implementation of mitigation measures on salt intrusion and processes to reduce salt intrusion will be investigated.

The PhD candidate will work closely with other members of the SALTISolutions program to develop new parameterisations of non-hydrostatic physics and nature based solutions. Analysis of the data will provide important new physical insights into the role of the coupled system on salt intrusion. In collaboration with others we will advance our understanding of how salt intrusion could be impacted by deepening of estuaries, opening of gates and locks, nature based solutions and climate change. The candidate will explore the role of individual physical mechanisms on salt intrusion in the Rhine-Meuse Delta on intra- and inter-annual time scales. The candidate will work closely with fellow SALTISolutions PhD’s and Post-docs. The PhD candidate will be supervised by Prof. Dr. Julie Pietrzak.

Position #2 SALTIsolutions TUD00661 is to be found via this link.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


  • MSc degree in Civil Engineering (with a specialisation in Environmental/Geophysical Fluid Mechanics), Mathematics, Physical Oceanography or related discipline
  • excellent ability to think conceptually and quantitatively
  • excellent ability to communicate in English both in speech and in writing
  • interest in estuarine processes and/or (bio)geomorphological interactions (sediment, hydrodynamics, vegetation)
  • good organisational skills and ability to work independently and in a team
  • affinity with technical aspects of data processing and numerical modeling
  • excellent communication skills and a capacity and willingness to interact with the end-users and stakeholders of the research

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

TU Delft offers PhD-candidates a 4-year contract, with an official go/no go progress assessment after one year. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2395 per month in the first year to € 3061 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact! 


Faculty Civil Engineering & Geosciences

The Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences (CEG) is committed to outstanding international research and education in the field of civil engineering, applied earth sciences, traffic and transport, water technology, and delta technology. Our research feeds into our educational programmes and covers societal challenges such as climate change, energy transition, resource depletion, urbanisation and the availability of clean water, conducted  in close cooperation with a wide range of research institutions. CEG is convinced that Open Science helps to achieve our goals and supports its scientists in integrating Open Science in their research practice. The Faculty of CEG comprises 28 research groups in the following seven departments: Materials Mechanics Management & Design, Engineering Structures, Geoscience and Engineering, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Transport & Planning, Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences.

The Department of Hydraulic Engineering is mainly concerned with major surface water bodies such as rivers, estuaries and seas. The focus is on understanding, designing and implementing human interventions in the natural environment for the discharge of water, for protection against water, for transport over water and for building in water. The Department covers a several research areas, including Environmental Fluid Mechanics, Coastal Engineering and Ports & Waterways. We aim to provide an excellent academic education for future generations of hydraulic engineers and scientists, in an internationally highly respected tradition.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2395—€3061 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD00669


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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