PhD Position Bio-receptive concrete for the NWO project Hidden-Biodiversity

PhD Position Bio-receptive concrete for the NWO project Hidden-Biodiversity

Published Deadline Location
8 Jun 30 Jun Delft

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Will you quantify the performance of moss layers that will increase the ecological value of concrete?

Job description

Bio-receptive concrete supports spontaneous and abundant growth of specifically mosses but also other types of vegetation. In a number of currently running demonstrator projects spontaneous and abundant growth of moss on specifically developed bio-receptivity concrete products has been shown. In these demonstrators it was observed that specific concretes developed a dense and biodiverse moss layer within a period of 3–6 months.

Task of the PhD candidate in this project is to quantify the performance of the moss layer with respect to ecosystem services it delivers and to establish its ecological value to society. Targeted performance of moss-receptive concrete products address the following functional properties: removal of air contaminants, water retention, heat stress reduction, noise reduction, aesthetic appearance, moss biodiversity increase, provision of habitat for invertebrates, CO2 mitigation, biomass production and possibly the extension of service life of the supporting concrete products. Each functional property presumably increases the ecological value of the concrete product. Subsequently societal cost benefit assessment (SCBA) of the bio-receptive concrete products covering the economic, environmental, and societal value it delivers is also part of the task of the PhD candidate. Bio-receptive concrete products are thought to become important assets for climate change adaptation in cities.

The PhD project is part of the Hidden-Biodiversity project financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) under the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA). Hidden-Biodiversity comprises a diverse consortium of partners from universities, universities of applied sciences, municipalities, companies, nature organisations and other societal stakeholders. The candidate will work closely together with different consortium partners and in particular with three other PhD candidates, who will address soil animal diversity (VU Amsterdam), the role of trees as habitat for urban hidden biodiversity (Leiden University/Hortus botanicus Leiden), and Tree-associated soil biodiversity and urban topology (Naturalis, Leiden).

The PhD project will be carried out at the TU Delft, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Materials & Environment section. The candidate will be supervised by Prof. Dr. Henk Jonkers and Dr. Marc Ottelé.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


The candidate must have a MSc degree in a relevant field (for example environmental engineering, architecture, civil engineering, material science) with a strong interest in biology and/or measuring ecosystem services nature can deliver. Excellent knowledge of the English language (written and verbal) and at least basic knowledge of the Dutch language is essential, as well as a scientific and critical attitude, outstanding time management and organisational skills, and the ability to work independently as well as collaboratively within the project consortium. The candidate should have good communication skills and be enthusiastic to contribute to knowledge dissemination and outreach activities within the Hidden-Biodiversity project.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2443 per month in the first year to € 3122 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.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • €2443—€3122 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD02389


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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