PhD Position on Artificial Intelligence for Collaborative Climate Risk Management

PhD Position on Artificial Intelligence for Collaborative Climate Risk Management

Published Deadline Location
8 Jul 15 Aug Delft

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Challenge: Develop AI techniques for supporting transdisciplinary dialogue on climate risk management.
Change: Unilateral, individual climate risk management strategies to integrated, collaborative strategies.
Impact: Open and safe ‘soft spaces’ for two-way exchange on and knowledge co-creation for a societal challenge.

Job description

Climate changes, such as sea level rise, soil subsidence, extreme rainfall, and drought, induce new challenges and risks for real estate and infrastructures, especially in low lying urbanized deltas, as in the Netherlands. While people’s homes, communities, and livelihoods are at stake, real estate climate risks also stand to destabilize markets and society at large. Climate risk management requires collaborative, integrated strategies that cut across public, private, and civic spheres to achieve societal impact.

Your goal, in this PhD project, is to develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques for supporting an Integrative Forum (IF), which facilitates two-way exchange and knowledge co-creation on climate risk management. The IF, on the one hand, provides a ‘soft space’ for debate and reflection between research teams, societal partners, and citizens at large. On the other hand, the dialogue in the IF provides an opportunity for innovative research on institutionalized logics, tactics, and procedures that hinder or enable effective cross-disciplinary collaboration.

AI (e.g., natural language processing, and knowledge representation and reasoning) techniques can support the IF by, for example, recognizing the stakeholders’ values and norms, clustering and visualizing stakeholders’ arguments and perspectives, identifying disagreements, finding novel viewpoints, and modelling opinion dynamics over time.

The data for AI techniques comes from the recordings and transcripts (obtained with appropriate permissions) of the meetings in the forum, which will be organized regularly during the project. Further, where available, we can employ discursive data outside the forum, e.g., on social and news media.

You will address the following preliminary research objectives, which will be refined by you in cooperation with your supervision team.

  • Generate cross-disciplinary research insights and build collective governance capacity through dialogue, reflection, and mutual learning facilitated within the Integrative Forum and other ‘soft spaces’ of the consortium.
  • Leverage AI to draw out stakeholders’ institutionalized logics, tactics and procedures in order to facilitate cross-consortium reflection and learning and build collective governance capacity.
    Create generalizable institutional and strategic insights about how to enable productive two-way transdisciplinary and cross-actor exchanges which build capacity for integrated climate risk management in the built environment, and which can be leveraged in comparable urban regions in the Netherlands and beyond.

This PhD position is part of Work Package 5 (WP5) of the Real Estate Development & Building in Low Urban Environments (RED&BLUE) research initiative, a major new program funded by the Dutch Research Council. This initiative aims to develop transdisciplinary knowledge on climate resilient real estate and infrastructure development.  More information can be found at: In addition to you, WP5 involves a postdoctoral researcher, with whom you will closely collaborate.

As a member of the RED&BLUE team, you will do high-impact research on a pressing societal topic relevant within the Netherlands and beyond. Your research will enable you to actively collaborate with other researchers and societal partners, providing you with exceptional mentorship, personal development, and networking opportunities. You will also build upon the work of other researchers and real-world urban use cases. For this reason, we also emphasize that international PhD candidates should be willing to learn Dutch to at least B1/B2 level after one year.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


The candidate must have:

  • Completed an MSc degree in Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, or another field relevant to the PhD topic, e.g., Spatial Planning, with completed AI, Computer Science, or related courses.
  • Demonstrated competence or strong interest in a relevant artificial intelligence topic such as natural language processing, social computing, or multiagent systems.
  • Strong programming skills.
  • Excellent spoken and written English, required for scientific publishing. If your native language is not English and you do not hold a degree from an institution in which English is the language of instruction, you must submit proof of English proficiency from either TOEFL (minimum total score of 100) or IELTS (minimum total score of 7.0).
  • A good command of the Dutch language, considering the consortium members and case studies of this research as well as the societal dissemination of your results to Dutch audiences. If the candidate does not speak Dutch, (s)he should be willing to learn Dutch as the first priority, and we expect the candidate to reach the Dutch B1/B2 language level within one year.
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to switch between operational and managerial levels within the various disciplines that are part of this research.

Team spirit and an open personality, particularly for cooperation with colleagues across disciplines and for co-supervision of students.

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

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

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 Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) brings together three disciplines - electrical engineering, mathematics and computer science. Combined, they reinforce each other and are the driving force behind the technology we use in our daily lives. Technology such as the electricity grid, which our faculty is helping to make future-proof. We are also working on a world in which humans and computers reinforce each other. We are mapping out disease processes using single cell data, and using mathematics to simulate gigantic ash plumes after a volcanic eruption. There is plenty of room here for ground-breaking research. We educate innovative engineers and have excellent labs and facilities that underline our strong international position. In total, more than 1,100 employees and 4,000 students work and study in this innovative environment.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD02415


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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