EngD Position Pre-treatment of Tile Drainage Water for Subsurface Water Storage and Re-Use in the Dutch Coastal Delta

EngD Position Pre-treatment of Tile Drainage Water for Subsurface Water Storage and Re-Use in the Dutch Coastal Delta

Published Deadline Location
15 Mar 16 Apr Delft

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Develop water management solutions to enable climate-proof agriculture!

Job description

Would you like to extend your knowledge, practical work experience and get an Engineering Doctorate degree (EngD) in the water sector in only two years’ time?  The faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) offers you a program where you will find a solution for a practical, integrated and complex problem in cooperation with a company. You study, on average, two days per week at the TU Delft, following dedicated courses, and apply your learnings three days per week on the project in practice.

We offer a 2-year EngD position, financed by the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO) to research and design a full-scale water pre-treatment system for tile drainage water from agricultural fields that meets quality standards for subsequent aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) in underlying brackish aquifers. The fresh water can be subsequently used as irrigation water in dry summers. The position is embedded in the research project AGRICOAST Climate-resilient agriculture in the Dutch salinizing coastal delta: innovative water management, adaptive agriculture, and promising transition pathways. You will become part of a team including researchers in varying scientific and engineering disciplines. Four PhD candidates have already started in autumn 2022.

Tile drainage water (TDW) is a promising new water source for ASR but challenges existing treatment options due to its high variability with respect to quantity and quality. To enable ASR, TDW should have a low clogging potential and has to meet stringent water quality regulations in the Netherlands for infiltration into the subsurface. Pre-treatment solutions need to address high nutrient concentrations, the presence of plant pathogens, and potentially pesticides that are now regulated at extremely low concentrations (0,05-0.1 μg/L for individual pesticides and 0.5 μg/L for total pesticides). A combination of biodegradation and adsorption for the removal of nutrients and pesticides seems promising but currently no tailored TDW pre-treatment solution is available on the market.

In this EngD position you will combine field research at existing pilots in the Northern Provinces of the Netherlands with laboratory experiments and cost analyses to identify suitable treatment options for TDW. For that you will

  1. analyze pesticide and nutrient loads in TDW from a 1-year field monitoring campaign,
  2. develop conceptual designs and cost estimations for treatment solutions
  3. evaluate treatment performances in laboratory and field scale and
  4. suggest a robust and cost-effective design that require at the same time minimal maintenance and has a small footprint.

You will collaborate with the 4 PhD candidates in AGRICOAST on the interlinkages between the subprojects. You are part of a large consortium with various partners and stakeholders including companies, knowledge institutions, water management and agricultural organizations, and individual farmers.

You will be supervised by dr. Kim M. Lompe and dr. Boris van Breukelen. Various AGRICOAST supervisors and collaborators including from the company Acacia Water will provide additional expertise and feedback to your research in terms of utilization potential.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)



  • MSc in Chemical/Process Engineering or MSc related to Water treatment
  • Strong background and interest in water treatment technologies (relevant course work/ work experience)
  • Independent, self-motivated, curiosity-driven mind, open to communicate and collaborate with peers and partners as proven by previous experience
  • A scientific attitude and analytical skills combined with a hands-on mentality
  • Excellent spoken and written English


  • Experience to design and carry out bench-scale lab experiments proven by previous practical or research projects
  • Dutch language skills

Doing an EngD 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 courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. Please take note of the details provided in this PDF document.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 2 year.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. Compulsory and elective courses for the project will be provided and a proper guidance for the project. We offer a stimulating working environment both at TU Delft and at the pilot location. 

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.

Department of Water Management

In the Department of Water Management, about 35 full time staff members, 120 PhD candidates and 20 post-docs, teach and perform research on the full breadth of water management ranging from meteorology, groundwater and surface water hydrology, urban water infrastructure, to water treatment and re-use. Our quality of research, viability, and societal relevance are rated as ‘excellent’, meaning internationally leading in its field of expertise. Researchers in the Water Management department like to take the “path less travelled” in research and education to produce path-breaking and original advances in understanding and solving complex water engineering challenges.


  • Research, development, innovation
  • Engineering
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • TUD02149


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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