Postdoc position: “Developing environmental modeling tools for a digital twin to forecast impacts of climate change on the Wadden Sea and Veluwe ecosystem.”

Postdoc position: “Developing environmental modeling tools for a digital twin to forecast impacts of climate change on the Wadden Sea and Veluwe ecosystem.”

Published Deadline Location
20 Apr 31 May Yerseke

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The department of Estuarine and Delta Systems (EDS) of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (Royal NIOZ) is looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher to take part in our research on impacts of climate change on the Wadden Sea and Veluwe ecosystem by co-developing a digital twin. We are searching for a candidate with a background in environmental (ecological) modelling and software development.

Job description

NWO-NIOZ is looking for a highly motivated post-doctoral researcher to join the team of the recently funded LTER-LIFE program, intended to develop a large-scale research infrastructure providing a state-of-the-art e-infrastructure to study and forecast how changes in climate and other human-induced pressures affect ecosystems and biodiversity. This 4-year post-doc position, embedded at the Estuarine and Delta Systems department, will develop software tools and environmental models to assess current functioning and future changes of the Wadden Sea (marine) and the Veluwe (terrestrial) ecosystem. The post-doctoral researcher will be embedded in a large consortium that will apply the modelling tools in a series of use cases to these two ecosystems. The work builds on previous projects and expertise of the LTER-LIFE consortium.



The department of Estuarine and Delta Systems (EDS), located in Yerseke (S. Netherlands), is one of four research departments of NIOZ. EDS studies how the interplay between organisms, hydrodynamics, sediment dynamics and biochemistry shapes the estuarine and delta environment in the context of natural and human-induced environmental changes. An important focus of our research is how these abiotic-biotic interactions create value for society, following for examples of the “Building with Nature” paradigm or investigating sustainable sources of marine biomass for food.



One of the grand challenges in ecology is to understand and forecast how ecosystems are impacted by changes in environmental conditions, and external pressures. Predicting how complex ecosystems will behave under different scenarios requires combining empirical and observational data. To truly predict how ecosystems and landscapes will respond to current and future global change, we need to increase the availability of existing environmental long-term data, integrate disparate types of ecological data, and create a user-friendly and secure cloud-based digital modelling and simulation platforms (so-called ‘digital twins’) that can be used to link data to models and scenarios. The funding from NWO for setting up this large research infrastructure is 10 years; we will start by developing digital twins for the Wadden Sea and the Veluwe. The project is coordinated by the Netherlands Institute for Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), with partners from NIOZ (Texel and Yerseke), the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the University of Amsterdam (UvA), and Wageningen University and Research (WUR).



You will focus on developing software tools and creating environmental models to estimate the current functioning and impacts of climate change and anthropogenic stressors on the Wadden Sea and Veluwe ecosystem. You will develop process-based models that formalise ecological knowledge on abiotic and biotic relationships. In cooperation with other researchers, you will also develop data-driven models that explore relationships between data using classical statistics, or more contemporary artificial intelligent tools. The software tools to be created will be diverse and may include e.g. models to estimate the effects of droughts and heat waves on primary productivity, on recruitment and mortality of animals, on phenology and food-web interactions.

Tools and models will be made FAIR, (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable). They will be implemented in the open software R (as R-packages), or as Python or Julia notebooks/scripts. A large collection of modelling tools and scripts are already available in the host institution.

Activities include:

  • Working within a multidisciplinary team (software engineers, data scientists, modellers, domain scientists) to develop the digital twin of the Wadden Sea and Veluwe.
  • Cooperating working groups (scientists and stakeholders) to jointly build scenarios on the impacts of climate change on the Wadden Sea and Veluwe ecosystem.
  • Making existing software tools or environmental models ready for uptake in the digital twin.
  • Participating in training courses for data handling and the use of a digital twin to answer generic and specific societal and scientific questions.


Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)


Here are some features that make you the ideal candidate for this post-doctoral research position:

  • You have a PhD in engineering, ecology, biology, oceanography, or a closely related discipline.
  • You have a passion for computer programming and experience in environmental modelling.
  • You have extensive knowledge on ecology.
  • Your scientific performance is demonstrated in peer-reviewed publications.
  • You are a team player, are well organized, are ambitious, and have excellent written and oral communication skills.

We strive to ensure that our staff reflect the diversity of society, including age, gender and cultural background. We therefore very much appreciate candidates who are able to increase the diversity of NIOZ.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 jaar.

Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). We offer a position for a period of 4 years (fulltime). The salary is compliant with the CAO-OI (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes) scale 10 or 11 depending on relevant experience, and includes a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus, and flexible work arrangements.

You may expect attractive secondary employment conditions. We offer generous relocation expenses for employees coming from abroad and support with finding accommodation.

Royal NIOZ EDS is located in the village of Yerseke in the province of Zeeland and lies in the middle of the ‘Delta area’ on the southern border of the Eastern Scheldt. Yerseke offers a diverse but moderate level of facilities, including a thriving tourist industry, shops, sports facilities and primary schools. Within commuting distance, you will find cities like Antwerp, Breda, Goes, Middelburg and Vlissingen.


  • Postdoc
  • Natural sciences; Engineering
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • University graduate


Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)

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Korringaweg 7, 4401 NT, Yerseke

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