Utrecht University and Deltares
are searching for a PhD candidate as part of the project ‘Floating Future - Scaling up floating structures as climate-proof space-creating solution enabling societal, industrial and ecological win-wins’. Your job
The Floating Future research project
aims at answering the question: ‘How can we keep our densely populated country liveable?’.
We will investigate possibilities of flood resilient, multifunctional, and inclusive living space on the water enabled by large floating structures. However, so far the ecological effects and water quality effects of large-scale floating constructions remain largely unknown.
Your task as part of our team will be to gain understanding how large-scale floating structures can be designed so that they minimise negative ecological impacts, maximise opportunities for restoring ecosystems and their services and include aquaculture. The environmental effects depend on the scale of the floating structure relative to the dimensions of the lake or sea, as well on how the edges of the floating structures are shaped for nature and aquaculture targets.
Within this project, you will design ‘scenarios’ for 3D numerical modelling of physical and biological processes around floating infrastructure using DFLOW-FM and possibly other model systems. You will (learn how to) couple mostly existing modules for hydrodynamics, suspended particulate matter, nutrient dynamics and the resulting primary and secondary production. Hydrodynamics specialists from Deltares will help with this. Then you will investigate effects of floating infrastructure on water quality, ecological impact and possible tipping points in the ecosystem. This means that you will work on a range of systems with different structure and characteristics, such as freshwater, brackish or fully marine. Models will be validated against existing and new data sets. The outcomes of these different models will be combined in an overall assessment regarding the ecological status of the system.
You will work closely together with your supervisors from Deltares and Utrecht University, other researchers from the different institutes, and (inter-)national collaborators. Your time will be spent at the UU (25%) and at Deltares (75%). You will closely collaborate with two other PhD candidates, focusing on optimizing the design of the edges of the floating systems for ecological purposes and on integrating seaweed cultivation into the floating structures.
To support academic and personal development, PhD candidates follow courses and assist in teaching Earth Sciences at Bachelor's and Master's level. Together these activities amount to twenty per cent of the contracted time.