PhD Position Water Quality Modeling Under a Changing Climate

PhD Position Water Quality Modeling Under a Changing Climate

Published Deadline Location
8 Mar 9 Apr Amsterdam

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Do you have a passion for science and want to have impact on the health of current and future generations? Then the Amsterdam Institute for Life and Environment (A-LIFE) of the VU Amsterdam would like to get to know you. Apply for the position of:

Job description

This 4-year, fully-funded PhD position is embedded in the EU project SPRINGS “Supporting Policy Regulations and Interventions to Negate aggravated Global diarrheal disease due to future climate Shocks”. SPRINGS aims to better understand the impact of climate change on the burden of water-borne infectious disease. It is an extensive international and multidisciplinary project, with involvement of climate scientists, microbiologists, medical professionals and social scientists from all over the world. The PhD project will specifically focus on (modelling of) the impact of climate on microbiological water quality over space and time. Within the same work package, you will collaborate with another PhD candidate working on water quantity modelling at IHE Delft Institute for water education. You will be enrolled in SENSE, the Research School for Socio-economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment, which offers training and support.

We are looking for someone with a strong computational background and an education in microbiology, environmental science, or similar. You will further develop an existing geospatial water quality model to the specifics of four diarrheal disease pathogens and adapt it to allow for changing hydrological and climate conditions. You will apply your model to two case study areas in Romania and Ghana, under past, current, and future climate conditions. Come join our team and make a meaningful impact on global health!

Your duties
  • Development and application of a microbiological water quality model based on an existing chemical water quality model;
  • Two one-month work visits to project partners in Romania and Ghana;
  • Writing reports and scientific publications;
  • Publishing the obtained results in peer reviewed journals, which will contribute to the final PhD thesis;
  • Contributing to the preparation and reporting of deliverables of the SPRINGS project related to the PhD research;
  • Contributing and participating in the project (SPRINGS) activities where necessary;
  • Presenting the project results at national and international conferences and symposia;
  • Contributing to the department’s education programme;
  • Writing and successfully defending a PhD thesis.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • Master’s degree in microbiology, risk assessment, environmental science, hydrology or related natural science discipline;
  • Basic knowledge of chemistry and biology and affinity with water quality and related health risks;
  • Strong computational skills with R;
  • Affinity with inter-disciplinary science;
  • High energy multi-tasker with excellent organizational skills;
  • Ability to work independently, pro-actively and in collaboration with others;
  • Strong oral and written communication skills in English

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A challenging position in a socially engaged organisation. At VU Amsterdam, you contribute to education, research and service for a better world. And that is valuable. So in return for your efforts, we offer you:
  • a salary of € 2.770,00 (PhD) and maximum € 3.539,00 (PhD) gross per month in the fourth year, for a full-time employment. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 1.0 FTE.
  • The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for another 3 years.
  • The period of appointment is 48 months, starting 1st July 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.

We also offer you attractive fringe benefits and arrangements. Some examples:
  • A full-time 38-hour working week comes with a holiday leave entitlement of 232 hours per year. If you choose to work 40 hours, you have 96 extra holiday leave hours on an annual basis. For part-timers, this is calculated pro rata.
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

About A-LIFE

The position is offered within the Amsterdam Institute of Life and Environment (A-LIFE) department at the Faculty of Science of the VU Amsterdam. A-LIFE is created by the merger between the departments of Ecology, Environment and Health, and Molecular Cell Biology.

Faculty of Science
Researchers and students at VU Amsterdam’s Faculty of Science tackle fundamental and complex scientific problems to help pave the way for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, and from molecules to the moon: we cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. Our teaching and research have a strong experimentally technical, computational and interdisciplinary nature.

We work on new solutions guided by value-driven, interdisciplinary methodologies. We are committed to research, valorisation and training socially engaged citizens of the world who will make valuable contributions to a sustainable, healthy future.

Are you interested in joining the Faculty of Science? You will join undergraduate students, PhD candidates and researchers at the biggest sciences faculty in the Netherlands. You will combine a professional focus with a broad view of the world. We are proud of our collegial working climate, characterised by committed staff, a pragmatic attitude and engagement in the larger whole. The faculty is home to over 11,000 students enrolled in 40 study programmes. It employs over 1,600 professionals spread across 10 academic departments.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam stands for values-driven education and research. We are open-minded experts with the ability to think freely. - a broader mind. Maintaining an entrepreneurial perspective and concentrating on diversity, significance and humanity, we work on sustainable solutions with social impact. By joining forces, across the boundaries of disciplines, we work towards a better world for people and planet. Together we create a safe and respectful working and study climate, and an inspiring environment for education and research. Learn more about our codes of conduct

We are located on one physical campus, in the heart of Amsterdam's Zuidas business district, with excellent location and accessibility. Over 5,500 staff work at the VU and over 30,000 students attend academic education.

Diversity is the driving force of the VU. The VU wants to be accessible and receptive to diversity in disciplines, cultures, ideas, nationalities, beliefs, preferences and worldviews. We believe that trust, respect, interest and differences lead to new insights and innovation, to sharpness and clarity, to excellence and a broader understanding.

We stand for an inclusive community and believe that diversity and internationalisation contribute to the quality of education, research and our services.

Therefore, we are always searching for people whose backgrounds and experience contribute to the diversity of the VU community.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences; Engineering; Health
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3843


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1108, 1081HZ, Amsterdam

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