PhD Postion Developing a Digital Twin for Soil Ecosystem Services in Amsterdam

PhD Postion Developing a Digital Twin for Soil Ecosystem Services in Amsterdam

Published Deadline Location
23 May 1 Jul Delft

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Challenge: Using soil ecosystem services to extend the life time of urban infrastructure in old cities.
Change: Climate adaptation and focus on sustainability is having more and more impact on the engineering of urban infrastructure. Including soil ecosystem services in the engineering can reduce the ecological footprint of infrastructure projects.
Impact: Longer lifetime of infrastructure with a lower maintenance cost, combined with a better living environment by optimally benefitting from naturally available ecosystem services.

Job description

Soil is a living system in which many processes useful to society already occur naturally. Better understanding of these processes lead to better management of the soil and the infrastructure lying on or in it. Because many of the processes are dynamic and highly dependent on the physical and chemical boundary conditions prevailing in the soil, it is important to understand and predict how these conditions change in time. This requires a fusion of measurements and models. In this project we will focus on the interplay between tree roots and urban infrastructure.

The ambition of this project is to create a 'digital twin' of the ecosystem services of the urban soil/subsoil in Amsterdam. Ecosystem services include: storing water in the unsaturated zone; draining water via groundwater; sequestering carbon; filtering and breaking down contaminants in groundwater; providing a growth environment for soilorganisms and plant roots; providing carrying capacity for infrastructure; providing biological activity for biological soil improvement; storing and supplying heat and cold. The digital twin is a tool that guides development of new infrastructure and maintenance of old infrastructure.

You will be based at the department of Geoscience & Engineering within the faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences in Delft. There will be a close working relationship with the AMS-institute in Amsterdam. The data and case-studies will be provided by the city of Amsterdam.       


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


As a recent graduate with an MSc degree, you're ready to harness your analytical skills and innate curiosity to create a more sustainable urban environment. We value all perspectives in our complex, trans-disciplinary team where you will team up with many stakeholders as we work together to make a lasting impact.

You also have:

  • a MSc-degree in Geosciences, Environmental Sciences or Applied Physics;
  • a strong back-ground in Programming and Software Engineering and Data Analysis;
  • some experience with GIS systems;  


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. Ideally, you will also have some proficiency in Dutch. 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 € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 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 a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.


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 as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

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 availability, urbanisation and clean water. Our research projects are conducted in close cooperation with a wide range of research institutions. CEG is convinced of the importance of open science 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.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD05373


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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