PhD opening: Functioning and dynamics of biodiverse salt marshes.

PhD opening: Functioning and dynamics of biodiverse salt marshes.

Published Deadline Location
27 May 30 Jun Enschede

Job description

This research position is part of the joint German-Dutch-Danish SALTGARDEN project: Sustainable Adaptive Landscapes through Transdisciplinary Gardening to Advance the Resilience and Dynamics of our Ecological Natural?heritage. The project is part of the trilateral research program ‘Understanding complex pressures on the Wadden Sea and options for action’.

The SALTGARDEN project will investigate the dynamics and resilience of the Wadden Sea salt marshes and their contribution to ecosystem functions and services at all levels. To enable adaptive landscapes with biodiverse and dynamic salt marshes, the researchers aim to develop Nature-based Gardening strategies that balance human interventions and ecological self-regulation. The interdisciplinary research team (consisting of 4 PhDs, 3 Postdocs and their supervisors) will combine engineering, ecological and socio-economic experiments and models to quantify and predict future salt marsh developments, including the impacts on the Wadden Sea communities.

Within SALTGARDEN, you will develop and apply small-scale hydrodynamic models as well as large-scale biogeomorpological models. In collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark you will develop a detailed Computational Fluid Dynamics (OpenFOAM) model to simulate and quantify the trapping of microplastics in salt marsh vegetation. Next, you will integrate the vegetation development and interactions of biodiverse salt marshes (investigated by another PhD within the SALTGARDEN project) in a landscape-scale biogeomorphological model (Delft3D) to predict the landscape development of dynamic salt marshes towards the 21st century. Your findings will help to quantify the temporal evolution of the contribution of biodiverse, dynamic salt marshes to pollution filtering and coastal protection in the Wadden Sea.

The SALTGARDEN consortium is a collaboration between 6 universities, 3 research institutes, a landscape architect, area managers and NGOs. As a member of the SALTGARDEN team you will closely interact with your UT supervisors as well as fellow researchers within the consortium. Regular consortium meetings will accommodate knowledge exchange with our partners, increasing the relevance and impact of your research. Furthermore, you will present your work at (inter)national conferences and publish your findings in journal papers and a PhD thesis.


University of Twente (UT)


  • MSc in Coastal Engineering, Physical Geography or related discipline.
  • You are experienced in hydraulic modelling (e.g. Delft3D, OpenFOAM).
  • You have sound programming skills (e.g Python, Matlab).
  • You have experience with data collection in the lab/field and data analysis.
  • Your organizational skills are good.
  • You are enthusiastic, independent and have a problem solving attitude
  • You are willing to contribute to the Civil Engineering teaching program and to supervise MSc thesis projects.
  • You are fluent in English, both spoken and written (IELTS >= 6.5 or equivalent).

Conditions of employment

  • Challenging work in an inspiring multidisciplinary environment with enthusiastic colleagues.
  • Four-year fulltime PhD position, with a qualifier exam after 6-9 months
  • Full status as an employee at the UT, including pension and health care benefits
  • Tailor-made educational/development program of at least 6 months (30 EC), including visits to conferences.
  • A starting salary of €2.770,- gross per month in the first year and increasing to €3.539,- gross per month in the fourth year.
  • An annual holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, and an annual year-end bonus of 8.3%.
  • Minimum of 29 holidays per year in case of fulltime employment.
  • You have to be willing to move to (the vicinity of) Enschede. A relocation allowance or temporary housing allowance may be part of the offer.
  • The University of Twente is situated on a green and lively campus with lots of facilities for sports and other activities.
  • We provide excellent mentorship and a stimulating research environment to accelerate your further professional and personal growth.

Your first responsibility is to carry out the research, but you also will acquire teaching experience (about 10% of your time). We support you to broaden your knowledge by joining international exchange programs, by participating in national and international conferences and workshops and by visiting industrial companies, research institutes, and universities worldwide.

Additional information

For more information about the position, you can contact Dr. ir. Erik Horstman (

Please upload your application via the ‘Apply now’ button before 30 June 2024.
Your application should include a cover letter (emphasizing your specific interest, motivation and qualifications), a detailed CV, an academic transcript of BS. and MSc education, result of an English test (if you attended a non-English taught MSc program), a publication list (if applicable) and contact details of two referees.
Since only three documents can be uploaded per application, please combine documents if needed. An interview and a scientific presentation will be part of the selection procedure.

The first selection interviews are scheduled for 9 July 2024, preferably in person for those living within day-trip distance from Enschede. If needed, a second round of interviews will be scheduled for 16 July 2024.

We aim for this project to start November 1st 2024.
We also welcome students to apply who expect to have finished their MSc thesis by this time.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1793


University of Twente (UT)

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Drienerlolaan 5, 7522NB, Enschede

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 30 Jun 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).