PhD candidate Understanding swash zone sand dynamics using detailed numerical models

PhD candidate Understanding swash zone sand dynamics using detailed numerical models

Published Deadline Location
15 Apr 15 May Enschede

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Job description

The prospective candidate will work in the project “Shaping the beach: cross-shore sand transport in the swash zone”. This project is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

The highly dynamic swash zone sand transport processes are not fully understood and no generally-valid numerical swash zone sand transport models are available. This greatly hampers the prediction of beach and shoreline evolution, and the sediment exchange between the wet and dry part of the beach. The Shaping The Beach projects aims to develop a new parameterisation for sand transport in the swash zone, through a combination of detailed wave flume experiments and advanced numerical modeling.

The project accommodates 1 PhD position and 2 Post-Doc positions at the University of Twente (Faculty of Engineering Technology, ET) in close co-operation with Deltares and Delft University of Technology. The Shaping The Beach project collaborates with researchers from the Technical University of Catalunya (Spain), University of Delaware (USA) and University of Aberdeen (UK), and requires interaction with end-users from the Dutch public and private water sector.

PhD project description
The PhD candidate will focus on understanding and modelling swash zone sand dynamics. Two detailed numerical models that resolve the low- and high-frequency intra-swash fluid motion will be used: the depth-resolving (2DV) OpenFoam model and the depth-averaged (1D) XBeach model. Both models will be improved for the simulation of swash zone sand transport and morphodynamics by implementing novel formulations for turbulence, bed shear stress, sand pick-up, sediment mixing, and bedload transport on the basis of new and existing data. As a final step, both models will be used to investigate trends in net transport rate for systematic variation in hydrodynamic and sand conditions, to identify the most significant processes determining net transport, and to suggest ways of parameterising swash zone sand transport in less detailed wave-averaged numerical models, as generally used in practice (e.g. Delft3D).

The research will be executed partly at the University of Twente, under supervision of the promotor (prof.dr. S.J.M.H. Hulscher) and daily supervisor ( J.J. van der Werf), Deltares under supervision of dr. ir. R.T. McCall and dr. N.G. Jacobsen and Delft University of Technology (promotor A.J.H.M. Reniers).


University of Twente (UT)


We seek an enthusiastic, talented researcher with a background in or affinity with numerical modelling and coastal morphodynamics. Possible backgrounds are Masters in Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics, Physics or a related field. As the candidate is expected to collaborate closely with the two Post-Docs and end-users, we welcome entrepreneurial candidates with an open mind and strong communicative skills. Excellent comprehension of English, in both spoken language and writing, is necessary and comprehension of the Dutch language has a strong advantage. Some of the desired skills can be acquired during an individual training programme of 840 hours that is part of the PhD project.

More information and application
For more information about this vacancy you can contact Jebbe van der Werf, e-mail:, telephone: +31 88 335 7959. More information about the department can be found on

The start of the project is planned 1 September 2018.

Please send your application, with a curriculum vitae, transcript (list with grades of courses attended), references and, if applicable, a list of publications before 15th of May 2018 through the button below. Since only three documents can be uploaded per application, please combine documents if needed.

Conditions of employment

We offer a 4-year position as a PhD candidate. The salary starts at € 2222,- gross per month for the first year and extends to a maximum of € 2840,- gross per month in the fourth year (in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). In addition, the University of Twente offers attractive fringe benefits.


The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) is one of the five faculties of the University of Twente. ET combines Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our faculty has approximately 1800 bachelor and master students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates. The departments of the faculty cooperatively conduct the educational programmes and participate in interdisciplinary research projects, programmes and the research institutes: MIRA, CTIT, SBE and IGS.


  • PhD positions
  • Natural Sciences; Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2222—€2840 per month
  • University Graduate
  • 966792


University of Twente (UT)

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