Optimizing dike-forest combinations for safety & ecological value – wave damping performance & model development

Optimizing dike-forest combinations for safety & ecological value – wave damping performance & model development

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8 Jul 5 Sep Delft

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Are you the one who is getting a doctoral degree on the quantification of the wave damping capacities of WOODY vegetation?

Job description

We are looking for a PhD candidate to strengthen our new WOODY project team. WOODY is a multidisciplinary project funded by the Netherlands organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). It involves a comprehensive study on the use of woody vegetation in Nature Based Flood Defences to enhance flood safety. The project explicitly aims to provide the fundamental understanding needed, to move from science to practice, in implementing integrated Nature-management & Nature-Based Flood Defenses. However, at this moment we lack the tools to reliably predict the flood-defence value of woody wetlands. Moreover, we do not yet know if the nature-quality goals are compatible with flood-defence goals. In this project we aim to resolve these questions.
The PhD candidate will work on the quantification of the wave damping capacities of WOODY vegetation (Work Package 1). The main aims are as follows:

  • Determine the wave attenuation by woody vegetation under storm conditions using a full scale flume test. 
  • Determine the scale effects of small scale physical models when modelling woody vegetation.
  • Determine the wave loads on sea defences which are protected by woody vegetation.
  • Develop implementation of flexible vegetation in numerical and/or analytical models.

At the heart of the research are the results of a full scale experimental campaign in the Delta Flume that has been performed in 2018, but not yet fully analysed. The candidate will perform small scale tests to determine scale effects. It is also envisaged that the candidate will beinvolved in planning and running a new large scale testing program in the Delta Flume. The results will be incorporated in engineering-type numerical models. Within WOODY, you will cooperate with a PhD condidate be working on the ecological aspects of the (Dutch) forests. Moreover, a postdoc will be involved in implementing the developed knowledge in more practical guidelines.
The candidate will work in a research team that involves TU Delft, NIOZ, and Deltares, which will actively interact with Dutch industry and governmental partners. The acadmic core of the project will consist of 1 PhD position at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), and 1 PhD position (this vacancy) and 1 Post-doc at Delft University of Technology (DUT). The team is led by dr. Bas Hofland (TUD) in collaboration with prof. Tjeerd Bouma at NIOZ, dr. Van Wesenbeeck at Deltares. At the TUD, you will receive co-supervision from professors Stefan Aarninkhof, Bas Jonkman and Wim Uijttewaal.
This 4 year PhD position starts on 1 January 2020 at the earliest. The exact starting date for the position is negotiable to some extent.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


The candidate should have an MSc degree in Hydraulic Engineering, Physical Geography, Earth system science or related discipline. In order to work together within the project the candidate has to be a good team player, with the ability to work independently. Moreover, an excellent ability to think conceptually and quantitatively, and excellent ability to communicate in English, both orally and in writing, are required. As several physical modelling campaigns are part of this work package, experience in hydraulic physical modelling is highly preferable. The final results will be implemented in a numerical model, hence experience with numerical modelling of waves and programming skills are also valued.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The minimum salary mentioned is the salary in your first year. The salary mentioned as the maximum will be your salary in your fourth year.
As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit TU Delft Graduate School for more information.


Technische Universiteit Delft

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is a multifaceted institution offering education and carrying out research in the technical sciences at an internationally recognised level. Education, research and design are strongly oriented towards applicability. TU Delft develops technologies for future generations, focusing on sustainability, safety and economic vitality. At TU Delft you will work in an environment where technical sciences and society converge. TU Delft comprises eight faculties, unique laboratories, research institutes and schools.


Faculty Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Are you the one who is getting a doctoral degree on the quantification of the wave damping capacities of WOODY vegetation?
The Faculty of Civil Engineering and 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. The research covers global social issues and is closely connected to education as well as the work of a wide range of knowledge institutions. CEG is convinced that Open Science helps to realise these goals 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.
Within the Hydraulic Engineering department, this positon is open. Please find more information via the department website and the research project WOODY.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2325—€2972 per month
  • University graduate
  • CiTG19.44


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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