PhD Position Profile Dynamics of Man-Made Beaches in Mixed-Energy Coastal Environments (1.0 Fte)

PhD Position Profile Dynamics of Man-Made Beaches in Mixed-Energy Coastal Environments (1.0 Fte)

Published Deadline Location
28 May 24 Jun Delft

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Job description

We are searching for a competent and curious candidate interested in a 4-year PhD in the field of Coastal Engineering. The available position is one of two PhD positions within the EURECCA project, a joint research project between Delft University of Technology (DUT) and Utrecht University.

The EURECCA project aims to develop robust and quantitative knowledge of beach change and transport of sediment at locations where currents and waves are both important drivers (mixed-energy systems). Sandy nourishments in front of a flood defense are a novel nature-based engineering approach to guarantee coastal safety. In the recent years, several flood defenses (e.g. dikes, dams) in estuaries and on the inside of barrier islands have been upgraded with sandy foreshores to increase their safety levels. It is however not fully understood how sand behaves in these environments as the forcing is different than the well-studied open coast. Through this project we aim to provide the government, consultants and contractors with a better prediction and evaluation method for these unusual sandy beaches. The project will use the recently completed Prins Hendrikzanddijk (PHZD) nourishment as its primary case study. This Dutch project is located in a unique location on the back side of a barrier island with strong tidal flows (2 m/s) and mostly locally generated wind waves (max. 2m).

As a PhD candidate, you will work on improving the predictive capability for cross-shore profile shape evolution after implementation of nourishments in mixed-energy systems like the PHZD. You will measure and analyze in detail the hydrodynamics and morphodynamics at the PHZD to unravel the delicate balance in physical drivers for coastal profile adjustment. You will be supported during this fieldwork by the TU Delft Coastal Field Lab and its skilled technicians. Field observations are to be translated to industry-standard numerical models to design and evaluate of future sandy interventions. For this element we plan to use the numerical model XBeach.

The PhD candidate will be supervised by dr. Matthieu de Schipper (daily supervisor) and Prof. Stefan Aarninkhof at TU Delft. Dr. Julia Hopkins (Northeastern University, Boston, USA) and Prof. Ad Reniers (DUT) complement the team as external supervisors. You will be collaborating with a PhD candidate at Utrecht University (department of Physical Geography, daily supervision by Dr. Timothy Price) in the same project. Furthermore, the EURECCA research team will work closely with a diverse group of dedicated end-users: Jan de Nul B.V., Waterproof B.V., Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier, Deltares, Arcadis, and the Dutch Ministry of Public Works (Rijkswaterstaat).

This PhD includes a (non-consecutive) 6-month stay at Waterproof B.V. in Lelystad, the Netherlands.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


  • An MSc degree in Hydraulic Engineering, Physical Geography, Earth Surface Processes or related discipline.
  • Excellent ability to think conceptually and quantitatively.
  • Excellent ability to communicate in English both orally and in writing.
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to work alone and in a team.
  • A strong motivation to do fieldwork, data processing and numerical modeling of coastal systems.
  • A strong motivation to (learn how to) communicate your research in journal papers and at (inter)national conferences.
  • A keen interest in broadening the impact of your work outside of the academic setting (e.g. through stakeholder meetings).
  • Willingness to travel and work at the office of Waterproof B.V. (Lelystad) and the field site (Texel) for part of the project.

We are committed to the diversity of our group and explicitly welcome people from all under-represented backgrounds to apply.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

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 for more information.
If your mother language is not English and you do not hold a degree from an institution in which English is the language of instruction, you must submit proof of English proficiency from either TOEFL (minimum total score of 100) or IELTS (minimum total score of 7.0). Proof of English language proficiency certificates older than two years are not accepted.


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. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers both in business and in a social context. TU Delft offers 16 Bachelor’s and 32 Master’s programmes to more than 23,000 students. Our scientific staff consists of 3,500 staff members and 2,800 PhD candidates. Together we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

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 depletion, urbanisation and the availability of clean water, conducted  in close cooperation with a wide range of research institutions. CEG is convinced that Open Science helps to achieve our 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.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences.

The Department of Hydraulic Engineering is mainly concerned with major surface water bodies such as rivers, estuaries and seas. The focus is on understanding, designing and implementing human interventions in the natural environment for the discharge of water, for protection against water, for transport over water and for building in water.

The PhD candidate will be working within the section of Coastal Engineering (CE). The CE section focuses on research and education related to coastal engineering systems, structures and integrated coastal management. The group aims to provide an excellent academic education for future generations of coastal engineers and scientists, based on the international experience and history. The group generates and disseminates academic knowledge in an internationally highly respected tradition.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.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • €2325—€2972 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD00216


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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