Postdoc Position: Modelling of Extreme Droughts in the European Mountains

Postdoc Position: Modelling of Extreme Droughts in the European Mountains

Published Deadline Location
14 Mar 15 Apr Utrecht

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Do you want to investigate which role the European mountains play in buffering extreme droughts? Check this postdoc position!

Job description

As part of the EU Water4All European Partnership project MEGAWAT (Megadroughts in the Water towers of Europe), we are seeking a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher to join our team and contribute to exciting new research on the hydrological impacts of extreme droughts across major European watersheds.

Your job
Working in the mountain hydrology group, you will use a detailed land-surface model to simulate the past and present-day hydrology of the European water towers under extreme drought conditions, and elucidate the role of glaciers and the cryosphere in general as a buffer of droughts and megadroughts in particular. You will set up the model and prepare meteorological data with which to force it, use it to run simulations on the high-performance computing cluster, and evaluate its performance using in-situ and remote sensing data.

The goal of the position will be to explore how spatial patterns of runoff generation and water storage have changed during extreme drought events, and how these changes have been modulated by glaciers, snow cover, permafrost and vegetation, demonstrating mechanistic insights into the interactions amongst the cryosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere. This is an exciting opportunity to improve our understanding of the integrated response of complex mountain regions to droughts. You will work closely together with colleagues at the Institute of Science and Technology in Austria and with other international partners. The position is for a duration of 32 months, ideally with a start date in late spring/early summer 2024.


Utrecht University


We look forward to your application if you have multiple of the following qualifications:
  • a PhD degree and expert knowledge in physical geography, hydrology, glaciology, environmental engineering, environmental sciences, atmospheric sciences, or a related field;
  • previous experience in computer modelling and scripting languages (e.g. Python, R);
  • experience with remote sensing, large datasets and high-performance computing in particular is highly desirable, as is past experience with land surface modelling;
  • a proven ability to conduct independent research, as well as to work effectively as a member of a research team;
  • the ability to solve problems creatively and carefully;
  • an excellent command of English;
  • excellent communication, interpersonal, organisational and time management skills.

Conditions of employment

We offer:
  • a position for 32 months;
  • a working week of 38 hours and a gross monthly salary between €3,226 and €4,332 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale 10.0-10.7 under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU));
  • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO NU.

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development, leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities, as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University.


Universiteit Utrecht

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow.

Utrecht University’s Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth’s core to its surface, including man’s spatial and material utilisation of the Earth – always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The team of the department of Physical Geography excels in research and education on BSc, MSc and PhD level. We research processes, patterns and dynamics of Earth’s systems from the mountains to the sea, and the interaction in between. This knowledge is essential for the sustainable management of our planet and to guarantee the availability of resources for the next generations. We are a lively department that hosts an active early career community (PhD candidates, researchers and lecturers). We organise a warm welcome for every new member.


  • Postdoc; Research, development, innovation; Education
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €3226—€5090 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3721



Princetonlaan 8a, 3584CB, Utrecht

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