PhD Position on Quantitative Water Resources Systems Modelling

PhD Position on Quantitative Water Resources Systems Modelling

Published Deadline Location
18 Mar 1 May Utrecht

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Join our team to develop tools that support equitable and robust climate adaptation pathways for the water sector!

Job description

The department of Physical Geography is looking for a PhD candidate for a project on operationalising equity in quantitative water resources systems models. Join our team to develop tools that support equitable and robust climate adaptation pathways for the water sector!

Your job
Quantitative water resources systems models help decision-makers evaluate and improve the resilience of water supply systems. However, quantitative modelling frameworks often miss critical social dimensions and power dynamics that dictate outcomes for vulnerable populations. In this PhD position, you will develop new methods to operationalise equity considerations in quantitative water resources systems modelling. Working with a case study in the Federal District of Brazil (FDB), a region with a history of drought and a legacy of inequitable historical development, you will expand an existing modelling framework, explore the equity implications of climate change and socioeconomic uncertainties on the FDB system, and develop new policies to guide equitable and sustainable water supply planning. As part of this PhD research, you will advance the use of tools such as reinforcement learning, high-performance computing, and multi-objective evolutionary optimisation to support robust, adaptive, and equitable urban water supply management policies.

During this project, you will work with other researchers from the department of Physical Geography and with partners from the University of Brasilia. Results may also be shared with stakeholders and influence future policymaking.

This project is a collaboration with partners at the University of Brasilia’s Postgraduate Programme in Environmental Technology and Water Resources.

To support academic and personal development, PhD candidates follow courses and assist in teaching Earth Sciences at Bachelor's and Master's level. Together these activities amount to twenty percent of the contracted time.


Utrecht University


We look forward to your application if you have the following qualifications:
  • an MSc in earth sciences, hydrology, civil engineering, environmental science, or a related field;
  • affinity with numerical modelling, preferably hydrological modelling, systems modelling, or groundwater modelling;
  • prior knowledge in handling large-scale (hydrological) datasets and enthusiasm about working with large datasets and models;
  • interested in interdisciplinary scientific challenges and interactions;
  • good team work skills;
  • excellent English oral and writing skills and willingness to learn Dutch.

Conditions of employment

We offer:
  • a position for one year, with an extension to a total of four years upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period;
  • a working week of 36 hours and a gross monthly salary between €2,770 and €3,539 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale P 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.


  • PhD; Research, development, innovation; Education
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3737



Princetonlaan 8a, 3584CB, Utrecht

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