PhD position - Salt marsh survival

PhD position - Salt marsh survival

Published Deadline Location
25 Mar 29 Apr Wageningen

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Job description

Are you passionate about understanding how salt marshes survive in changing marine conditions and human influences? Do you want to contribute to predicting their development for coastal protection? If yes, then this may be the perfect opportunity for you!

The Hydrology and Environmental Hydraulics group at Wageningen University and Research is looking for a PhD candidate to investigate the dynamics of salt marshes, with the aim of predicting salt marsh development and determining crucial factors for coastal protection.

Survival of salt marshes depends on feedbacks between plant growth and sediment accumulation, which in turn are governed by conditions at sea. On a global scale, these marine conditions are subject to changes dominated by sealevel rise and intensified storms. Storms play an ambivalent, understudied role in the salt marsh sediment balance by delivering sediment, and cause lateral salt marsh erosion. Detailed processes controlling the long-term residual sediment exchange between salt marshes and the adjacent tidal basin are still poorly understood.

This PhD project takes up the challenge to simulate and predict salt marsh development governed by changing marine conditions and human influence, and, ultimately, to determine prerequisites for salt marsh survival and the resulting coastal protection. The PhD project is co-financed by the NWO-VICI project “Deltas out of shape: regime changes of sediment dynamics in tide-influenced deltas” and the NWO-Perspective programme “Wadden Sea and Estuaries: system Dynamics and sediment management under climate change” (WadSED).

You will work here
The research is embedded within the chair group Hydrology and Environmental Hydraulics, part of the Department of Environmental Sciences. The department’s fundamental research and education concern our living environment: nature, landscape, land use, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, water management, and various competing claims on space
You will be supervised by Prof. Ton Hoitink, and co-supervised by Dr. Roeland van de Vijsel and Dr. Silke Tas.


Wageningen University & Research


You have:
  • a Masters degree or an equivalent degree in Earth Sciences, Civil Engineering, Physics or Applied Mathematics,.
  • a strong interest and preferably experience in morphodynamic model development;
  • enthusiasm and preferably experience in remote sensing and field data collection;
  • good organizational, writing and presentation skills and you can work both independently and in a team.

You also are:
  • committed to finalise a PhD, combined with a training and supervision trajectory;
  • able to participate in courses within the master’s programme Earth and Environment, and to supervise MSc-thesis students within the project;
  • fluent in English language.

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.770 - per month rising to € 3.539,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 19th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.

Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about for example helping your partner to find a job, housing, or schooling.

Finally, certain categories of international staff may be eligible for a tax exemption on a part of their salary during the first five years in the Netherlands.


Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen University & Research
TThe mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 students and over 150,000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch the video below to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


  • PhD
  • Agriculture
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • P1476072-1


Wageningen University & Research

Learn more about this employer


Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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