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PhD position in long-term beach and dune dynamics due to human and natural processes

Are you interested in beaches and dunes, and the interactions we humans have with these areas? Would you like to join our Marine and Fluvial Systems group, part of the Civil Engineering and Management department, to gain more insight in long-term morphological behavior of beach-dune systems? We are looking for a curious and motivated candidate who has a keen interest in the functioning of coastal systems.

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Key takeaways

  • Hours
    40 hr.
  • Salary indication
    Salary gross/monthly
    based on full-time
    € 2,541 - € 3,247
  • Deadline
    10 Oct 2023


Worldwide, beaches and dunes are attractive places to visit. Over the past decades, increasing coastal population size coupled with improved mobility and more leisure time, have greatly increased the intensity and spatial extent of recreation and related infrastructure on beaches.  As a consequence, the dynamics of these urbanized beach-dune systems are likely no longer only determined by natural processes, but more and more by human activities. Examples are mechanical removal of wind-driven sand deposition near recreational infrastructure, or building protective sand buffers using bulldozers in anticipation of expected storm damage. The aim of this project is to gain insight into the consequences of human use of the beach for the long-term development of beach-dune systems. 

Job description

Your research project concentrates on the following two aspects: (1) Analyzing data sets in order to characterize intermittently occurring human and natural activities that induce bed level changes, such as bulldozing and wind-driven sand transport events, and the interactions between them. The data consists of e.g. hourly laser scans and video imagery of urbanized beaches and meteorological data. (2) Modelling the bed level changes driven by the identified human-natural interactions. Based on your earlier findings from data analysis of observations, you will extend a Cellular Automata model of beach-dune system evolution (DuBeVeg). Using the extended model you will then analyze the long-term consequences of human use of the beach for the development of beach-dune systems. Next to research you will also contribute to our teaching in the Civil Engineering educational program and to supervision of MSc student graduation projects, related to your research topic.

This PhD position is part of the AdaptCoast project, a collaborative project with Delft University of Technology, faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, who will, amongst others, develop video-based, adaptive data collection techniques for automatically identifying and recording intermittently occurring human and natural sand transport related activity at the coast.

Your profile

  • The candidate should hold an MSc degree in the field of geoscience, coastal engineering, applied mathematics, fluid dynamics or a closely related discipline. They should have a good command of the English language, both in speaking and writing, and strong communication skills.
  • We seek an enthusiastic and inventive researcher, with broad interests covering data analysis and numerical modelling in coastal environments.
  • You have sound programming skills for numerical modelling and/or data analysis.
  • You are curious, and intrinsically motivated to dive deep into a challenging topic and learn why systems behave the way they do.
  • Candidates should have a background in, or strong affinity with, geosciences, coastal engineering, applied mathematics or fluid dynamics.
  • In particular, we are looking for an independent researcher who is capable of conceptualizing complex human-natural dynamics into simple models.
  • Consequently we are looking for someone who has a problem solving attitude, can put their teeth into challenges that arise, and is open minded and creative.
  • We consider it important that the candidate is able to put their research in a wider perspective, both in relation to other scientific disciplines as well as in relation to everyday practice of coastal management.

Our offer

  • Four-year fulltime PhD position, with a qualifier exam after 6-9 months.
  • Tailor-made educational/development program of at least 6 months (30EC), including visits to conferences and summer/winter schools.
  • Excellent mentorship and a stimulating research environment to accelerate your further professional and personal growth.
  • full status as an employee at the University of Twente, including pension and health care benefits.
  • Starting salary of € 2.541,- gross per month in the first year and increasing to € 3.247 gross per month in the fourth year.
  • Annual holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, and an annual year-end bonus of 8.3%.
  • You have to be willing to move to (the vicinity of) Enschede. A relocation allowance or temporary housing allowance may be part of the offer.

Information and application

Please upload your application via the ‘Apply now’ button before October 10 , 2023. Your application should include

For questions or more information about the position you can contact Prof. Dr. Kathelijne Wijnberg (k.m.wijnberg@utwente.nl)

The first (online) job interviews will take place on October 31 and November 2.

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About the organisation

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) engages in education and research of Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. We enable society and industry to innovate and create value using efficient, solid and sustainable technology. We are part of a ‘people-first' university of technology, taking our place as an internationally leading center for smart production, processes and devices in five domains: Health Technology, Maintenance, Smart Regions, Smart Industry and Sustainable Resources. Our faculty is home to about 2,900 Bachelor's and Master's students, 550 employees and 150 PhD candidates. Our educational and research programmes are closely connected with UT research institutes Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Center and Digital Society Institute.

Want to know more

Campmans, G.H.P. (Geert)

Campmans, G.H.P. (Geert)
Assistant Professor

Campmans, G.H.P. (Geert)
Assistant Professor

Do you have questions about this vacancy? Then you can contact Geert for all substantive questions about this position and the application procedure. For general questions about working for the UT, please refer to the chatbot.

How to apply

Step 1

When you see a vacancy that appeals to you, you can apply online. We ask you to upload a CV and motivation letter and/or list of publications. You will receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail.

Apply now

Step 2

The selection committee will review your application and you will receive a response within 2 weeks after the vacancy has been closed.

Step 3

1st interview.
The 1st (online or in person) meeting serves as an introduction where we introduce ourselves to you and you to us. You may be asked to give a short presentation. This will be further explained in the invitation.

Step 4

2nd interview.
In the second interview, we will further discuss the job content, your skills and your talents.

Step 5

The offer.
If the conversations are positive, you will be made a suitable offer.

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About The Faculty ET

Curious about what the Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) stands for? Check out the ET website for more information.

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