tudelftlogoWe invite you to apply for a (part-time) postdoc position on developing a Digital Twin for optimising large-scale sand extraction in the North Sea. We deliberately address young professionals in the industry or consultancy to develop themselves in this thrilling field, which will raise your value on the job market significantly.

Job description

Worldwide, sand reserves are dwindling, while more and more sand is needed to protect coasts against rising sea levels. A five year study is recently launched focusing on the ecological optimisation of sand extraction in the North Sea. Sand extraction is expected to increase for the purposes of the natural protection of sandy shores against flooding and for major infrastructure projects. The Netherlands extracts relatively large amounts of sand and the country is facing the challenge of making the optimal decisions to minimise the ecological impact, while still meeting the national demand for sand.

The team will study, for the first time in collaboration with stakeholders, the links between the fishing industry and sand extraction with the aim of optimising large-scale sand extraction approaches in favour of the ecology and the economy. Measurements and model predictions of hydrodynamics and morphodynamics will be integrated with species and population models in a Digital Twin of the Dutch North Sea to assess the effects on the marine environment and fishing. A Serious Game for sand extraction will be developed to arrive at operational recommendations for ecological large-scale sand extraction in the future that can be used in the Netherlands and other countries as support for policymakers, the dredging industry, nature organisations, scientists and the fishing industry in ecosystem-based sustainable sand extraction.

We offer a 5 year part-time Postdoc position with focus on a combination of numerical modelling, seamlessly coupling of models, interfacing with all work packages (a.o. the Serious Game team) and external parties, and collaborative interdisciplinary research. During your postdoctoral fellowship you will:

  • assemble fundamental output of the PhD-studies into the sand extraction module of the Digital Twin based on a 3D hydrodynamic model (Delft3D-FM).
  • design and co-develop the Digital Twin module aimed at assessing the cascade of effects and optimising designs for large-scale sand extraction.
  • interact closely with another postdoc at Wageningen University on Serious Game development. The two postdocs in the programme will have a pivotal role in coordinating research and data flows from PhD-students, whereby you will not only extend your research qualities but also your managerial skills.
  • interact with the consortium partners, being research institutes, private companies and government, and external parties.
  • work in a multi-disciplinary research team consisting of six PhD candidates (at the universities of Delft, Twente, NIOZ, WU-AFI (2), and WUR) and scientific staff of other partners.
  • conduct your own research and publish your outcome in (journal) publications, popular magazines and other media.

You will be part of the Coastal Engineering section in the Hydraulic Engineering department, advised by Arjen Luijendijk, and with close collaboration with other group members. As part of this project, you will also work in close collaboration with Deltares and WUR to enhance the collaboration on the development of Digital Twin and Serious Game concepts.

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WUR RGB standardAre you a theoretical ecologist or applied mathematician with a strong interest i marine ecology and population dyamics? Do you want to study how climate change and sand extraction affect individuals, life cycle closures, and population dynamics of fish species? Then we may have position for you at Wageningen Marine Research, The Netherlands.

As a PhD candidate you will be a member of a large multi- and interdisciplinary research project (OR ELSE) whose aim is to give recommendations for large-scale sand extraction in the North Sea. Sand is the second most extracted natural resource globally, exceeding fossil fuels and biomass. Sand extraction volumes are expected to increase drastically for infrastructure projects and to ensure coastal protection by sand nourishments. Large-scale marine sand extraction has important ecosystem effects through changes in flows and sediments and physical disturbance of benthic habitats, affecting the food web and fisheries.

During your PhD you will study the consequences of large-scale sand mining on the ecology of plaice and brown shrimp, as key commercial and key ecological species in the North Sea ecosystem. Both species fulfil their life cycle in the North Sea and use the coast as nursery area. The two species do so at different spatial scales, and thus may be affected differently by anthropogenic measures to combat sea level rise.

You will develop mathematical models, and combine different techniques, such as Dynamic Energy Budget models (DEB) and physiologically structured population models. You will integrate the results of larval drift modelling and benthic production models to investigate effects on juvenile performance in the coastal nurseries of plaice and shrimp. Subsequently, population dynamical modelling will be used to describe the full life cycle, incorporating changes in benthic production, larval drift, temperature, and harvesting practices.

The PhD candidate in this advertised project will be positioned at Wageningen Marine Research in IJmuiden, part of Wageningen University & Research. The PhD project is supervised by dr. ir. Karen van de Wolfshaar and by Prof. Jaap van der Meer.  

For more information and to apply, visit the WUR website: https://www.wur.nl/en/vacancy/phd-position-modelling-individual-and-population-performance-of-plaice-and-brown-shrimp-and-the-impact-of-large-scale-sand-extraction.htm.

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