The Marine and Fluvial Systems group, part of the Civil Engineering department, investigates primarily physical processes in coastal and river systems in the context of societal needs (such as flood safety and freshwater availability) as well as for economical needs (such as navigation, pipeline and cable trajectories). The challenges in these fields are rapidly increasing with evolving, and uncertain developments in the climate (linking to e.g. rate of sea level rise, wind climate, extreme river discharges, fresh water availability, drought). Moreover, society is changing rapidly (the energy transition stimulating e.g. offshore wind farm development and coastal urbanisation which makes us more and more dependent on reliable natural flood defenses such as dunes next to as hard river and sea dikes). Giving the integral nature of the challenges, we often connect to other disciplines such as mathematics, ecology (vegetated foreshores), geotechnics and governance-related sciences.

A diverse and multidisciplinary team of professors and researchers aims to improve understanding of these (physical) processes so that we can use this knowledge for dealing with the water management problems. Nature-based solutions and dealing with (future) uncertainties are important parts of our research. We use a wide range of research methods including idealised and numerical modelling techniques, laboratory and field experiments, analysis of monitoring data including satellite information to tackle issues at different spatial scales (i.e. local, regional and global) and temporal scales (i.e. short vs long duration).

A general description of a PhD-trajectory in the Marine and Fluvial Systems group is given in https://www.utwente.nl/en/et/wem/research/PhD_at_WEM/. We offer a very collaborative atmosphere and you will benefit from our broad knowledge and experience. A team of well-known professors in the field (https://www.utwente.nl/en/et/wem/mfs/) will supervise you in this position.

We expect in 2021 openings for PhD positions on modelling river hydraulics for high and low flows; aeolian sediment transport on the sand grain scale; global land motion, sea level rise and coastal flooding; modelling offshore sand waves; vegetated foreshore stability under extreme conditions (experimental and modelling).

This is a general and open call for PhD applications. We normally have open PhD positions available through the year, however we do not always list every open position separately. Selected candidates can start their PhD project anytime during the academic year.

Since we will invest a lot of our time in your education, development and career, we have to be very selective in our admission process for PhD students.


  • MSc degree in Civil Engineering, Environmental Fluid Dynamics, Applied Mathematics, or a related discipline.
  • Knowledge of, or strong affinity with, river/coastal/offshore systems.
  • Sound programming skills for numerical modelling and/or data analysis (e.g Python, Matlab, R, other).*
  • Experience with mathematical physical modelling and/or hydraulic modelling and/or discrete element method software (e.g. using software Delft3D, HEC-RAS, SOBEK, OpenFoam, LAMMPS).*
  • Experience with experimental/observational studies, including quantitative satellite remote sensing/earth observation and image processing, or laboratory/field experiments.*
  • Your organizational skills are good. You are enthusiastic, independent and you have a problem solving attitude.
  • Willing to contribute to teaching in the Civil Engineering educational BSc and MSc program and to supervise MSc student graduation project.
  • Your writing skills are good – you have written scientific papers.
  • You are fluent in English, both spoken and written (IELTS >= 6.5 or equivalent).
  • 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.

you should at least fulfil one out of these three, preferably more, please indicate this in your CV.


  • 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 € 2.395 gross per month in the first year and increasing to € 3.061  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%.

We generally organise our PhD-positions to be part of a larger project, including a user group consisting of consultants (e.g. HKV, Arcadis, RHDHV, Witteveen+Bos), contractors (Boskalis, Van Oord), policy makers (Dutch ministry of Infrastructure and Watermanagment, water boards) and experts from knowledge institutes (e.g. Deltares, NIOZ). The projects include often more PhD-positions, either at the University of Twente or at Dutch partner universities. These project groups meet about twice a year and often collaborations are established (e.g an internship, joint MSc-project). This way, we create optimal opportunities for user-science knowledge transfer. Our current research projects can be found on https://www.utwente.nl/en/et/wem/research/current/.


Please upload your application via the ‘Apply now’ button. Your application should include

  • cover letter (emphasizing your specific interest, motivation and qualifications),
  • detailed CV with publication list (if applicable),
  • academic transcript of B.Sc. and M.Sc. education including grades,
  • contact details of two referees.
  • TOEFL or IELTS score to verify sufficient mastering of the English language, or a degree from an English-taught MSc program.

For more information about this open vacancy, please contact our secretaries, Ms Anke Wigger or Ms Dorette Olthof through secretariat-mfs-et@utwente.nl


The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) engages in education and research Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering with a view to enabling society and industry to innovate and create value using sound, efficient and sustainable technology. We are part of a ‘people-first’ university of technology, taking our place as an internationally leading centre for smart production, processes and devices in five domains: Health Technology, Maintenance, Smart Regions, Smart Industry and Sustainable Resources. Our faculty is home to some 1,800 Bachelor’s and Master’s students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates and offers three degree programmes: Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our educational and research programme are closely connected with UT research institutes Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

As an employer, the ET Faculty offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With our Faculty, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customizable conditions.

University of Twente (UT)

University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology’ we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT’s departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.PHD OPENINGS IN MARINE AND FLUVIAL SYSTEMS GROUP


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