Job description

Climate change is increasingly affecting natural and human systems and in particular low-lying coastal zones and deltas. These regions are confronted with multiple compounding hazards caused by climate change and sea level rise, but they are also attracting socio-economic developments which can hamper or require even more adaptation. Immediate adaptation that acknowledges long-term adaptation needs posed by sea level rise is therefore required. Sea-level rise poses distinctive challenges, because of the slow onset of the impacts that will accelerate in the course of the century, but possibly earlier under low likelihood/high impact scenarios. Quantitative knowledge on the effectiveness of adaptation strategies to reduce risks is limited and requires further study. The Department of Physical Geography 

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 at Utrecht University (DPG-UU) is seeking an assistant professor in the modelling of physical impacts to study different adaptation options and pathways in deltas with a thorough understanding of sea level rise.
DPG-UU envisions that the candidate for this position will develop her/his own research line building on the application of models as a tool to quantify impacts and risks, and to assess adaptation strategies for deltas. For this, cooperation will be initiated within the department, with other research activities in deltas around the world. This includes groups working with models, data-assimilation, experimental and remote sensing techniques. The successful candidate will connect to and build on the delta process knowledge of DPG-UU, and develop large scale models for adaptation options under sea level rise.


The successful candidate:

  • has a PhD in natural or environmental sciences, civil engineering, physical geography or related fields;
  • has proven knowledge and a scientific track record supported with peer-reviewed publications in the field of sea level rise, and preferably experience with adaptation applications;
  • shows a willingness to integrate by means of using models insights from different groups in the department and/or Utrecht University;
  • has proven experience in academic teaching and eagerness to use insights and outcomes of her/his research in courses in our BSc and MSc program;
  • is enthusiastic about performing research with impact by actively seeking contact and dialogues with stakeholders, journalists and the general public;
  • is capable to setup her/his own distinct research line in the field with successful acquisition of external funded research projects;
  • is sensitive to the fact that successful and impactful research is a team effort;
  • has excellent oral communication and writing skills.

 Climate change and in particular sea level rise is affecting society in delta regions. This will take place on a variety of time scales and requires adaptation strategies. Quantitative knowledge on these strategies is limited and requires a better understanding. DPG envisions that the candidate for this position will do this by using models as a tool to increase our preparedness as a society based on thorough understanding of sea level.


We offer a position (0.8 – 1.0 FTE) as an Assistant Professor for a probationary period of 18 months. Permanent employment will be offered based upon good performance, according to the Faculty’s performance indicators, after 18 months. The Faculty of Geosciences has an excellent merit-based career and promotion policy. As part thereof, career development up to Associate Professor (level 2) is possible without a so called ‘formation principle’, yet based on performance. The gross monthly starting salary – depending on qualifications and experience – ranges between €3,974 and €5,439 (scale 11 of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) for a full-time employment. 

Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8,3% per year. In addition, you will have access to all equipment in our state-of-the-art laboratory infrastructure, coaching for teaching and supervision of researchers, and training and support regarding the acquisition of external funds. Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University 

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. Facilities for childcare and sports are available on campus.

About the organisation

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University 

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, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht University’s Faculty of Geosciences 

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 studies the Earth: from the Earth’s core to its surface, including man’s spatial and material utilisation of the Earth – with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the faculty is a strong and challenging organization. The Faculty of Geosciences is organized in four departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact: Maarten Kleinhans 

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external link or Roderik van de Wal external link via external link

You are also invited to join our online information session via Microsoft Teams on:

You can ask us about our profiles and tasks of the offered position, the possibilities of professional development, and moving to and living in Utrecht (housing, visa, schools, partner opportunities). We look forward to meeting you!

The faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University is creating six assistant professor positions to strengthen its research and educational programmes in the field of climate science, climate impact and climate adaptation. Interested in our other positions? Click here 

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 to see our brochure.


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation via the ‘apply’ button below. 

In addition, please add the following information with your application in a Word file:

  • name and last name;
  • title, year and institute of PhD thesis;
  • current position and name of the institute;
  • the keyword of Expertise 1, Expertise 2 and Expertise 3;
  • (e-mail) addresses of two referees;
  • the titles and URLs of three most relevant publications.

Interviews for this position will take place on: 6 or 7 September.

The application deadline is 15 August 2022.



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