Assistant professor quantitative modelling of human interactions with water systems (0.8 – 1.0 FTE)

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Assistant professor quantitative modelling of human interactions with water systems (0.8 – 1.0 FTE)

Assistant professor quantitative modelling of human interactions with water systems (0.8 – 1.0 FTE)

Job description

Imminent and future climate change and socio-economic development have profound impacts on the global water cycle. This, in turn, leads to major challenges for mankind, such as increases in droughts and water scarcity and related threats to ecosystems and food and energy supply. Such severe impacts may be further exacerbated by geopolitical developments and conflicts. As humans are an integral part of the water cycle, it is imperative that we include the human dimension and interactions in future pathways of water systems and when searching for effective management strategies and solution options to mitigate detrimental impacts on water systems.
The Department of Physical Geography  at Utrecht University (DPG-UU) is seeking an assistant professor in the quantitative modelling of human interactions with water systems to integrate such insights into their existing research line that focuses on large-scale modelling and assessments of the global terrestrial water cycle.
DPG-UU envisions that the candidate for this position will develop her/his own research line on human interactions with water systems, building on our large-scale high-resolution hydrological and water resources models. This entails, among others, understanding of past and future water demand and water use, including feedbacks between human water use and hydrology. The new research line combines large-scale water system understanding with socio-hydrology: the interdisciplinary field of studying dynamic human-water system interactions and feedbacks, by combining insights from social sciences, including hydro-economics and behavioural sciences, with quantitative approaches (e.g., from complexity theory).
For more information, please visit Earth Science and Physical Geography at the Faculty of Geosciences .

The successful candidate: 
  • has a PhD in hydrology, water resources research, environmental sciences, hydro-economics, civil engineering, environmental engineering or related fields;
  • has proven knowledge and a scientific track record supported with peer-reviewed publications in the field of quantitative modelling of human-water system interactions or socio-hydrology;
  • shows a willingness to integrate insights from human-water interactions into large-scale hydrological and water resources models of our department;
  • has proven experience in academic teaching and eagerness to use insights and outcomes of her/his research in water-related 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 the successful acquisition of research projects;
  • is sensitive to the fact that successful and impactful research is a team effort;
  • has excellent oral communication and writing skills.


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 €3,821 and €5,230 (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 . Facilities for childcare and sports are available on campus.

About the organization

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University , 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 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.
The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a historic centre and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its centuries-old university. Utrecht has been consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the Netherlands, and is well-connected to local and international transport hubs.

Additional information
For more information about this position, please contact: Prof Marc Bierkens via  or Dr Michelle van Vliet via .
You are also invited to join our online information session via Microsoft Teams on:
  • Tuesday 25 October between 15.30 - 17.00 CEST.
    Please send an email to Sophie Ketting via if you want to participate in the meeting. The Teams link will then be sent to you.

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!

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.
We would like to receive the following information with your application in a Word file:
  • Name;
  • Last name;
  • Title of PhD thesis;
  • Institute of PhD;
  • Year of PhD;
  • Current position;
  • Key word of Expertise 1;
  • Key word of Expertise 2
  • Key word of Expertise 3;
  • (e-mail) addresses of two referees;
  • Title of most relevant publication 1;
  • URL of most relevant publication 1;
  • Title of most relevant publication 2;
  • URL of most relevant publication 2;
  • Title of most relevant publication 3;
  • URL of most relevant publication 3.

The application deadline is
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