Postdoc in Numerical Modelling of Marine Plastic Pollution and its Sources (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 25 Feb 2023

Postdoc in Numerical Modelling of Marine Plastic Pollution and its Sources (1.0 FTE)
Postdoc in Numerical Modelling of Marine Plastic Pollution and its Sources (1.0 FTE)
Published Deadline Location
today 25 Feb Utrecht

Join our interdisciplinary project to develop global simulations of marine plastic pollution to support biodiversity conservation and food resources management
Job description

The ocean’s biodiversity supports the livelihoods of over three billion people, providing vital services, including food and nutrient cycling. The new NECCTON project involves 20 partners from across Europe and will enable the European Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS) to deliver novel products that inform marine biodiversity conservation and food resources management. This is achieved by fusing new data into innovative ecosystem models that integrate biological and abiotic components, habitats, and stressors of marine ecosystems.
The team at Utrecht University participates in the NECCTON work package that develops new modelling capability for the simulation of marine pollutants and stressors. We are looking for a postdoc researcher to support this work.
In particular, you will develop new CMEMS products to map and forecast plastic pollution in marine ecosystems. You will coordinate the integration of the pollution codes for plastic and other pollutants developed by partner organisations. Furthermore, you will work with stakeholders to co-design a case study to map the sources of pollutants transported towards Mediterranean aquaculture farm areas.
During the project, you will be involved in:

  • developing numerical simulations of plastic pollution transport and distribution based on the framework;
  • analysing and validating these simulations in the Northwest European Shelf and Arctic regions;
  • interacting with partner organisations who will develop code for other pollutants such as oil, trace metals, and persistent organic pollutants;
  • supporting the integration of the pollutants code into the CMEMS platform;
  • collaborating with stakeholders to map the sources of pollutants transported towards Mediterranean aquaculture farm areas;
  • working within a large, interdisciplinary project spanning many European partners.

At the end of the project, you will have:

  • expertise in the simulation and visualisation of plastic transport by ocean currents;
  • a deep understanding of the processes to implement state-of-the-art research codes into a widely-used online data platform;
  • developed skills to manage deliverables within European consortia;
  • had the opportunity to set your own research questions and goals;
  • further advanced your skills in numerical modelling and data analysis in python;
  • enhanced your skills to communicate your scientific results to a wide audience including peers, media, and the general public.

  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2960—€4670 per month
  • Utrecht View on Google Maps

Utrecht University


Our ideal candidate has a driven and collaborative spirit and has multiple of the following:

  • a PhD in physics, computer science, applied mathematics, computational biology, or similar field;
  • strong skills in python programming;
  • motivation to cooperate within a dynamic, multidisciplinary and international research team;
  • an excellent level of written and spoken English;
  • preferably you also have a proven affinity with physical oceanography and experience with software development practices such as version control and unit-testing. In addition, you bring along strong skills in advanced data science.

Conditions of employment
  • A position for 2.5 years;
  • a full-time gross salary ranging from € 2960,- to € 4670,- in scale 10;
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities;
  • embedding in and learning from a great team of multi-disciplinary oceanographers.

In addition to the employment conditions from the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow.
For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University .


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.
At the Faculty of Science , there are 6 departments to make a fundamental connection with: Biology, Chemistry, Information and Computing Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Physics. Each of these is made up of distinct institutes that work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing problems. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects. Find out more about the Faculty of Science .
You will work at the Institute of Marine and Atmospheric research  at the Department of Physics of Utrecht University, and then specifically within the Lagrangian Ocean Analysis group . This group, led by Prof dr Erik van Sebille, develops the framework and creates and analyses simulations of the transport of material (plastics, plankton, fish) by ocean currents and its impact on climate and marine ecosystems. Within the group, we adhere to Open Science principles and aim to create a collaborative and inclusive atmosphere.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact Prof dr Erik van Sebille via .
Do you have a question about the application procedure? Please send an email to .
Note that international candidates needing a visa/work permit for the Netherlands require at least four months processing time after selection and acceptance. This will be arranged with help of the International Service Desk (ISD) of our university. Finding appropriate housing in or near Utrecht is your own responsibility, but the ISD may be able to advise you therewith. For general questions that you might have about working and living in The Netherlands, please consult the Dutch Mobility Portal where much information can be found.

Working at Utrecht University

At Utrecht University, we work together towards a better future for all of us. You are invited to contribute to a better world.

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