Postdoctoral researcher (3 years, 1,0 fte) predictive modelling

Updated: 25 days ago
Deadline: 15 Nov 2021

Within the framework of the joint NWA-ORC-program Living on Soft Soils: Subsidence & Society project of Utrecht University, Delft University of Technology, Wageningen University and Research, Deltares, TNO Geological Survey of the Netherlands, and Wageningen Environmental Research we are seeking a motivated postdoctoral researcher (3 years, 1,0 fte) to work on predictive modelling of land subsidence and its impacts under different management, economic and climate scenarios.

NWA-ORC-program Living on Soft Soils: Subsidence & Society (NWA-LOSS)

The threat of land subsidence, the knowledge hiatus on process-interplays causing it, and lacking mid- to long-term coping strategies, ask for an integrated research program that addresses the issue of land subsidence in a holistic way, whereby insights about physical-chemical-biological system functioning, the societal impact evaluation and implementation of measures as well as an assessment of their governance and legal implications co-evolve. The overall aim of this program is to develop an integrative approach to achieve feasible, legitimate and sustainable solutions for managing the negative societal effects of land subsidence, connecting fundamental research on subsidence processes to socio-economic impact of subsidence and to governance and legal framework design.

The program consists of 4 scientific work packages (WP):

  • WP1: Measuring and monitoring of land subsidence
  • WP2: Land subsidence mechanisms and associated greenhouse gas emissions
  • WP3: Impact analysis of land subsidence
  • WP4: Measures and governance approaches to cope with land subsidence

This program is funded by the national science foundation (NWO) and contributes to the Dutch Research Agenda – Research along routes by consortia (NWA-ORC) aiming to stimulate research and innovation focused on the NWA routes, designed and implemented by interdisciplinary consortia spanning the entire knowledge chain, in which relevant social partners (Deltares, TNO-GSN, NAM, Tauw BV, Sweco, Municipality of Gouda, Platform of Soft Soil Municipalities, Provinces of Utrecht and Zuid-Holland, WDOD, HDSR, STOWA, Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom relations, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and Wageningen Environmental Research) are also represented.

It is the task of the postdoc to implement a spatial numerical modelling system to perform scenario-based forecasting of land subsidence and its associated damage. The modelling will take in data products, physical process-understanding and component model formulations, damage calculation systematics (e.g. buildings, infrastructure, agricultural produce), and policy scenario’s (e.g. business as usual, regional measures, local measures) as developed across the four WPs. As such, the position is central to the NWA-LOSS program and its outputs. This requires setting up and stewarding a computation infrastructure (in close collaboration with Deltares, WEnR and TNO-GSN) and filling it with a library of actual datasets (incl. metadata), scenario assumptions, and model scripts. Intensive cooperation with PhD candidates and research staff of the NWA-LOSS consortium partners is foreseen. Outputs are an operational modelling environment, forecast output digital data, open-access scientific publications, explanatory reports to stakeholders, and web portal content.

NWA-LOSS forecasts are to have national coverage (about 1/3 of the country is subsidence prone) at high resolution (grid-cell footprints 25x25 m), considers the variable substrate down to 30 meters in great detail, and considers seasonal variations (i.e. temperature and precipitation time series, human management (i.e. polder water levels, agricultural practice). It trains and updates its forecasting models on subsidence as monitored over the past few years with satellite data and ground-based techniques, something that the integrative modelling may also adopt (data assimilation).

This project will be executed in the Global Change Geomorphology group (dr. Stouthamer, dr. Cohen, dr. Erkens), Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University in close collaboration with Wageningen University and Research, Delft University of Technology and Deltares Research Institute.

Various national and international networks supporting land subsidence science exist of which the postdoc researcher will be part. Interaction is foreseen with all fellow researchers of the Living on Soft Soils program; within UU, TU Delft, WUR, WEnR, TNO – Geological Survey of The Netherlands, Deltares Research Institute.


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