As part of a joint project between Utrecht University (UU) and the Technical University Delft (TUD), we seek a highly motivated candidate for a PhD position within the field of coastal morphodynamics. The available position is one of two PhD positions within the EURECCA project (Effective Upgrades and Retrofits for Coastal Climate Adaptation), awarded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). Your counterpart will be situated within the Hydraulic Engineering department of the TUD.
The EURECCA project will focus on the dynamics of man-made beaches in mixed-energy coastal environments, where both waves and currents drive the morphodynamic evolution. Sandy retrofits, where a sandy beach system is placed in front of an existing flood defense, are a novel engineering approach using sediment instead of stones and asphalt to guarantee coastal safety. Much of our understanding of sand deposits, or nourishments, stem from research in coastal areas that are dominated by energetic waves. However, the redistribution of sand and the evolution of different sediment sizes of potential retrofits is not understood in environments which are under the influence of both strong tidal currents and waves (i.e. mixed-energy systems). The EURECCA project aims to develop robust and quantitative knowledge of mixed-sand transport driven by mixed-energy forcing. The project will focus on the recently completed Prins Hendrikzanddijk (PHZD), a sandy retrofit of a dike on the back-barrier side of the Dutch barrier island of Texel, an area with strong tidal currents and relatively weak wind-driven waves: a typical mixed-energy system.
Your research will focus on the sediment transport processes and morphological evolution at the PHZD. As part of your project, you are expected to take part in a number of dedicated large field campaigns at the PHZD to measure the forcing conditions (waves, currents and water levels), bed levels, grain sizes and sediment transport, supported by our highly experienced field-technicians from the Faculty’s Earth Simulation Laboratory (ESL). In addition to these measurements, you will apply an operational numerical model (Delft3D) to further explore the role of mixed grain sizes and sediment sorting processes on the morphological development.
You will be supervised by Dr Timothy Price (daily supervisor, UU), Prof Gerben Ruessink (promotor, UU) and Prof. Maarten Kleinhans (advisor, UU). Also, you will work in tandem with the TUD-based PhD candidate, led by Dr Matthieu de Schipper. The EURECCA research team will work together closely with a diverse group of dedicated end-users for data collection, numerical modelling and the implementation of the acquired insights into practice: Jan de Nul B.V., Waterproof B.V., Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier, Deltares, Arcadis, and the Dutch Ministry of Public Works Rijkswaterstaat. This collaboration includes a (non-consecutive) 6-month stay at Waterproof B.V. in Lelystad, the Netherlands, where you will explore (using Delft3D) how different configurations of sediment mixtures and nourishment morphologies affect the dispersal of a nourishment.
Up to 10% of your time will be dedicated to assisting in the BSc and MSc teaching programmes of the Graduate School of Geosciences. You will be offered a personalized training programme set up, mutually agreed on recruitment, to strengthen your research profile, adding skills and filling knowledge gaps. It will help achieve your long-term career objectives as well as supplement and support the project-related research.
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