PhD position in Hydrogeology & Agricultural Water Management

Updated: 2 months ago

Your position

Mountainous countries like Switzerland are overproportionally affected by climate change, with temperature rise and increasing weather extremes such as heat waves, droughts, and torrential rainfalls already being more pronounced than elsewhere. Under these circumstances, water supply is becoming a major challenge for agriculture, be it for crop production or animal husbandry. In addition, water in mountain communities becomes increasingly scarce during summer months. This is where the Swiss Federal Office of Agriculture FOAG-funded "Slow Water" project comes in: In 3 hydrologically and geographically distinct pilot regions of Switzerland, farm-specific, catchment-related water retention strategies are to be developed together with municipalities and farmers, and their impacts assessed. Within the "Slow Water" project consortium, which besides the University of Basel consists of regional authorities, municipalities, farming associations and the private sector, you will be in charge of the scientific research on suitability and impacts of the different water retention strategies.
Specifically, you will be tasked with the monitoring, analysis, and evaluation of different hydromorphological water retention measures using state-of-the-art ecohydrological and hydrogeological techniques. A core part of your work will consist of numerical simulations of the water retention measures and the pilot region sites with an integrated surface-subsurface hydrological model, and the coupling of these hydrological simulations with a crop simulation model. In addition, you will have to characterize the pilot hydrological catchments both hydro(geo)logically and geographically, which will encompass a significant amount of field work. Depending on your personal interests and skills, you may define additional research goals within this larger project framework.

Your profile

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a self-organized and solution-oriented work attitude. Applicants should hold a MSc in Geosciences, Environmental sciences or engineering, Hydrogeology, Agricultural sciences, or related fields. Very good written and spoken English is a must, knowledge of German a plus. Candidates should be able and willing to conduct fieldwork over extended periods of time, be prepared to interact frequently with farmers, practitioners, and authorities, and hold a valid driver's license. The successful candidate should have strong analytical skills, and bring along experience in hydrogeology, programming (Python), and field work. Knowledge of integrated hydrological modelling and hydrological tracers is a plus.

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