PhD position, sea level and sediments - Texel, The Netherlands

A PhD position on the project "The long-term relationship between sea-level change and sedimentation in the North Sea" is available at Royal NIOZ in Texel, The Netherlands.


The position would ideally start in June or July 2021.


There is a vacancy for a PhD candidate GIA modeler interested in including the weight of sediments per 1000 yr timestep in Holocene and Late Pleistocene.

This vacancy is the result of the collaboration between Utrecht University and NIOZ. The Department of Coastal Systems (COS) of NIOZ, in collaboration with Department of Physical Geography of Utrecht University, are looking for a highly motivated PhD student to investigate the evolution of the Dutch coast over the last few glacial-interglacial cycles by means of numerical modelling of glacio- and hydro-isostatic adjustment and geological/stratigraphic data assimilation.

They are looking for a candidate with a strong background in physics, mathematics, geosciences, and excellent skills in programming, numerical modelling and data analysis.

Sea-level rise (SLR) is one of the most important consequences of global warming and carries significant repercussions on coastal human settlements and natural ecosystems. Global SLR research, which usually aims at solving the so-called "sea-level budget" over the last few glacial-interglacial cycles, provides the forcing and boundary conditions for regional-scale glacial- and hydro-isostatic adjustment (GIA) modelling such as for the North Sea area. At that scale, however, sediment isostasy and compaction (SIC) becomes an important additional factor that has to be implemented in the modelling through data intake and adapted algorithms.

The core of this research project consists in the inclusion of sedimentation from mapping knowledge (data assimilation) in deterministic geophysical GIA models. Accordingly, a novel algorithm will be implemented to dynamically couple the redistribution of sediments to the ice-driven and solid-Earth-modulated RSL changes by including the self-consistent sediments isostasy and compaction. To develop and implement this will be the key methodic step and challenge. Data assimilation techniques that combine prescriptions and rules based on the diffusion equation and fuzzy logic will be employed, thus simulating realistic basin filling adapted to architectural aspects of our input data.

The outcome of this project will reveal the magnitude of local SIC vs. regional GIA contributions in SLR data which we reckon to be significant for our understanding of (1) centennial-millennial coastal plain development and habitat evolution, including the evaluation of anthropogenic vs. natural sedimentation; and (2) multi-millennial scale shelf rim accommodation and understanding net vertical land motion over multiple glacial-interglacial cycles.

The project will be executed in continuous collaboration with researchers at the department of Physical Geography of the Faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University. Furthermore, collaboration and frequent visits with national and international groups are expected and has been arranged for.


Applications close 20 January 2021.

For the full position description and to apply, go to:

Further information

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact the Principle Investigators Paolo Stocchi: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Kim Cohen: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.