Netherlands:PhD on Sustainable Engineering of Coastal Systems at Eindhoven University of Technology

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Job description

Sustainable engineering of coastal systems is aimed at understanding and applying processes controlling environmental variability of freshwater runoffs in the coastal zone. We are particularly interested in the effects of large-scale infrastructural works (such as Maasvlakte-2 in the Port of Rotterdam area) hereon. The research program is carried out in close collaboration with Delft University of Technology, Deltares, Port of Rotterdam, and Rijkswaterstaat (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment) and funded by the Dutch Technology Foundation STW.

Regions of Freshwater Influence are the interface between freshwater runoff from rivers and coastal seas. This fascinating system contains a complex interplay between a multitude of physical processes. They are dominated by the competition between mixing from tides, winds and waves and the stratifying impact of freshwater and heat. The accurate numerical simulation of stratification, mixing of heat and salinity, and the transport of Suspended Particulate Matter is of crucial importance for sustainable engineering. For example, it is required for studies of water quality, coastline evolution and understanding the consequences of engineering works in the coastal zone, such as Maasvlakte-2. It requires the development of the next generation turbulence closures (i.e. formulation of effective turbulent transport ‘laws’) for coastal ocean modelling systems. They can be used for an improved understanding of the natural and man-made variability of freshwater runoff from rivers and the environmental impact of large infrastructural works like Maasvlakte-2 on the coastal zone.

Project description

The two PhD projects on sustainable engineering of coastal systems, carried out at Eindhoven and Delft Universities of Technology concentrate on:

  1. Direct Numerical Simulation and Large-Eddy Simulation to explore the role of tides on the mixing-stratifying process;
  2. Analysis of simulation and field data for the design of turbulence and transport closure schemes;
  3. Application of improved turbulence closures to investigate the transport and dispersion of freshwater and Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) from river sources into the large-scale shelf circulation, and
  4. The exploration of the consequences of man-made changes, such as Maasvlakte-2, on the distribution and downstream environmental impact of SPM.


The PhD-project carried out in the Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Eindhoven University of Technology focusses on themes i) and ii) and will substantially contribute to themes iii) and iv). You will use Direct Numerical Simulations, wall-resolved Large-Eddy Simulations and Immersed Boundary Methods for benchmark studies of transport in (stratified) turbulence in complex flow domains. For simulation of environmental flow problems in realistic geometries (covering, for example, the Maasvlakte-2 area and the Rhine Estuary) you will use a dedicated algorithm (LES-COAST; Univ. Trieste). Part of your studies will be carried out in the group of prof. Armenio (University of Trieste, Italy) and exchange visits with other leading groups worldwide on this topic are anticipated. Intense collaboration with the PhD-student at Delft University of Technology is planned.



This subproject will be carried out in the Fluid Dynamics Laboratory ( at the Department of Applied Physics of Eindhoven University of Technology, in close collaboration with Technical University Delft (prof. J. Pietrzak), and University of Trieste (prof. V. Armenio). You will be supervised by prof. H.J.H. Clercx and B.J.H. van de Wiel.


We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD-student with strong computational physics skills, a strong background in (environmental) fluid mechanics, expertise in turbulence and simulation tools (DNS, LES). You have an MSc in (applied) physics, civil engineering, oceanography, mechanical engineering, applied mathematics or aeronautical engineering. You have experience with numerical simulations, and have affinity with large-scale parallel computing and turbulence modeling. As an ideal candidate you should be able to work in a multidisciplinary team including scientists from physics, civil engineering and environmental fluid dynamics. You also have good written and oral communication skills in English.

Conditions of employment

We offer:

  • An exciting job in an active group WDY (Turbulence and Vortex Dynamics) (
  • A full time appointment for four years (start date as soon as possible) by Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Gross monthly salary from €2083 (first year) to €2664 (fourth year) in line with the Collective Agreement for Dutch Universities
  • An attractive package of fringe benefits, including end-of-year allowance, a personal development program for PhD students (Proof program), and excellent sport facilities

Information on PROOF can be found on the

Information about the terms of employment can be found on the

Additional information

  • Prof.dr. H.J.H. (Herman) Clercx
  • Department of Applied Physics, group Turbulence and Vortex Dynamics
  • Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, The Netherlands
  • E-mail;


Informal information may be obtained by sending an email message to

If interested, please send an application letter, CV, grade listing and names and contact details of at least one senior scientist able and willing to provide references.


Please send us your application by using the ‘apply now button on the TU/e website.

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