Early Stage Researcher (ESR)

Are you fascinated by forecasting models for complex reef systems? Are you accurate and fast in processing data? Do you have the drive to communicate and connect to different kinds of people all over the world? Is travelling for fieldwork a welcome addition to your daily job? Our Coastal and Marine Systems Unit is looking for an

Early Stage Researcher (ESR)

for a period of 3-4 years


As an Early Stage Researcher you will work on a project that is part of the MSCA Innovative Training Network “Past, present and future of turbid reefs in the Coral Triangle (4D-REEF You will collaborate with 14 other ESRs and their supervisors in this international network.

Objectives of 4D-REEF

“Using a variety of paleo-ecological and present-day data, 4D-REEF investigates the hypothesis that turbid coastal environments provide a refuge for coral reefs in periods of warm climate”.

The key questions to be addressed by the network are:

  • What was the biodiversity of turbid reefs in the past, in what habitats did the reefs grow in past warmer periods of the Earth’s history, and how does this compare to the present?
  • What are the environmental constraints on ecosystem functions of turbid reefs?
  • How can we use information from past reefs to better understand the future trajectories of modern coral reefs, and apply this towards reef restoration actions?

By answering these questions, we aim to understand the role of turbid reefs for the future of marine ecosystems in the Coral Triangle as they respond to anthropogenic environmental change.

What can you expect as an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) for a period of 3-4 years?

The aim of the MSCA ESR positions is to enhance the career perspectives of young researchers in both the academic and non-academic sector. You will be enrolled in a university PhD programme, but in addition the international network will provide you with secondments, prolonged periods of research at two other institutes in the network, and with diverse training activities. These consist of local and network-wide training in scientific knowledge and transferrable skills, as well as profound immersion in inter-sectoral research, communication and application activities. Your individual research programme is at the core of the training, but the consortium will provide you with the broader background needed to develop a fruitful career in (applied) science.

In this individual project; you are using past and current reef response to physical stressors for model-based forecasting of reef distribution. Reefs respond non-linearly to physical stressors, such as currents, waves, temperature, nutrients and turbidity. You will statistically analyse these responses from palaeontological reef records integrated with records of the abiotic environment from climate archives in shells and foraminifera, as well as from present-day monitoring data. This will be used to develop a prognostic model, incorporated into a hydrodynamical model setting, of reef response to changes in external parameters. The model will predict reef persistence under a range of future scenarios, including direct anthropogenic stressors such as dredging and wastewater discharges, but also long-term climate change.

You will perform both lab and field work in two secondments at Goethe University Frankfurt and University of Bristol. Field work takes place in Southwest Sulawesi.

  • Working on the forefront of many aspects of the (paleo)ecology of turbid reefs and the environments they develop in, applying innovative techniques;
  • You will participate in international secondments to other organizations within the 4D-reef network and in outreach activities targeted at a wide audience;
  • You will benefit from the designed training programme offered by the host organization and the consortium;
  • You will be part of an international research consortium of over > 25 researchers.

What does Deltares expect from you as an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) for a period of 3-4 years?

  • You have not been awarded a doctoral degree;
  • You shall at the time of recruitment be in the first four years of your research career;
  • At the time of recruitment, you have not resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in The Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date.

Furthermore, Deltares requires that:

  • You have a master’s degree in Earth and/or Life sciences or engineering;
  • You have affinity with mathematical modelling of hydrodynamic or ecological processes and with data exploration;
  • You have some experience with both laboratory work and modelling;
  • As this project requires close collaboration within the consortium you need to be an excellent team player and communicator;
  • You are a creative and independent thinker;
  • You are fluent in English (reading, writing and speaking).

Working at Deltares

Deltares is an independent institute for applied research in the field of water, subsurface and infrastructure. Worldwide we work on smart solutions, innovations and applications for people, environment and society. To achieve our goals, we develop our own expertise, innovative software and services. We have special facilities on our campus in Delft, like the Delta Flume and our iD-lab (Interactive data research laboratory) and the Geochemical and Microbiological laboratory in Utrecht.

Deltares supports governments, industries, water boards, and municipalities in their ambitions to reduce water and energy consumption and to develop and implement sustainable energy technologies. Deltares places high demands on the quality of its knowledge and advice. Enabling Delta life is our core business.

We offer an informal, dynamic and challenging working environment. Your personal development and building on your resume is important to us. Therefore we offer excellent training opportunities and future perspective. Deltares will pay ESRs in conformity with the Deltares CAO (collective labour agreement) compliant with H2020 MSCA ITN conditions.


Are you interested in this job and do you fit the job qualifications? Apply directly by uploading your CV and motivation letter, before 1 October 2019. We will get in touch with you within three weeks after the closing date. Only applications via our website will be considered.

For more information you may contact Dr. Peter Herman (peter.herman@deltares.nl or +31883357862) or Dr Bregje van Wesenbeeck (Bregje.vanWesenbeeck@deltares.nl or +31651594127).

Acquisition for this vacancy is not appreciated.

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