PhD: Geophysical Measurements of Subsoil Heterogeneity

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Landelijk / geen vaste standplaats
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur
€ 2801 per maand

Mapping substrate heterogeneities to calculate risk of dyke failure


This PhD research is part of a larger STW research project “All-risk: Implementation of new risk standards in the flood protection programme”. The STW programme investigates methods to provide improved predictions of flood risks in order to prevent flooding. The research covers modelling of water defences under extreme water conditions and waves, probability of failure, subsurface heterogeneity, chain reactions when a dyke fails, and attribution of responsibility. It is linked to the programme of the Dutch government and the water boards on protection against high waters and is supported by the industry.

We are currently looking for candidates to fill one PhD position for the sub-project “Subsoil heterogeneity- Geophysical measurements of subsurface”. The PhD candidate will develop a protocol to map substrate heterogeneities to the required level of detail that is known to have a high impact on the risk of dyke failure. The protocol will rely on geophysical surveys and address the different modes of dyke failure. It will focus on the geotechnical characterisation of both the dykes and their subsurface at locations where results of probabilistic dyke safety calculations are affected by a high degree of uncertainty due to a lack of a priori ground information and/or complex ground configurations.


The applicant should have an MSc in (Applied) Geophysics. Solid quantitative skills, knowledge of quaternary geology in river and deltaic environments, insight into stochastic/numerical/analytical modelling, and an inclination for field and laboratory experiments are essential. The applicant has to work in close collaboration with the other researchers working in the larger STW project. This requires proven communication skills. Delft University of Technology is a bilingual organisation. A good command of English (written and spoken) is essential.


The TU Delft offers an attractive, customisable compensation and benefits package, including a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers day care, before- and after-school care and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

For more information about this position, please contact Dominique Ngan-Tillard, phone: +31 (0)15-2783325, e-mail: To apply, please e-mail a detailed CV, summary of academic record and research experience, abstract of your MSc thesis (1 page), list of any publications, grades list, proof of English language proficiency and list of two references along with a letter of application. Please e-mail your application by 30 April 2017,
When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number CITG16-60.

Additional information

Dominique Ngan-Tillard
+31 (0)15-2783325

Technische Universiteit Delft


Delft University of Technology (the TU Delft) is a multifaceted institution offering education and carrying out research in the technical sciences at an internationally recognised level. Education, research and design are strongly oriented towards applicability. The TU Delft develops technologies for future generations, focusing on sustainability, safety and economic vitality. At the TU Delft you will work in an environment where technical sciences and society converge. The TU Delft comprises eight faculties, unique laboratories, research institutes and schools. Civil Engineering & Geosciences The Department of Geoscience and Engineering performs top-level education and research aimed at finding answers to questions related to the current and future use of the Earth's natural resources and its subsurface space. It benefits from an international faculty and student body and is organised in five sections: Applied Geophysics and Petrophysics, Applied Geology, Petroleum Engineering, Geo-Engineering, and Resource Engineering. There is a very high degree of collaboration within and outside the department.

Research in the Geo-engineering section aims to further the understanding of the fundamental behaviour of soils by developing mathematical and experimental tools together with analytical solutions which are of relevance to engineering in the subsurface.

The Applied Geophysics and Petrophysics section executes a programme of fundamental and applied research aimed at designing quantitative techniques and methods of analysis to investigate the Earth’s subsurface in a non-destructive way at different scales. The section is at the forefront of developing interferometric methods in geophysics.


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