Improving the management of surface waters draining agricultural areas to optimise the retention and recovery of Fe-associated P

Do you have excellent skills in analytical thinking? Do you have some experience with both laboratory work and geochemical/ hydrologicalmodelling? And are you interested in applying your knowledge to solve societal problems? Our unit Inland Water Systems, department Water Quality and Ecology, is looking for an

Early Stage Researcher (ESR) for a period of 3 years

What can you expect as an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) for a period of 3 years? As an Early Stage Researcher you will work on a project (https://h2020-p-trap.eu/) that is a part of the European H2020 Marie Slodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network P-TRAP (Preventing Phosphorus Input to Surface Waters – New Concepts in Trapping, Recycling and Management). P-TRAP tackles two urgent interlinked global problems: Potential shortages of phosphate for producing agricultural fertilizers and the decline of surface water quality upon excess phosphate input. P-TRAP targets the P flux from artificially drained agricultural areas and the internal P load of lakes. By this, P-TRAP aims at intercepting the undesired flux of phosphate from agricultural systems into surface waters and developing a phosphate recycling strategy.

You will investigate Fe coupled P export from drained agricultural watersheds. This requires a number of steps. First of all the export from soils and sediments to surface water is important, particularly if water passes a strong redox gradient. Second, the processes in the surface water, such as precipitation, sorption, erosion and settling are important to quantify the transport of P and Fe within the surface water system, all the way to the sea. Next to the understanding of the system, you will develop strategies optimising the retention of Fe-bound P.

You will perform both lab and field work. This will be combined with geochemical/ hydrological modelling for predicting long term behaviour of P-loaded Fe(III) oxides in drainage systems.

During the project you will be based at other locations for a short period to improve specific skills. These secondments are planned at consultancy office ARCADIS (The Netherlands), and at KUL (Belgium).

The Utrecht team: You (ESR 3) will closely cooperate with ESRs 6 and 11, hosted at Utrecht University, and based close to Deltares. Moreover, Deltares, TNO and Utrecht University have a joined laboratory. Thilo Berends (UU) will be co-supervisor. The Deltares team consists of a daily supervisor, Dr Leonard Osté, and a number of Deltares colleagues that are involved in the project or in adjacent projects (at least Dr. Stefan Jansen and Mrs Gerlinde Roskam). Within Deltares you will be working in the team of Water Quality and Ecology which is part of the unit Inland Water Systems.

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

Innovative Training Networks (ITNs) have a number of requirements with respect to the candidates:

  • You shall at the time of recruitment, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of your research career.
  • You have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • 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 an MSc in earth or aquatic or environmental science, with a strong passion for biogeochemistry and hydrology;
  • 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;
  • You are fluent in English (reading, writing and speaking).

The working environment: 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 developing and implementing 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. Evaluations and interviews will begin May 1st of 2019 and continue until the position is filled. The intended start will be September 1st of 2019. Only applications via our website will be considered.

For more information on the content of this vacancy you may contact Dr. Leonard Osté (leonard.oste@deltares.nl; phone +31 88 3358 472), for practical information on working at Deltares you may contact the Mrs. Renée Talens, head of the department Water Quality and Ecology, (Renee.talens@deltares.nl;phone: +31 88 3358 589).

Acquisition for this vacancy is not appreciated.