Three PhD positions on Delta Adaptation

Three PhD positions are offered at the Department of Physical Geography at Utrecht University. Are you passionate about contributing to research on climate change impacts, which are becoming increasingly urgent? The Department of Physical Geography seeks a team of three PhD candidates who will each work on a separate project:

  1. Global Delta Adaptation Physical Solution Space aims to understand adaptation measures in deltas globally to climate-driven flood- risk due to sea- level rise and changes in river flows. You will work on a quantitative approach to assess the effectiveness and physical feasibility of different adaptation measures and pathways under a range of climate and socio-economic scenarios. Methods include model-based flood- risk analysis and pathways generation, which will result in an assessment of delta adaptation pathways and resources globally.
  2. Rhine-Meuse Delta Adaptation to Extreme Compound Events focuses on understanding adaptation measures and pathways to uncertain compounding climate extremes such as extreme rainfall, river flow, and storm surge. You will work on modelling water management and land use change measures under scenarios involving multiple hazards for the Rhine-Meuse delta. With this model you can assess the physical feasibility of adaptation measures that work with the functioning of the natural environment (“What does the delta want?”). The research will be carried out in collaboration with Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch government authority for public works and water management.
  3. Strategies to Enhance Sedimentation for Delta Adaptation is about sedimentation in deltas as adaptation strategy to relative sea-level rise. You will explore strategies to reintroduce sedimentation to discover their potential and limitations worldwide. You will develop a generic modeling approach to quantify the effectiveness of these strategies in reducing flood risk. This model can then be used to better understand the role of sediments in delta adaptation, and their potential in combination with other adaptation measures to enhance delta sustainability.

Three PhD positions on Delta Adaptation – Working at Utrecht University – Utrecht University (

PhD vacancy: Holocene palaeoflood research

A 4-yr PhD position is offered at the VU Earth Science Department to combine the information from dendrochronological and sedimentary palaeoflood data in NW-Europe to gain a better insight into the spatial and temporal variability of the Holocene hydroclimate – specifically that of extreme events. With your research, you make an important contribution to addressing today’s societal challenges including climate change and natural hazards. A fundamentally enhanced understanding of drivers for hydroclimatic change and natural flood variability will lead to better understanding of the unfolding effects of a rapidly warming climate.

The project main aims are to establishing if (i) dendrochronological and sedimentary data are signalling the same hydrological events and trends in riverine environments, and if these can be deployed together to improve our abilities to reconstruct the magnitudes and specific timing of extreme flood events, and (ii) whether largest floods did have a supra-regional impact, and if such events align with known periods of hydroclimatic instability or relatively warm/cold climate conditions that have been recorded in NW-Europe. The project involves fieldwork to collect novel sedimentary palaeoflood data and to investigate changes in fluvial geomorphology associated with flood regime changes of the Meuse, Rhine and Overijsselse Vecht rivers.

This project is funded by a governmental grant to stimulate independent research, and the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency. Results will be presented at (international) conferences and peer-reviewed publications will form the basis of a PhD dissertation. The candidate will be involvement in teaching activities, such as the supervision of BSc and MSc thesis projects. We seek a candidate that is strongly motivated, has the ability to work across disciplines, and is eager to participate in dedicated research communities such as the NCR (Netherlands Centre for River Studies) and the GLOCOPH (Global Continental Palaeohydrology) working group.

Vacature bij Deltares

Ben jij een praktisch ingestelde hydraulisch/morfologisch modelleur? Heb je een achtergrond in civiele techniek of vergelijkbaar? Bij onze afdeling Rivierkunde en binnenvaart, kun je je talent inzetten om bij te dragen aan integraal rivierbeheer, reservoirmanagement en een duurzame toekomstbestendige binnenvaart in binnen- en buitenland. Hoe? Lees snel verder:


Postdoc vacancy: Rivers of the Silk Roads

Rivers of the Silk Roads: how water shaped societies and empires in Central Asia 

(Leverhulme Trust funded project) 


36 month PDRA (£34,304 starting salary) with expertise in remote sensing and hydraulic modelling required from September 1st, 2022 to work with Professor Mark Macklin (University of Lincoln, UK) and Dr Willem Toonen (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands)  


Project summary and PDRA role: The importance of Central Asia’s Silk Roads to world history is well known. But what is not understood is the role that rivers in the region played in the development of nomadic and urban societies, and empires, particularly irrigation-based agriculture but also as water-rich corridors for pastoralists and travellers. Rivers of the Silk Roads is a novel and ambitious interdisciplinary project which uses state-of-the-art dating, hydraulic modelling and satellite imaging techniques, combined with archaeological investigations of ancient canal systems, to provide the first multi-millennial length reconstructions of changing water resources and water hazards along Central Asia’s Silk Roads. The PDRA will facilitate process-based connections between short- and long-term hydroclimatic change and the dynamics of regional flood-irrigation networks in each study area. Site based reconstructions will be made of flood regime changes in order to infer water availability for irrigation. Combined with a functional analysis of irrigation-canal networks, based on remote sensing and field investigations, agricultural yield will be modelled. The PDRA, supervised by Professor Macklin and Dr Toonen, will undertake two work packages.


WP1. Remote sensing and mapping of irrigation infrastructure, palaeochannels and canals, alongside ancient settlement distribution. Using high-resolution, gridded dataset of Earth’s floodplains generated from Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, and declassified CORONA satellite images, the PDRA will map (GIS-aided visual interpretation) and then digitise canal networks and associated field systems. CORONA images (1960-1972; KH-4B) are easily accessible from the USGS EROS Archive, have high spatial resolution (1.8-2.7 m) and because these are amongst the earliest imagery available across Central Asia, they predate the considerable damage and loss of archaeological sites (including ancient canals and field systems) that has happened over the last 40 years as a result of agricultural and urban development. All data, including new and recorded archaeological sites, will be mapped and archived using ArcGIS with the intention of developing an open-access GIS that would be made available to researchers and heritage managers in both Central Asia and more widely. From these analyses the PDRA will establish the form and phases of irrigation infrastructure in each of the study areas, including quantitative information on canal system length and dimensions, as well as the total area of irrigated fields and how these developed and changed over time.

WP2. Hydraulic modelling of canal systems to assess the likely population size they could sustain based on irrigation-supported agricultural yield, and how this may have changed over time. The cross sectional area and slopes of canals for each phase of irrigation development will be surveyed and, using an appropriate roughness value derived from Manning’s equation, their maximum flow carrying capacity calculated. To evaluate the performance of canal networks for different time periods, with respect the volume of flow and the areas of irrigated land that they could support, the PDRA will use the US Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center’s (2009) HEC-GeoRAS model. Average spring and summer flows from the feeder river systems based on

gauged, tree ring and palaeohydrological estimates (determined from the dimensions of feeder channels contemporary with the phase of irrigation being modelled will be numerically routed through the canal system to evaluate the performance of the canal network. This will include determining if the feeder canal was able to supply all of the secondary canals simultaneously or if it was necessary to create a schedule of rotating water delivery. The PDRA will use the United Nations FAO “CROPWAT” software, to calculate the amount of water to grow staple cereal crops and vegetables that require irrigation, and compare this with estimated flows in canal systems for each time period.


For further information please email Professor Mark Macklin ( or Dr Willem Toonen ( The successful applicant should be available to start this post on September 1st 2022, or very shortly after this date. 


Ems-Scheldt Symposium

On 16 and 17 June the recurrent Ems-Scheldt Symposium will be held in Wageningen, where scientists and practitioners gather to focus on (bio)physical processes and the associated ecosystem services in the Ems and the Scheldt estuaries. All interested are invited to participate. If you intend to give a presentation during this German-Dutch-Belgian symposium, then a short abstract is required (

RCEM Sessions

Dear all,

We are happy to announce that, as an alternative to our biennial River, Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics (RCEM) Meeting, we will host three virtual RCEM Zoom sessions this year:

  • 30 Nov 2021 (16:00-19:00 CET) “System response to anthropogenic impact and climate change” Astrid Blom, Laura Stancanelli & Shelby Marie Ahrendt, contact
  • 2 Dec 2021 (8:30-12:00 CET)  “Ecomorphodynamics” Nunzio Siviglia, Stefano Lanzoni & Guido Zolezzi, contact
  • 9 Dec 2021 (16:00-19:00 CET)  “Morphodynamics and sediment transport”Volker Weitbrecht & Cristina Rachelly, contact (Volker)

The goal is to provide a cross-cutting forum for scientific discussion in the spirit of RCEM (i.e., using combinations of theoretical, observational, experimental and modelling approaches), especially targeted at young researchers (graduate, PhD students, early-career post docs).

We have different time slots between sessions to allow people from different parts of the globe to attend. The sessions will be recorded, unless a speaker requests otherwise. This will allow folks who are in time zones that don’t permit live attendance to view talks post session. Each session comprises one keynote presentation (to be announced) and a limited number of shorter presentations.


Please express your interest in giving a short presentation by sending a max 200-word abstract through this form: In the selection of presentations, we will aim for diversity in the speaker list and a balanced contribution from the major RCEM research fields (river – coast – estuary). The deadline for abstract submission is Monday 8 November 2021.


Please register to attend the sessions here: You will receive a calendar invite with a Zoom link (and password). The full program for the 3 sessions will be announced around 20 November, 2021.

We hope you will be able to join!

All the best, the RCEM team

Astrid Blom

Associate Professor – River Engineering

Coordinator MSc track Hydraulic Engineering

Introducing Young NCR

YNCR was created in December 2020 as a network for young and early career professionals within the field of river studies in the Netherlands. Are you an MSc or PhD candidate, a young professional within government, consultancy or an engineering firm, or an early career researcher at a university or research institute? Join our first online drink to get to know your peers. More information

NCR DAYS Call for Abstracts

The annual meeting of the Netherlands Centre for River studies (NCR), the NCR DAYS, will this year be organized by the University of Twente on 11 and 12 February 2021. The NCR-days will be held online for the first time in its history.

This year we will feature three inspiring keynote lectures, six oral presentation sessions, three very special poster sessions with plenty of interaction, and stimulating social sessions to meet your new and established peers.

For more information, click here

NCR & vEGU2021

From 19 – 30 April 2021, EGU will be hosting vEGU21: Gather Online (#vEGU21), a fully virtual conference that aims at providing a similar experience to the annual General Assembly, normally held in Vienna. All sessions will be in the new EGU virtual PICO (vPICO) format, which offers the opportunity to address a truly worldwide and diverse audience.

For an overview of sessions organised by NCR partners, see this link. Are you organising a session? Mail us at to promote your session through NCR.

Your opinion matters!

Are you currently involved you in or have knowledge about one the projects of Dutch Flood Protection Program (HWBP in Dutch)? Then, you can support our researchers from the Law, governance and implementation theme in their survey study! Help us by completing the survey via this link.

Save the Date: NCR DAYS 2020

The next edition of the annual meeting of the Netherlands Centre for River Studies (the NCR Days) will be organized by Rijkswaterstaat and will take place on February 13 and 14, 2020.

The program will based upon the main river functions that Rijkswaterstaat works on – water safety, clean and healthy water, fast and safe water-borne transport, and water availability. Rijkswaterstaat contributes to The Integral River Management (IRM) program, one of the main programs of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Watermanagement. The key task of IRM is to support those functions in a sustainable  and efficient way, and do so under the changing physical an social conditions. The central theme of the NCR days is therefore titled “Managing Changing Rivers”.

For more information, please see the event page.

Multi-scale fluvial remote sensing, from large scale planning to restoration monitoring

Lunchtime seminar by Herve Piegay. Fluvial remote sensing is becoming a very critical issue to better understand river processes and changes, target management actions at regional scale, diagnose river status and promote adaptive strategies through intensive channel monitoring. A few examples from South-east France are introduced and discussed. More information and registration following this link.

KPP Rivierkundig onderzoek: Nieuwsbrief Maart 2019

This post is only available in Dutch


Het doorlopende toegepast-onderzoeksprogramma KPP Rivierkundig Onderzoek (KPP River research) heeft een nieuwe nieuwsbrief uitgebracht waarin het onderzoek voor 2018 is samengevat. Dit geeft een overzicht van de meest aansprekende resultaten. Onderdelen als een case studie morfologisch modelleren bij de langsdammen in de Waal of bodembescherming met hout bij ontgrondingskuilen in de Rijnmaasmonding staan ook dit jaar op het programma.

De nieuwsbrief kan worden gedownload van de projectpagina (link).

SAVE THE DATE: River Flow 2020, 7-10 July 2020

The 10th Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics under the auspices of IAHR, River Flow 2020, will be held in Delft, The Netherlands, from 7 to 10 July 2020, (with masterclasses on the 6th of July).

Find updates or subscribe to the newsletter at The deadline for abstracts submission is 15 August 2019.

The conference themes are:

  1. rivers in urbanised areas;
  2. climate change and extreme events;
  3. river functions under pressure;
  4. nature based solutions;
  5. the healthy river;
  6. river resources: food, energy, water;
  7. the digital river;
  8. river fundamentals.

We look forward to meeting you in Delft next year.

The local organising committee:

Wim Uijttewaal, (Delft University of Technology), chair
Astrid Blom (Delft University of Technology)
Mário Franca (IHE Delft)
Alessandra Crosato (IHE Delft)
Ralph Schielen (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Twente University)
Johan Boon (Deltares)
Clàudia Ylla Arbós (Delft University of Technology)
Nicole Fontein (Delft University of Technology)

Save the date: inaugural address prof. Franca

Mário J. Franca will deliver his Inaugural Address as Professor of Hydraulic Engineering for River Basin Development at IHE Delft / TU Delft, on 12th July 2019, 16:00 hours.

The Address will be preceded by a Mini-Symposium and followed by a reception and it will be held at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Westvest 7, 2611AX Delft, the Netherlands.

The preliminary programme is

13:30      Mini Symposium with the presence of Bettina Schaefli, University of Lausanne and Editor of Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, and Thanos Papanicolaou, University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Chief Editor of the Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, ASCE

16:00           Inaugural Address followed by a reception


Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in River Engineering

Swansea University is looking for a new addition to their team: “We are looking to appoint a Lecturer in River Engineering to complement our expertise in hydrology and coastal. A background in computational methods is preferable but an experimentalist would also be a welcome addition to the group.” Application closes January 24.

For more information, please visit this link.

NCR supports the Danubius-RI inititiative

The International Centre for Advanced Studies on River-Sea Systems, or DANUBIUS-RI, is future distributed research infrastructure. Its purpose is to bring together leading expertise, facilities and river-sea-systems to foster knowledge exchange and more. This aligns with the goals of NCR, which is why NCR has decided to support the development of Danubius-RI.

Read more.

Save the date: NCR Days 2019 “Land of Rivers”

The next edition of the annual meeting of the Netherlands Centre for River studies (NCR-Days) will be held in the Ruppert Building at Utrecht University campus on 31 January and 1 February 2019.

For this edition we are putting together an exciting program with interesting keynote lectures and presentations around the theme: Land of Rivers. This theme links mono-disciplinary excellence to multi-disciplinary innovation in a variety of subjects ranging from flood safety, (bio) morphology, and river governance to long-term sustainable delta management.

More information will be provided in the coming months. For now, you can use any of the links below to save the date to your calendar!

Click to add to
iCalendar  •  Google Calendar •  Outlook

Presentations online for Low-land hydropower themeday

On September 20, IHE Delft, NCR and NCK organised a themeday revolving around hydropower in low-head conditions. We look back to a very interesting exchange of ideas and practices both in The Netherlands and beyond.

The presentations are now online and available for download from the IHE website, here is a direct link.

The presentations were also recorded, and can be watched on YouTube.

RiverFlow 2020 is coming to Delft

The next – 10th! – edition of the RiverFlow conference is coming to The Netherlands in 2020. Delft University of Technology is spearheading the organisation of this key biennial conference, in close cooperation with NCR partners.

Download the first announcement flyer here. The conference website is currently under construction:

Introducing KPP River research

Within KPP project river research (“Kennis Primaire Processen project rivierkundig onderzoek”) questions from the Dutch river authority Rijkswaterstaat are answered by applied research. The applied studies are focussed on practical solutions for the questions of the river manager, aiming to apply the solutions within 3 years. This project has now been added to the list of NCR projects. Here, their page will offer downloads, contact information and a short overview of the project.

NCR Days 2018 Book of abstracts now online

The Book of Abstracts of the anniversary edition of the NCR Days. Celebrating 20-years of collaboration in the Netherlands Centre for River studies (NCR), we will look back
and especially forward, with a broad scope of keynote lectures, workshops, presentations, interactive posters and movies around the theme ”the Future River”.

The best poster award was granted to Fatima Azhar and Alessandra Crosato of IHE-Delft for their work “Morphodynamic Changes around a Bridge Pier”, which can be found on page 40-41 of this publication.

Check out the NCR publications to download the book of abstracts, or follow this direct link.

Innovative Monitoring Techniques for Ecohydraulic Research

After the inspiring key note by Paul  Kinzel during the Friday morning programme of the NCR Days 2018, we encourage you to submit an abstract to the special session on innovative monitoring techniques for ecohydraulic research during the 12th IAHR’s International Symposium on Ecohydraulics from 19-8 to 24-8 in Tokyo Japan. This special session is organised by dr. Ellis Penning of Deltares and dr. Tonina of University of Idaho. Deadline for abstract submission is March 16!

Reminder: Future Deltas Session on EGU 2018

This is a reminder to to submit an abstract to the session ‘Sustainable management of river deltas under pressure’ (Session GM6.6/BG7.6/HS5.17), to be held at the EGU General Assembly 2018, 8-13 April 2018, Vienna, Austria.

The aim of this session is to bring together knowledge of both natural and societal processes (inter)acting in a delta, and their impacts, which is essential to find sustainable solutions for delta management. We invite contributions to this session on (1) human-induced processes driving change in river deltas, (2) impacts of these changing conditions, and (3) optimising delta management solutions, in particular by using an interdisciplinary approach.

Please check the EGU website for more information and application.

The deadline for submitting an abstract is 10 January 2018.

This session is organised by Future Deltas, a research programme of Utrecht University (NL), in collaboration with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (USA) and the University of Southampton (UK).

We hope many of you will contribute!

Conveners of this session:
Esther Stouthamer (Utrecht University)
Hans Middelkoop (Utrecht University)
Liviu Giosan (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Robert Nicholls (University of Southampton)



Higher biodiversity due to river-expanding measures

Researchers of Utrecht University and Radboud University have revealed the successful combination of a lower flood risk with the start of biodiversity recovery. Multiple groups of endangered and protected species are returning to river areas in the Netherlands. The researchers published their findings on 8 November in the open access journal Science Advances.

To read up on their study, see this storyline, their article or the coverage in Dutch and Swedish news.