Postdoc position: “Satellite remote sensing of the footprint of wind farms in the North Sea”

The department of Estuarine & Delta Systems (EDS) of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (Royal NIOZ) is looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher with a PhD degree in earth observation, physical geography or civil engineering.

2020-07-14 16:14:27

VACANCY ID:              2020 – 36
CLOSING DATE:         September 1st, 2020

The project

To reduce CO2 emissions, the Netherlands is committed to an energy transition from using fossil fuels to renewable energy. As part of this transition, offshore wind farms are being build and planned on a large scale in the North Sea. To enable good governance of offshore wind energy generation, balancing economical aspects and the marine environment in a sustainable way, the effects of wind farms on the physical and ecological processes in the North Sea need to be understood.

So far, the spatial ecological footprint of large-scale wind farms is poorly understood. This relates in particular to the role of turbine foundations on turbidity, with potential impact on the under-water light climate, nutrient availability and primary production, and hence on the entire food web, and on the role of turbine foundations in providing hard substrate for filter-feeding animals, with effects on nutrient cycling.

This project aims to provide insight in these effects at multiple spatial scales, using a combination of field observations, remote sensing applications and numerical hydrodynamics-ecosystem models, as to allow optimization of the implementation of wind farms from an ecological, economical and governance perspective. The postdoc position will focus on the use of satellite remote sensing in this context.


The vacancy

You will apply optical satellite remote sensing to elucidate the spatial footprint of large-scale wind farms, focusing on the effect of wind turbines on turbulence and wake formation and hence, turbidity and sediment dynamics. You will retrieve suspended sediment concentrations from long, harmonized, time-series of satellite data. You will use these spatiotemporal data to investigate how turbidity levels vary depending on the configuration of the wind turbines, and how these change with time after construction of wind farms, and analyse effects as a function of wind/wave and tidal conditions and mixing processes, as well as the characteristics of the substrate and water depth. The results will provide direct information for management and will also be used as a validation data set for the modelling study in this project.


The candidate

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a PhD degree in earth observation, physical geography or civil engineering. The candidate should have a good understanding of remote sensing, preferably with expertise in water quality. Experience with handling satellite data and programming is a prerequisite. Candidates should be capable of planning and organizing their own work independently, and meet deadlines imposed by the project.

The candidate should be open and communicative, and keen on interacting with project partners in frontier-applied research. Excellent communication skills and good English oral and writing skills are demanded, as the candidate must publish the findings in scientific journals and effectively communicate results to users.

The candidate will be positioned at NIOZ, and work in a research team that involves, among other partners, NIOZ, Deltares and WMR.



Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). We offer a position for a fixed-term period of 1 year (fulltime). The salary is compliant to the CAO-OI (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes), a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus, and flexible work arrangements.

You may expect attractive secondary employment conditions. We offer generous relocation expenses for employees coming from abroad and support with finding accommodation.

The position will be based at the NIOZ-Yerseke, which is at commuting distance of cities like Antwerpen, Breda, Middelburg and Vlissingen.


More information

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. dr. Daphne van der Wal, research leader. For additional information about the procedure, please contact Sigrid Moerbeek, sr. HRM advisor.

Please visit the Department of Estuarine & Delta Systems (EDS) here.

Job interviews are foreseen for September 2020, in Yerseke or online. The starting date for this position is ± December 1st  2020.


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