Postdoc position ‘Assessing the Effectiveness of Blue-Green roofs to Reduce Risk from Extreme Weather’

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Postdoc position ‘Assessing the Effectiveness of Blue-Green roofs to Reduce Risk from Extreme Weather’
  • Doctorate
Are you a postdoc researcher and would you like to work on smart solutions to urban climate adaptation together with local stakeholders? Then we would like to get to know you. Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 1

Job description

Economic losses due to weather related natural hazards (Extreme rainfall and droughts) continue to rise rapidly in urban areas. For example, the extreme rainfall event in Amsterdam in July 2014 caused a huge impact and economic losses, and these impacts will increase in the future through climate change The current sewer systems in urban areas are often not designed to cope with (future-) extreme events, and novel adaptation measures are needed. In Resilio project, the City of Amsterdam will develop smart system of blue-green roofs on different pilot locations. These smart blue-green roofs are essentially a layer of vegetation and water on top of an existing roof with the ability to store or release water depending on weather conditions. The vegetation layer is able to absorb rainwater, evaporate a part of the rainwater, and slows down the discharge of rainwater into the sewer-system. Another advantage is the ability of blue-green roofs to insulate a building, keeping the building warm in winter, and maintaining lower temperatures in summer time. This latter aspect is important in the future, when cities are faced with increasing droughts and heat waves.
The VU Amsterdam has the task to assess the effectiveness of green roofs with a Postdoc research, and to scale up the blue-green roofs at the scale of the whole City with a computer model. This model shows the (a) the effect of smart blue-green roofs on the hydrological cycle of the Amsterdam and (b) the model supports to calculate cost and benefits of reducing risk from extreme rainfall by scaling up green roofs to the City level.

Your duties
  • collect hydrological measurements at the different pilot locations, together with the HVA (Hogeschool van Amsterdam)
  • set up a hydrological model for the Amsterdam with Waternet, include scenarios with different numbers of blue-green roof surfaces, and calibrate the model using the hydrological data from the three pilot sites
  • discuss simulation results with stakeholders such as Waternet and the City of Amsterdam


  • the candidate must speak Dutch, and have a PhD degree in Earth sciences, Hydrology, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Climate modelling, or related fields
  • the preferred candidate will have knowledge of programming (Python/Matlab) and simulation models, and also have experience using economic methods to assess environmental effects
  • ability to collaborate and communicate in a larger research team of researchers from other disciplines and societal stakeholders involved in international research projects

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,709 (scale 10)
and a maximum €4,274 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The initial employment contract will affect a period of 18 months, with the possibility of extension.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,500 students. We employ more than 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.
About the institute
Established in 1971, IVM is a leading environmental research institute that is internationally recognised for its high quality research output in a range of environmental disciplines, as well as for its interdisciplinary work. The mission of the institute is to contribute to sustainable development and care for the environment through scientific research and teaching. IVM aims to do excellent problem-oriented research that is useful to a wide range of stakeholders in the Netherlands and internationally. A unique strength of our research is to understand sustainability problems in their social and economic context. IVM’s research community works within four departments: Environmental Economics; Environmental Geography; Environmental Policy Analysis; and Water and Climate Risk. Since 2001 IVM has been part of the Faculty of Science at VU Amsterdam (legal name Stichting VU).

About the department
The department of Water and Climate Risk is a dynamic group of 45 international researchers, faculty members and PhD students within the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM). Explicit attention is given to the interaction between the hydrological and climate systems, and how these interactions lead to risk to society, the economy, and the environment. The focus is on water and climate extremes such as floods and droughts, to estimate impacts from these extremes on various economic sectors, and to examine which strategies can be developed to reduce impacts and risk. This requires the mapping of climate and water-related hazards, as well as the exposure of people and assets and their vulnerability, and estimating associated costs to reduce risk. Risk management and risk transfer strategies are evaluated in the context of both developed and developing countries. Model simulations, data processing, data assimilation and the integration of economic instruments, such as insurance, are key scientific strengths of the department.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter before 15 January 2020.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Dr Toon Haer
Position: Assistant Professor
Telephone: +31 (0)20 59 89896

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