Department of Physical Geography, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands. 

The Utrecht University Department of Physical Geography is looking for an enthusiastic PhD candidate interested in climate change and natural hazards in mountains.

Application deadline 27 August 2021.

Job description

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD candidate interested in climate change and natural hazards in mountains. You will be working on a project that aims to assess the impact of climate change on debris flow and flood risk in high mountain Asia. The project aim is to investigate triggering mechanisms of debris flows and floods, assess climate change impacts on the frequency and magnitude and perform a risk analysis of cascading hazards at river basin scale. In this inter-disciplinary project you will combine novel field observations with unpiloted airborne vehicles and weather stations to study site specific triggering mechanisms such as landslides, freeze-thaw cycles and extreme precipitation. Satellite imagery will be used to create inventories of historical landslides and debris flows for different alpine catchments. These observations will be integrated in a basin scale model that includes landslides, debris flows and floods in addition to the hydrology. In a final step we will design scenarios of future climate change and exposure of communities and infrastructure to assess changes in future risks of debris flows and floods. You will be supported and supervised by a team of experienced and enthusiastic scientists in the field of natural hazard research, remote sensing and modelling.


You have a MSc degree in a relevant area, such as physical geography, hydrology, environmental engineering, earth surface dynamics or a closely related field. You have a sound affinity with quantitative methods rooted in data-science, remote sensing and/or numerical modelling. You are passionate about mountain hazards and extreme environments and you are willing and capable of undertaking fieldwork in sometimes challenging circumstances. You are able to demonstrate English language proficiency.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact:
Walter Immerzeel (Professor of Mountain Hydrology), via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation. Applications should include the names of at least two referees (including e-mail addresses and phone numbers).

Interviews will be planned in September. Due to the current situation regarding the Corona virus (COVID-19) the process of selection and interviews may be subject to change.

The application deadline is 27 August 2021.


Image by Makalu

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