PhD position in Geodynamics
(geodynamics, tectonics, numerical modelling)

Fte: 1.0
VU unit:Faculty of Science, Department of Earth Sciences
Vacancy number: 18074
Closing date: 19 April 2018

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is a leading, innovative and growing university that is at the heart of society and actively contributes to new developments in teaching and research. Our university has ten faculties which span a wide range of disciplines, as well as several institutes, foundations, research centres, and support services. Its campus is located in the fastest-growing economic region in the Netherlands (the "Zuidas" district of Amsterdam). The university employs over 4,500 staff and has more than 23,000 students enrolled in a wide range of tertiary education programs.

The Faculty of Science offers a range of Bachelor and Master programs. Research at the faculty focuses on Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Life Sciences, Physics and Chemistry. Cutting-edge research and world-class teaching activities go hand in hand.

At the department of Earth Sciences, we study our dynamic planet from nano- to planetary scale. We quantify the key cycles and interactions in system Earth over timescales from seconds to millions of years by combining fieldwork, lab work and computer simulations. By bringing to bear our fundamental understanding of system Earth and our fresh curiosity we conduct research that is relevant for today's societal challenges including sustainability, climate change and natural hazards. The department's research facilities can be regarded as outstanding, while the department's international focus fosters national and international collaboration, both contributing to high-quality and high-impact research outcomes.


The PhD project forms part of a larger project (a Vici project from NWO, the Dutch National Science Foundation) on the processes of mountain building and continental deformation at subduction and collision zones.

Description of work:

The PhD candidate will develop models of subduction, collision and continental deformation to gain new quantitative insight into the geodynamic evolution of the India-Eurasia-Western Pacific collision-subduction system. The candidate will use numerical modelling techniques to run experiments simulating plate-mantle interaction, subduction and continental deformation. From these experiments, the candidate will quantify, amongst other things, the three-dimensional velocity field, strain field, stress field and topography through time, and compare these results with observations. The candidate will write a PhD thesis based on the research carried out during the project, consisting of a minimum of three first-author papers to be published in international peer-review journals.

The PhD candidate will form part of a team of academics, postdocs, PhD students and MSc students at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam that focus their research on the geodynamics and tectonics of the solid Earth. The PhD candidate will be trained on site.


We are looking for a highly motivated candidate who holds an MSc degree in Geodynamics, Tectonics, Structural Geology or Geophysical Fluid Dynamics with hands-on experience in numerical modelling of geological processes, and is dedicated to pursue a career in science. Experience with modelling of lithosphere/mantle dynamics will be considered advantageous.

Further particulars

The initial appointment will be for a period of 1 year. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it will be extended for another 3 years (total duration of 4 years).

Information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment can be found at and include, for example:

  • remuneration of 8.3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance;
  • solid pension scheme (ABP);
  • a minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment.


The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and ranges from a minimum of 2222,00 gross per month up to a maximum of 2840,00 gross per month based on fulltime employment (salary scale 85) for a PhD student.


For additional information please contact Wouter Schellart at


Please send a cover letter (outlining your motivation and research experience, max. 2 pages), CV (max. 4 pages), a list of publications, and the names and contact details of two references (all combined into one PDF-file) to Wouter Schellart at Please mention the vacancy number and job title 'PhD-position in Geodynamics' in the subject line.

Application deadline: 19 April 2018.

Starting date: no later than 3 September 2018.

Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.

posted: 19 March 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.