PhD position Modelling the ecological effects of floating solar panels

  • Stichting Deltares
  • Deltares, Daltonlaan, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 24/04/2024
Office work Environmental education Other

Job Description

Are you an enthusiastic ecologist or environmental engineer with a strong affinity for aquatic biodiversity and renewable energy? Do you want to work within a multidisciplinary European project? Then this job might be interesting for you!  

What you can expect as PhD candidate 

As part of the European SuRE (Sustainable, Reliable and Efficient Floating PV power plants) consortium, Deltares perfoms research on the effects of floating solar panels on aquatic ecosystems in Europe. The overall SuRE objective is to increase competitiveness of floating solar power plants compared to fossil fuels and land-consuming renewable technologies by enabling sustainable design and reducing costs. But to do that we need to research the effects. And that is where you come in! 

As PhD candidate you will focus on the ecological impact of floating solar on the aquatic food web in freshwater systems. 
For your research you will: 

  • use a combination of ecological impact modelling applying existing software, in-situ monitoring data, and field observations at large scale solar power plants.  
  • You will have access to unique data sets on the impact of floating solar.  
  • You will design different model-scenarios for developing power plants often in combination with measures that mitigate potential negative effects of floating solar on aquatic food webs. 
  • As a PhD candidate you will attend (international) conferences and workshops as part of your academic and personal development.  
  • Publish your research results in scientific journals and disseminate your research results to a broad audience of scientists, policy makers, industry and stakeholders in the form of presentations. 

Your work will contribute to a European guideline which proposes adjustments for development and implementation of floating solar with a minimally negative and/or maximally positive ecological impact. You will be able to become an expert on the ecological impact modelling and find yourself in the middle of a strong international network working on renewable energy.  


The candidate we are looking for:  

  • Has a MSc degree in aquatic sciences (ecology, environmental engineering, or a related domain);  
  • Is passionate about protecting biodiversity and increasing the use of renewable energy;  
  • Has experience  with ecological modelling or is eager to start learning;
  • Has technical skills to analyse data using scripts (R, Python, Matlab, etc.);  
  • Is a team player who likes to think and work across disciplinary boundaries; 
  • Has excellent English oral and writing skills (English at C1 level or better qualifies). 


To achieve this, you work closely with your supervisors from Deltares (ao Dr S. de Rijk and Dr T. Troost) and your university promotor prof Dr L. Senerpont Domis from Twente University (TUT). You will be employed by Deltares and based at Deltares in Utrecht. 

About SuRE project 

The transition to a climate-neutral society powered by renewable energy systems is one of the great challenges currently facing Europe and the world. Floating solar is renewable energy solution that offers the potential for largescale rollout. However, the technical and financial feasibility in combination with the ecological impacts still has to be shown. The H2020 Innovation Action project ‘SuRE’ aims to address these challenges.  

The SuRE consortium consists of leading knowledge institutes in the field of solar energy and three leading European technology providers. SuRE strengthens Deltares’ already leading position as knowledge hub and partner within sustainable deployment of floating solar. Besides the ecological impact, the consortium will assess circularity and life cycle analyses of floating solar as part of a sustainable design.  

Deltares offers: 

  • You will be offered a temporary position (1.0 FTE) of 3 years; 
  • The gross salary will be in line with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU);  
  • Excellent training opportunities for personal and professional growth;  
  • Deltares has an open, inclusive and collaborative culture. 

Are you interested in using your expertise to enable a transition to renewable energy that safeguards the marine environment? And do you fit the qualifications? Apply directly by uploading your CV and motivation letter/video.  Deadline May 1st 
First round of Interviews will be held on May 14 and 16.  
More information you can contact Brian de Bruin (Recruiter) /+31615267686). 

Career level


Career options

Academic, research and sciences