Assistant/Associate Professor in Quantitative Methods in Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk Assessments

Utrecht University Department of Physical Geography

Assistant/Associate Professor in Quantitative methods in natural hazards and disaster risk assessments (0.8 - 1.0 FTE)

Job description

At the Department of Physical Geography at Utrecht University, we are looking for an enthusiastic colleague to further strengthen our research and education on natural hazard and disaster risk analysis, related to landslides, debris flows, avalanches, floods, droughts, desertification, erosion and/or multi-hazards.

In this position you can build or further develop a quantitative research line on one of these topics. This may comprise innovative fieldwork, the development and use of spatio-temporal models, the use of various earth observation techniques (satellite/airborne/drone imagery) for monitoring hazards, application of machine learning methods, modelling the future impact of climate change on hazards, assessing the vulnerability of society for hazards, and the design of risk assessment frameworks.

You will develop the research line in close collaboration with the available expertise in the group on earth observation, spatio-temporal modelling, and (mountain)hydrology. You will contribute to the acquisition and execution of externally funded projects. We will enable and coach you to apply for personal research grants.

As an assistant/associate professor you will contribute to the supervision of younger scientists like PhD candidates and postdocs, p.e. by sharing responsibility for the field- and laboratory experiments, and presenting results in journal papers and at international conferences, in collaboration with the other staff. Besides research you will play an important role in education by inspiring students and developing innovative courses. Potential courses for your involvement include bachelor and master courses on natural hazards, earth observation and applied spatial-dynamic modelling. You can also be involved in organising and supervising bachelor fieldwork and are expected to supervise bachelor and master thesis projects.


To be successful in this interesting position you hold a PhD degree in a relevant area e.g., earth sciences, environmental sciences, physical geography, civil engineering, spatio-dynamic modelling, earth observation, or a closely related field. Selection criteria will include your academic track record your research vision, funding potential, technical skills in the above-mentioned fields, teaching experience, and communication skills.

You are a team player and open to collaboration with colleagues. We believe in a balance between individual and collective achievements. That’s why we assess both on individual and team performance. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives to complement our pleasant working environment.


The Department of Physical Geography provides a challenging and stimulating research environment with a great and enthusiastic team of colleagues and students. We offer a permanent position after an initial contract of 18 months. Upon a mutually positive evaluation at 16 months, your position will be offered permanently.

You will have access to computing facilities, laboratory infrastructure, coaching trajectory towards the Basic and Senior Teaching Qualification (if not yet acquired), coaching/guidance for supervision of researchers, training and support regarding the acquisition of external funds, and courses for personal and professional development.

We believe in supporting work life balance. That’s why we offer flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model), partially paid parental leave, a pension scheme and collective insurance schemes. Facilities for sports and childcare are available on our campus, which is only 15 minutes away from the historical city centre of Utrecht. The gross salary is in the range between €3,974 and €6,702 per month, dependent on qualifications and experience (scale 11-13 of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities). The salary is supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% per year.

About the organization

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, colleagues from various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Sustainability, Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, and Life Sciences.

The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old centre and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht has been consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the Netherlands.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth – always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The Department of Physical Geography is one of the largest of its kind in the world and has received multiple excellent evaluations over the last years. The Department has a strong and unique profile in research on natural hazards, land surface processes and (bio)morphology, hydrology, mountain hydrology, coast and river processes, spatio-dynamic modelling, earth observation and image processing. We look forward to your contributions to our team.

Research of the Department is directed to understanding the physical processes, patterns, and forms at the Earth's terrestrial surface. We strive to understand their mutual interactions, and their relations to biotic factors, including humanity. The natural hazards and (mountain)hydrology group investigates, observes and models a wide range of natural hazards (e.g. debris flows, floods, glacier hazards, droughts) and we study the impact of global change and human impact on these processes. We study these hazards using various advanced earth observation techniques, innovative spatial dynamic modelling approaches, and exciting fieldwork and lab experiments. We embed our hazard research in risk frameworks and address how climate change and socio-economic developments together shape future risk. Simulation models of the hazardous processes are constructed and used to develop projections for the next decennia and to assess the impact of human activities.

Additional information

For additional information contact prof. dr. Steven de Jong via, prof. dr. Walter Immerzeel via, or prof. dr. Rike Wagner via


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 via the 'apply now' button.

Interviews will be held in October.

The application deadline is