Two PhD positions in the field of climate dynamics

 The Atlantic Ocean Circulation, in particular its zonally averaged component called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), is one of the  tipping elements in the climate system. The AMOC is sensitive to freshwater perturbations and may undergo a transition to a climate disrupting state within a few decades under continuing greenhouse gas emissions. The potential climate impacts of such a collapse are enormous and hence reliable estimates of the probability of its occurrence before the year 2100 are crucial information for policy makers.

To research this subject further we currently have two PhD position available focussing on different aspects. The work in the first PhD position will focus on the novel computational methodology to determine transition probabilities between AMOC equilibrium states in a hierarchy of climate models. The work in the second PhD position will focus on the simulation of an AMOC collapse using one of the state-of-the-art climate models under climate change.


We are looking for inspiring and driven candidates who have:

  • a MSc in physics, applied mathematics, meteorology, geosciences or a related field;
  • excellent skills in scientific programming and numerical / statistical analysis of simulated and observed data;
  • experience with machine learning applications (considered an advantage for position 1);
  • experience with climate modeling (considered an advantage for position 2);
  • basic knowledge of (geophysical) fluid dynamics is considered an advantage for both positions;

The selection will be exclusively based on qualification without regard to gender, religion, national origin. Disabled applicants with comparable qualifications will be given preference. Candidates should be able to demonstrate motivation and a strong eagerness to learn, and have the ability to both work independently and as part of a team.


  • the opportunity to work in and with a team of leading experts;
  • a full-time position for 4 years;
  • a full-time gross salary that starts at €2541 in the first year and increases to €3247 per month in the fourth year (scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (cao));
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions 
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     based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions laid down in the cao 

 for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. For example, there are agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment yourself via the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we like to encourage you to continue to grow.

For more information, please visit working at the Faculty of Science. 

About the organisation

The Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht 

 (IMAU) offers a unique research and teaching environment, in which the fundamentals of the climate system are studied. Research is organized in five themes: Atmospheric Dynamics, Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry, Coastal and Shelf Sea Dynamics, Ice and Climate and Oceans and Climate. In 2017, IMAU research quality and impact were qualified as 'world leading' by an international visitation committee. Currently, IMAU employs 15 faculty members and 10 support staff and some 20 Postdocs and 30 PhD students, and offers a friendly, open and international atmosphere.

At the Faculty of Science 

 there are 6 departments to make a fundamental connection with: Biology, Chemistry, Information and Computing Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Physics. Each of these is made up of distinct institutes which work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing problems. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects.

Utrecht University 

 is a friendly and ambitious university at the heart of an ancient city. We love to welcome new scientists to our city – a thriving cultural hub that is consistently rated as one of the world’s happiest cities. We are renowned for our innovative interdisciplinary research and our emphasis on inspirational research and excellent education. We are equally well-known for our familiar atmosphere and the can-do attitude of our people. This fundamental connection attracts Researchers, Professors and PhD candidates from all over the globe, making both the university and the Faculty of Science a vibrant international and wonderfully diverse community.

Additional information

If you have any questions that you’d like us to answer, please contact prof. dr. ir. Henk A. Dijkstra 

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Do you have a questions about the application procedure? Please send an email to 



Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.
If you have the expertise and the experience to excel in this role than simply respond via the “Apply” button!
Please enclose:

  • letter of motivation;
  • curriculum vitae;
  • names, telephone numbers, and email addresses of at least two references.

If this specific opportunity isn’t for you, but you know someone else who may be interested, please forward the link to them.

Some connections are fundamental – Be one of them

The application deadline is 22 August 2022.

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