Postdoc position in high resolution polar climate modelling (1.0 FTE)

Hours per week: 
38 to 40
Faculty of Science
Department of Physics, Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht (IMAU)
Application deadline: 

Job description

The climate of the polar regions is changing and will be continue to change more in the future. These changes directly affect the local communities, but also indirectly the rest of the world by changed weather patterns, enhanced global warming and/or rising sea levels. Despite our growing understanding of the Earth’s climate and increasing computer calculation power, projections are surrounded by uncertainties. We don’t know how fast and to which extent humankind can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is also unknown, for example,  if the general circulation patterns in the Northern Hemisphere will change in a warmer with reduced sea ice; or if the Antarctic sea ice will decline in the future as virtually all GCMs predict, unlike what we have seen in the past four decades in which the Antarctic sea ice underwent no structural change. This vacancy is part of commitment of Utrecht University to the EU funded PolarRES consortium. The PolarRES consortium aims to increase our understanding of the future projected polar climate change and the subsequent societal impact.

The successful applicant will study various aspects of the complex polar atmosphere-ocean-ice system from an atmospheric perspective and derive and analyse projections of the future climate of both polar regions, using various emission pathways and climate change storylines. The core model in this project is the state-of-the-art polar regional climate model RACMO2. The job will start with optimizing the latest RACMO2 version for the PolarRES tasks, and, possibly, refining a few polar-related physical processes. Next, high-resolution simulations of the contemporary climate are derived and analysed with, among other topics, a focus on clouds. Finally, storyline-based high-resolution projections for Antarctica and the Arctic are made and analysed. During the project there is intense collaboration with other Postdocs working on PolarRES and RACMO2 research.

This position is part of PolarRES, an EU funded H2020 project, international collaboration with the PolarRES partners for model support, model analysis and dissemination is an integral part of the job.

We aim to start the job as soon as possible.


Our ideal candidate is driven, positive, and collaborative and has:

  • a PhD in regional climate modelling or earth-system modelling with a focus on polar atmospheric processes;
  • strong programming skills (Fortran, Python or similar);
  • thorough experience in running regional or global climate models;
  • affinity with numerical model development;
  • good reporting and presentation skills;
  • excellent level of written and spoken English; 
  • the ability to work both independently and within a wider research team;
  • the ability to critically assess your own results.


  • a full-time position for 2.5 to 3 years;
  • an inspiring and open-minded research group;
  • a job with national and international collaboration;
  • a full-time gross salary ranging from €2,836 to €4,474in scale 10;
  • benefits including 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (cao).

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 via the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we like to encourage you to continue to grow.

More information about working at the Faculty of Science can be found here.

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 about 20 Postdocs and 30 PhD candidates.

The Ice and Climate group at IMAU is an inspiring, high-quality, and versatile research group focusing on ice sheets, sea level, and climate. The group is world-leading in modelling of the ice sheet surface including firn, and maintains a dedicated network of automatic weather stations. Currently our research group has 5 staff members, 10 Postdocs, and 8 PhD candidates. For this project, we encourage and provide financial support for visits to conferences, workshops, and summer schools, and we promote national and international exchange visits.

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 that 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 regarding the position, please contact Willem Jan van de Berg (

Do you have a question 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 experience to excel in this role, then simply respond via the “Apply now” button! Please enclose:

  • your letter of motivation;
  • your curriculum vitae;
  • the names, telephone numbers, and email addresses of at least two references;
  • a link to your PhD thesis if your publications do not sufficiently reflect your research work.

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

Some connections are fundamental – Be one of them

The application deadline is 3 October 2021.