• Open
  • Closing date: 31 December 2019


The mission of The Ocean Cleanup is to develop technology to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. 

In order to do so, we need to understand the problem: our Research program investigates sources transport and fate of ocean plastics so we can make informed decisions while working towards our 90% plastic mass reduction goal in the global ocean by 2040.

You are responsible for furthering our understanding of terrestrial sources of plastic in the ocean so we plan for efficient interception technology

You will have succeeded when: we have gained sufficient level of knowledge on riverine plastics to accurately predict emissions and impact of interception strategy.

"We are a fast moving team of researchers on a journey to monitor, quantify and characterize global plastic pollution. We ask relevant questions and plan for rapid experimentation to deliver answers and advance the field. We produce open-access, peer-reviewed science and we value cooperation, creative thinking and ingeniosity. I am looking forward to working with our new Senior River Researcher that will take the lead on refining our understanding on terrestrial emissions of plastic into the ocean." Laurent Lebreton, Research Lead.


The Ocean Cleanup is executing river research to provide global estimates of riverine plastic debris using a combination of (1) fundamental experiments, (2) targeted fieldwork and (3) modeling exercises. We are looking for a senior river researcher, who will mainly work on further developing, testing and applying various riverine plastic models. 

Responsibilities include:

  • Further improve our global model simulating the transport of riverine macroplastics
  • Calibrate our global model against incoming field measurements and target new research stations
  • Collaborate with parties within and outside The Ocean Cleanup to adjust our global river model for regional and local assessments (including international universities and research institutes)
  • Maintain a database and create geospatial visualizations of data from The Ocean Cleanup and other information sources on plastic in rivers
  • Collaborating with our other researchers, studying ocean plastic, fully utilizing any synergy
  • Assist occasionally on fieldwork assessments


  • Possess academic-level thinking (master’s/PhD degree) in geosciences, hydrology, fluid mechanics, geology, environmental sciences or similar
  • Have experience in senior research positions, leadership positions in driving ambitious research projects
  • Experience using and developing simple and complex models
  • Proficient with GIS software (e.g. ArcGIS, QGIS) and programming (e.g. Matlab, Pyton, R) is required
  • Experience with fieldwork or missions abroad is an advantage
  • Experience with sampling for (micro-)plastic in the riverine environment is an advantage 
  • Good publication record in high ranking scientific peer-reviewed journals


  • Analytical thinking
  • Affinity for data analysis and visualization
  • Results-driven and self-motivated, even when faced with adversity and setbacks
  • Willingness to travel abroad
  • Strong command of English, verbal and written
  • Intrinsic motivation to work on our ambitious and meaningful goal
Starting from:
Work permit needed:
European Union