Senior River Researcher



The Ocean Cleanup develops advanced technology to extract, prevent, and intercept plastic pollution. In 2018, The Ocean Cleanup initiated the largest cleanup in history by launching the first cleanup system; System 001 ("Wilson").

We are a young organization with a mission to tackle a global problem of an unprecedented scale. What we are aiming for is not easy, and we know we need to push the limits of current technological boundaries to reach our goals. Working at The Ocean Cleanup isn’t for everyone, but we believe that through optimism, perseverance, and ingenuity we can succeed.

We are recruiting a diverse team of bright, high-performing people, who feel comfortable going off the beaten path, and who perceive setbacks merely as necessary obstacles to be taken on the route to great and lasting achievement.


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 an advantage
  • Experience with fieldwork or missions abroad is an advantage
  • Experience with sampling for (micro-)plastic in the riverine environment is an advantage 


  • Analytical thinking
  • Affinity for data analysis and visualization as well as scientific writing
  • 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

Please apply by sending your CV and motivation letter to