How you can make your mark

MSc graduation topic: automatic front detection to improve understanding of plume dynamics

Make your mark as a graduate intern at Boskalis! We are looking for a student to explore the potential of remote-sensing solutions in the field of sediment plumes.

Boskalis is always working to improve its environmental expertise and sees benefits of satellite images for the monitoring and modelling of sediment plumes on dredging projects. Such plumes actually appear very similar to river plumes, which are visible as sharp fronts resulting from the different properties of river and ocean water bodies. Because of the similarities between river and dredge plumes, Boskalis seeks cooperation with renowned instutes Delft University of Technology and Deltares who are researching the combination of remote sensing and modelling of river plumes.

Satellite images can help to improve the understanding of plume dynamics. We can clearly see fronts of river plumes on optical satellite images such as Sentinel-2. In this research, we want to use state of the art techniques to automatically detect these fronts/plumes, using edge detection algorithms in combination with machine learning. The goal is to have a robust edge detection method that works on most days, considering clouds (and their shadows) and different brightness levels.

Next, we want to link the spatial information to hydrodynamic information of the system through modelling and data assimilation. In this way, we can develop a method to use satellite data to improve our models and thereby our understanding of plume dynamics.

Your responsibilities as a graduate intern (in consultation):

  • Set up an efficient workflow involving downloading, storing and processing optical images.
  • Develop robust method to detect fronts/gradients on optical images using the combination of edge detection algorithms and machine learning.
  • Relate spatial information from satellite imagery to hydrodynamic information of a (river) system
  • Create plume probability map: location and dimensions of plumes under different hydrodynamic conditions

Your qualities and experience
You can move ahead if you have/are:

  • An MSc student in the field of Remote Sensing or Data Science, looking for a thesis subject.
  • Enrolled for an Academic University Program within the Netherlands, throughout the duration of your internship.
  • In-depth knowledge of image analysis and machine learning techniques. Affinity with numerical modelling is a benefit.
  • An independent and pro-active attitude. You will be cooperating and organising your work in cooperation with three parties (Boskalis, TUD, Deltares).
  • A good command of written and spoken English and/or Dutch. Fluent in Python.


  • Guidance and supervision: TUD, Deltares and Boskalis have committed to invest time and expertise into getting you going and helping you along the way.
  • Compensation: A compensation of €510 per 4 weeks based on a full-time position
  • Career development: Plenty of opportunities to realize your full potential. Challenge yourself with (online) courses in our Boskalis academy.
  • The Boskalis campus: Experience the unique Boskalis vibe at our Papendrecht site, complete with restaurants, sports fields, and a wharf where our vessels dock. We offer a state-of-the-art auditorium, brainstorming rooms, experience center for client meetings, and a barista corner where you can connect with colleagues.
  • Young Boskalis: Come and join Young Boskalis! Have fun and join in social and sports activities ranging from pub quizzes to yoga, bootcamps and an annual sailing boat race. Networking and knowledge sharing are a vital part of Young Boskalis as well.

Extra information

  • Your team: You will join the Boskalis Data Science and Engineering department, part of the Boskalis Dredging and Inland Infra division. Supervision will be shared between TU Delft (primary), Deltares and Boskalis. You will also be closely cooperating with the morphology and marine environment team from the Hydronamic Engineering Department from Boskalis.
  • Where you will work: Your primary work place will be our beautiful campus in Papendrecht, working partly from home is a possibility. It is anticipated that you will also spend about 2 days per week at TU Delft and 1 day per week at Deltares, depending also on the direction that the thesis evolves in. Occasionally working from home is also an option.
  • Fulltime/ part- time job: This is a fulltime position (40 hours a week)
  • Next steps: Apply easily by completing the online application form. Interviews are held online or in the office. Once it’s clear we’re a good match, we’ll make you an offer – and look forward to welcoming you to the company.

About Boskalis
Working at Boskalis is about creating new horizons and sustainable solutions. In a world where population growth, an increase of global trade, demand for (new) energy and climate change are driving forces, we challenge you to make your mark in finding innovative and relevant solutions for complex infrastructural and marine projects.

Dredging is one of our traditional core activities. Boskalis is famous for projects like the expansion of the Suez Canal and the extension of the Maasvlakte at the Port of Rotterdam. Creation of new nature areas like the Markerwadden is something we contribute to. Combining our state-of-the-art fleet, equipment and incredible manpower, we’re able to achieve projects that no one believed were even possible.

Want to know more?
We are more than happy to answer your questions about the position. Please contact one of the colleagues below.

  • Avelon Gerritsma ( (PhD candidate and primary supervisor)
  • Obbe Lucassen ( (Data Scientist and Engineer, Data Science and Engineering Department)
  • Tim van der Biezen ( (Senior Coastal Engineer, Hydronamic Engineering Department)

Interested? Please apply by filling in your details and by uploading your cover letter and CV on our careers site.

Luke Zacharias - Recruiter - recruiter bij Boskalis
Luke Zacharias - Recruiter
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