Skip to main content

MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc-PhD Position#CD22-47: Developing an end-to-end framework for impact-based urban flash flood forecasts in France and India


Job Information

Université Gustave Eiffel
Research Field
Environmental science
Environmental science » Water science
Researcher Profile
First Stage Researcher (R1)
Application Deadline
Type of Contract
Job Status
Hours Per Week
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND
Marie Curie Grant Agreement Number
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

Flash floods mainly affect small rivers and are generally caused by intense rainfall occurring over short periods of time. They have a devastating impact on people and the economy, and represent a large proportion of flood-related damages in France and India, mainly because large cities and densely inhabited areas are often threatened by small river basins. Improved emergency action during these flood events would necessitate anticipated warnings based on an improved understanding and assessment of risks. However, despite rapid improvements in numerical weather prediction (NWP), providing real-time forecasts of flash floods is still challenging due to short lead times and uncertain precipitation nowcasts. Operational flash-flood nowcasting systems still often fail to extend anticipation beyond the short response times of small river basins. Flash flood forecasts are also generally limited to predicting flood magnitudes which limits their usefulness in taking anticipatory action as they provide an estimate of the hazard, but not what the socio-economic impact of the flood might be. This work will develop a new end-to-end and integrated modeling framework for improving precipitation nowcasts and impact-based flash-flood forecasts. Last generation precipitation nowcasts will be used and downscaled based on state-of-the-art statistical and machine learning techniques. They will be integrated with multiple hydrologic models to generate forecasts of soil moisture, runoff, and streamflow. Novel indices of flash flood severity or flashiness will be developed by conditioning on meteorological, geophysical, and pre-event land surface conditions. The coupling with 2D hydrodynamic routing models will also be achieved, to allow the formulation of hazard in terms of flood extent, depth, and velocity. The exposure will be represented in terms of people, buildings, roads, and other infrastructure. Latest remote sensing and ground-based observations will be utilized to develop an accurate inventory of assets. Emphasis will be on developing location-agnostic models and workflows which will allow rapid scaling of the framework to other locations after prototype development and demonstration over selected watersheds in France and India. The different strategies for coupling hydrologic and hydrodynamic models will be addressed, from the simplest ones (predefined inundation scenarios) to more elaborated ones (full unsteady coupling). This integrated risk assessment of flash flood impact will be a new paradigm addressing the limited research that currently exists in terms of flash flood data, models, techniques, and best practices. This comprehensive framework is expected to not only capture flash flood dynamics at a fine scale but the impact-based forecast products are expected to be useful for people as well as ground-level emergency management. The evaluation will be focused on the ability to anticipate actually observed inundations and impacts, and also on the efficiency of such information to trigger emergency actions (increased anticipation vs false alarms).

The projected PhD will build on several case studies addressing the specific contexts of flash-floods hazard and exposure, and data availability in India and France. The planned work program will include a 12 months stay at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.

In France, the forecasting framework will be based both on the current operational FF monitoring system (Vigicrues Flash), and on the new experience and modeling tools developed within the recent PICS project ( in the following fields:

  • short-range anticipation of intense rainfall involving convection permitting NWP models (Charpentier-Noyer et al., 2022),
  • rainfall-runoff modeling of small ungauged rivers (SMASH hydrological modeling platform, Jay-Allemand et al., 2019),
  • automated hydrodynamic modeling for the efficient computation of inundated areas (Hocini et al, 2020).

These currently existing tools will be extended towards the involvement of seamless short-range ensemble rainfall forecasts merging radar and NWP models (PIAF product at a 1-km and 15 min resolution), and the development of unsteady hydrological-hydrodynamic coupling. The case studies will cover the French Mediterranean area, including several cities particularly exposed to flash-floods: Montpellier, Nîmes, Marseille, Cannes-Antibes, Nice. This area benefits from rich datasets in terms of observation of flash-floods and of related damages, including about 15 major flash-floods that occurred during the 2010-2020 period, and gathered during recent research projects (HyMeX,

In India, the Indian Meteorological Department has currently no official impact-based flash flood forecasts. The PhD thesis will build on the following work:

  • India Flood Inventory (IFI, Saharia et al., 2021) which is the first national-scale multi‑source national geospatial database to facilitate flood research
  • Development of an Indian Land Data Assimilation System (ILDAS) through a project funded by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for identifying hydrometeorological extremes
  • Methodology for developing Flashiness metric (Saharia et al., 2017) and quantifying the relative impact of Rainfall Spatial Variability, Geomorphology, and Climatology on Flash Floods.

The Flash Flood impacts forecasting framework will be prototyped over watersheds that cover the cities of Delhi and Guwahati. Delhi is highly urbanized with frequent water-logging issues due to flooding. Guwahati is surrounded by mountains and also suffers from flash floods. Forecasts will be sourced from the Indian Meteorological Department’s NCUM-regional model 3-day precipitation forecasts at 4 km resolution as well as radar data for nowcasts.


1.Charpentier-Noyer M. et al. (2022). A methodological framework for the evaluation of short-range flash-flood hydrometeorological forecasts at the event scale, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss. , in review,

2.Hocini N. et al. (2021). Performance of automated methods for flash flood inundation mapping: a comparison of a digital terrain model (DTM) filling and two hydrodynamic methods, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 25, 2979–2995,

3.Jay-Allemand M. et al. (2020). On the potential of variational calibration for a fully distributed hydrological model: application on a Mediterranean catchment. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 24, 5519–5538,

4.Potdar A. S. et al. (2021). Toward Predicting Flood Event Peak Discharge in Ungauged Basins by Learning Universal Hydrological Behaviors with Machine Learning. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 22(11), 2971–2982. Saharia, M., Jain, A., Baishya, R. R., Haobam, S., Sreejith, O. P., Pai, D. S., & Rafieeinasab, A. (2021). India flood inventory: creation of a multi-source national geospatial database to facilitate comprehensive flood research. Natural Hazards.

5.Saharia M. et al. (2021). On the Impact of Rainfall Spatial Variability, Geomorphology, and Climatology on Flash Floods. Water Resources Research, 57(9), e2020WR029124.

6.Saharia M. et al. (2017). Mapping Flash Flood Severity in the United States. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 18(2), 397–411.


Research Field
Environmental science
Education Level
Bachelor Degree or equivalent
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

Additional Information

  • High-quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree, delivered by Université Gustave Eiffel
  • Access to cutting-edge infrastructures for research & innovation.
  • Appointment for a period of 36 months based on a salary of 2 700 € (gross salary per month).
  • Job contract under the French labour legislation in force, respecting health and safety, and social security: 35 hours per week contract, 25 days of annual leave per year.
  • International mobility will be mandatory
  • An international environment supported by the adherence to the European Charter & Code.
  • Access to dedicated CLEAR-Doc trainings with a strong interdisciplinary focus, together with a Career development Plan.
Eligibility criteria

Applicants must fulfil the following eligibility criteria:

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career (career breaks excluded) and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of his/her employment status (sick leave, maternity leave etc). Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must fulfil the transnational mobility rule: incoming applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 previous years.
  • One application per call per year is allowed.
  • Applicants must be available full-time to start the programme on schedule (November 1st 2023).
  • Application rules are enforced by the French doctoral system which specifies a standard duration of 3 years for a full-time PhD together with the MSCA standards and the OTM-R European rules as follows.
  • Citizens of any nationality may apply to the programme.
  • There is no age limit.
Selection process

Please refer to the Guide for Applicants available on the CLEAR-Doc website:

Additional comments

The First step before applying is contacting the PhD supervisor. You will not be able to apply without an acceptation letter from the PhD supervisor.

International mobility planned: 12 months mobility at IIT DEHLI, India, hosted by Dr Manabendra Saharia

Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer.

There are no restrictions concerning the age, gender or nationality of the candidates. Applicants with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career, with mobility experience or with interdisciplinary background or private sector experience are welcome to apply.

Support service is available during every step of the application process by email:

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
Université Gustave Eiffel
Postal Code
Allée des Ponts et Chaussées


5, Boulevard Descartes
Postal Code