Postdoctoral researcher in environmental crime 1,0 fte / 3 years

Postdoctoral researcher in environmental crime 1,0 fte / 3 years

Published Deadline Location
17 Mar 11 Apr Rotterdam

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The Erasmus Initiative ‘Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity’ at Erasmus University Rotterdam (the Netherlands) is looking for a full-time postdoctoral researcher for a
36-month period (starting as soon as possible) to join its ‘Sustainability and Ecological Inclusion’ research theme. The research focuses on industrial environmental harms, specifically those resulting from the production and use of the synthetic chemical substances per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and combines insights from public health, criminology and philosophy (or other relevant disciplines) in analyzing the historical and contemporary drivers of industrial environmental harms.

Job description

This postdoctoral research project aims to describe and analyze drivers and dynamics of environmental harms connected to the synthetic chemical substances per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), studying this class of over 4,000 different chemicals, their industries and producing facilities, and how they relate to their regulatory, economic and social license; to learn what measures need to be taken to adequately and equitably protect people, non-human animals and ecosystems from resulting harms. Research questions include: What are the actual and perceived harms resulting from production and use of the known harmful chemicals (e.g. C-8) and the newer substitute synthetic chemicals substances? Which patterns emerge in the historical and contemporary scientific and public discourse about the industrial environmental harms related to these synthetical chemicals and about the search for less toxic alternatives? What regulatory approaches are most effective for producing health equity and precaution with new chemicals, instead of presumptions of “safe until proven toxic.” How have public and private interests interacted in governing industrial facilities that produce these harms? This research will advance our knowledge of policy-society relations, and help find new ways of addressing contentious public good problems in contemporary governance.

This research will primarily be based on qualitative research methods such as (focus group) interviewing, observation and archival, media, and policy analysis, but can also employ quantitative research methods (e.g. health/ecotoxicology statistics, GIS, surveys).

As a postdoctoral researcher, you will cooperate with DoIP team members Prof. dr. Lieselot Bisschop (Erasmus School of Law) & Dr. Yogi Hendlin (Erasmus School of Philosophy) and will be supported by them in your professional development. You will have a key role and responsibility to collaboratively deliver the project’s objectives, contributing to all aspects of the research cycle from the development of research proposals, the collection, analysis, and presentation of data, through to peer reviewed publications and approaches for knowledge exchange with non-academic audiences. We also welcome your participation in other activities of the Erasmus Initiative on the Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity. We look forward to having you bring your own conceptual and empirical innovation to the project in order to build your independent research skills and outlook.

The postdoctoral research includes:

  • Historical analysis of industrial environmental harms such as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (based on documented case studies);
  • Investigation of the history and present-day governance of synthetic chemical substances, especially the PFAS suite;
  • Interviews (or focus group interviews) with citizens living near industrial facilities to investigate the subjective (lived) experience with these chemical;
  • Expert interviews with company, government, NGO representatives in dealing with clean-up of environmental harm from industrial sites (e.g. related to Chemours/DuPont Dordrecht);
  • Research and application of the Chemical Industry Documents online library (University of California, San Francisco) and other online industry documents repositories; including possible industry documents acquisitions;
  • Writing and revising peer-reviewed academic journal articles;
  • Communicating findings to broader stakeholders;
  • Writing bids for research funding on the research topic.

More information:


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)


We are looking for a colleague with a completed and relevant doctoral degree with demonstrable empirical and interdisciplinary experience. The position requires the ability and motivation to conduct independent scientific research and lead co-authored publications. 
Requirements include: 

  • PhD in social sciences, humanities, environmental sciences, or related inter-disciplinary field (e.g. philosophy, criminology, public health, public administration, sociology, law, environmental sciences);
  • Experience at PhD level with qualitative (and quantitative) analysis;
  • Experience with interdisciplinary scholarship and teamwork;
  • Ability to publish in international peer-reviewed academic journals;
  • Interest in bridging the science and society gap;
  • Participation in international academic networks and conferences;
  • Excellent written and oral English communication skills - knowledge of other languages (especially Dutch) is a plus.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 36 months.

The grantee will be affiliated with the Faculty of Law at Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Starting date: as soon as possible. The location of work is Rotterdam. The position is fulltime (1,0 fte), a part-time appointment (0,8 fte) is negotiable. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU) with a minimum of € 3.746,- and a maximum of € 5.127,- gross per month (scale 11), based on a full-time working week of 38 hours per week. The attractive benefits package includes an end of year bonus of 8.3%, holiday allowance of 8%, extensive leave facilities for a healthy work/life balance, a good pension fund and an excellent collective insurance package. Staff are also entitled to use various facilities, such as sport facilities and library. You are eligible for reimbursement of your moving expenses (under certain conditions).

EUR ultimately seeks to provide excellent education and research which is innovative, internationally oriented and can be applied in society. Achieving this ambition is intrinsically linked to the quality, efforts and passion of our employees. Talent diversity is invaluable in this respect. The more diverse the views, cultures, knowledge and experience, the more innovative and creative education and research at EUR will be. EUR has therefore defined diversity as a key strategic objective, pursing a diverse workforce in the broadest sense. EUR furthermore undertakes to create equal opportunities for everyone and a culture in which the diverse talents feel at home and can excel: A culture which allows you to be yourself, an inspiring and motivational culture.

Since April 2018, Erasmus University Rotterdam has offered a Dual Career Programme to partners and spouses of new international employees. This programme is executed in close cooperation with Leiden University and TU Delft and aims to help partners and spouses find a job on the Dutch labour market. See

We value diversity and believe that a diversity of talents contributes to our vision and strategy to excel as a university on research and education. Erasmus School of Law is an equal opportunities employer and encourages applications from candidates of all genders, ethnicities and nationalities.


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is an internationally oriented university with a strong social orientation in its teaching and research. Our scientists and students work on solving global, social challenges, inspired by the always cosmopolitan and dynamic Rotterdam. Our academic education is intensive, active and pragmatic. Our research increasingly takes place in multidisciplinary teams, which are strongly interwoven with international networks. With our research impact and educational quality, the EUR can measure up to the top of European universities. Important values for Erasmus University Rotterdam are daring, curiosity, social involvement, a focus on pushing boundaries.

More information:

Erasmus School of Law (ESL) employs 500 members of staff and is attended by around 5000 students. ESL offers bachelor, masters, postgraduate and PhD programmes in Law, Tax Law and Criminology. ESL also collaborates in Double Degree programmes combining law and (business) economics or law and business administration and is one of the founders of the European Master in Law & Economics.

The vision underlying academic research conducted at Erasmus School of Law is that law is embedded in an economic and social context that shapes it, while, at the same time, law itself shapes society and defines economic relationships. In line with this vision, our mission is to conduct innovative research on the function of law in its economic and social context. Erasmus School of Law is committed to promoting international and interdisciplinary research and research-driven education.


The Erasmus Initiative ‘Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity’ (DoIP) focuses on enabling as many people as possible to benefit from increasing prosperity, whilst minimising the negative consequences. Increased prosperity requires constant coordination of the changing needs and values of governments, businesses, citizens and entrepreneurs. In order to chart this dynamic field, scholars from Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam School of Management and the Erasmus School of Philosophy entered into a multidisciplinary partnership to develop a better understanding of inclusive prosperity, expose its drivers and analyze how these contemporary societal challenges can be addressed, in the Netherlands and elsewhere.

As a post-doctoral researcher, you will work within the Sustainability and Ecological Inclusion research theme of the Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity. Ecological trade-offs can have significant effects on inclusion (or exclusion) through activities that, at least at first glance, quite clearly lead to more prosperity. Industrial agriculture, fisheries and forestry, mineral mining and the petrochemical industry are commonly seen to contribute to economic prosperity and are therefore protected by strong legal frameworks, despite degrading the environment at the local and global level. Obvious gains from industrial activities and global supply chains are accompanied by substantial and sometimes dramatic losses for widespread communities. This research theme focuses on questions such as: What is needed to create outcomes that are socially more fair and ecologically sustainable? How can global supply chains be transformed so that the benefits are fairly shared and the environment is respected?

More information about DoIP, its teams and research projects:


  • Postdoc
  • Law; Behaviour and society; Natural sciences; Health
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €3746—€5127 per month
  • Doctorate
  • AT2021.03/postdoc


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

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