PhD Candidate: GIS Analysis and Spatial Modelling of Urban Heat, Health and Ecosystem Disservices

PhD Candidate: GIS Analysis and Spatial Modelling of Urban Heat, Health and Ecosystem Disservices

Published Deadline Location
4 May 30 May Nijmegen

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Job description

Are you an aspiring researcher looking for a new opportunity in the field of urban planning, climate adaptation and GIS? Would you like to join a friendly and open environment where you can develop your skills and learn new things? Then you have a part to play as a PhD Candidate within the interdisciplinary BENIGN research project funded by the Climate Adaptation and Health programme of the Dutch Research Agenda.

The BENIGN (BluE and greeN Infrastructure desiGned to beat the urbaN heat) project aims to investigate how blue (lakes, canals) and green infrastructure (trees, other plants) can be employed in urban areas to create healthy living conditions.

As a successful PhD candidate, you will be expected to analyse and model the effect of built environment characteristics on the indoor and outdoor climate in relation to heat stress for vulnerable groups, water quality and plant pollen diversity using vulnerability mapping and spatial modelling. This will enable you to monitor and predict the positive (i.e. services) and negative (i.e. disservices) effects of blue and green interventions. You will then integrate the resulting models into a decision support system co-designed with end users and other experts.

In short, your core duties may include (1) the construction of GIS models of natural and built environments (2) (rudimentary) segmentation and classification of remote sensing images and Google Street View images of built environments where existing datasets are not sufficient, (3) qualitative validation of GIS models using questionnaires and/or interviewing techniques, and (4) using statistical analysis to explore whether specific elements of the environment correlate with aspects of public health. In general, we do not advocate a technology-driven research approach to spatial analysis. Instead, we promote a critical perspective on GIS, and look for new ways of complementing qualitative approaches with quantitative GIS and statistical analysis.


Radboud University


  • You hold an MSc in a relevant discipline (spatial planning, human geography, geo-information science, urban design).
  • You have academic excellence, as demonstrated by grade transcripts and CV.
  • You have a solid understanding of both quantitative and qualitative research methods.
  • You are able to undertake teaching and administrative support in parallel with your PhD research.
  • You have an excellent command of written and spoken Dutch and English.
  • You have the ability to work both independently and as a team player.
  • You have strong skills in project management, flexibility, proactive behaviour and excellent academic writing skills so that you will be able to finish your PhD thesis before the assigned deadline.
  • You have experience with, knowledge of and affinity for GIS and/or Remote Sensing.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: You will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 3.5 years (5 year contract) or 2.5 years (4 year contract).

  • You will be employed for 0.8 (5 year contract) - 1.0 FTE (4 year contract).
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,443 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,122 from the fourth year onwards (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 3.5 years (5 year contract) or 2.5 years (4 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment  and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 29 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.
Additional employment conditions
Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.


The Nijmegen School of Management enables students, institutions and companies, societal actors and governments to play their part in a transformation towards a sustainable society. In doing so, the faculty is committed to Radboud University’s mission of contributing to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all.

In the context of our mission 'Responsible governance for sustainable societies', we address scientific and societal challenges from a good governance perspective. Our work focuses on the topics Beyond Economy, Climate, Inclusivity, Safety, and Democracy. By building, questioning and extending the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), we acknowledge their interrelatedness and focus on a number of grand challenges within society. We contribute to innovation and sustainable growth with a focus on topics such as inequality, gender, decent work and poverty. Furthermore, we address and seek to resolve environmental and climate challenges.

Academic research and teaching at the Nijmegen School of Management are carried out in challenging educational programmes. These programmes are offered in Business Administration, Economics and Business Economics, Geography, Planning and Environment, Political Science and Public Administration. Academic research takes place within the Institute for Management Research (IMR). Research is carried out within the above mentioned domains and in interdisciplinary research groups, which are called Hot Spots. NMS currently has 350 FTE staff and approximately 5,000 students.

The department of Geography, Planning, and the Environment (GPE) seeks to provide a deep understanding of how places, from the local to the global level, are politically and materially shaped, experienced and governed, and to contribute to the development of more sustainable and equitable places. GPE's approach goes explicitly beyond a government and policy orientation, addressing the deep political and institutional nature of placemaking and spatial-environmental governance. The group seeks to contribute to more future-oriented practices and territorial images. Located at GPE, the Centre for Urban and Regional Research (CentUR) specifically investigates the relationship between urban spaces, landscape, energy, health, climate adaptation and mobility from different perspectives. We operate in cooperation with the Radboud university medical center, the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Faculty of Science, and societal partners.


  • PhD
  • Economics; Agriculture
  • €2443—€3122 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1189460



Houtlaan 4, 6525 XZ, Nijmegen

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