PhD position on Intergenerational Environmental Non-Migration Dynamics in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India (1.0 FTE)

PhD position on Intergenerational Environmental Non-Migration Dynamics in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
15 Jun 30 Jun Utrecht

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Utrecht University is looking for a PhD candidate on Intergenerational Environmental Non-Migration Dynamics in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India.

Job description

The interdependence of social, political, and environmental factors has become a critical focus area in environmental (non-)migration research. Such research has also engaged questions on the influence of these factors on the form of migration (e.g. seasonal, permanent) and its social and economic consequences (e.g. remittance-fueled investments). Although these foci have generated substantial insight, one shortcoming remains with regard to environmental (non-)migration scholarship – namely, its temporality. Specifically, much work is cross-sectional or operates within a short analytical window. Today’s migration-environment connections are likely informed by much longer-term historical processes. How such longer-term processes of environmental non-migration have evolved through generations living at risk is not well-studied. This Ph.D. project explains how and to what extent environmental changes (by slow and rapid-onset hazards) analyse the livelihood patterns of people at risk in response to social and ecological conditions, and how the livelihood patterns differ intergenerationally, geospatially in the GBM delta region. 
This PhD project involves developing innovative methodological tools that combine socio-spatial and environmental datasets, conducting mix-methods (qualitative, quantitative, and geolocated) fieldwork in Bangladesh and West Bengal, and analyzing this data. Besides, the Ph.D. student will collaborate with the research project “Bangladesh Environmental Migration Studies – BEMS’ of Environmental Studies Program at the University of Colorado Boulder, USA.  This is an exciting opportunity to join an interdisciplinary research team working on innovative approaches to understanding the intergenerational perspectives of environmental non-migration research in India and Bangladesh.

The Ph.D. researcher will:
  • together with other researchers, develop socio-geo-mixed-methods (quantitative, qualitative, spatial) and liaise with non-governmental organizations, community groups, and research institutes with whom research will be conducted;
  • carry out data collection through go-along interviews, focus groups and observations, and household surveys in remote rural coastal villages of Bangladesh and India;
  • analyse quantitative, qualitative, and spatial data and collaborate with other researchers;
  • preferred skills for the position include a background in R programming/ Statistical modeling, GIS and remote sensing, experience working with large data sets (both quantitative and qualitative), and the ability to work creatively and independently;
  • take a leading role in the conceptual and methodological innovations required by the project, collaborating with the other researchers of the team;
  • write and co-author academic publications together with other members of the team (Minimum of one paper per year as lead author);
  • assist in the grant application.


Utrecht University


We are looking for candidates who have:
  • a Masters (with thesis) in International Development Studies, Geography, Environmental Sciences, Urban Planning, and Anthropology, Sociology, or a related field;
  • experience conducting both quantitative and qualitative interviews and ethnographic field work in developing countries, preferably in Bangladesh and India;
  • experience in remote-sensing and geographic information system (GIS) data analysis;
  • experience in working in multi-disciplinary and multicultural research teams;
  • experience with organizing workshops and stakeholder meetings;
  • excellent written and spoken command of English, as demonstrated by an excellent master thesis, publications in English-language journals (desirable), and presentations at international conferences;
  • a willingness to contribute proactively to the development of the project;
  • good organizational skills;
  • knowledge of Bangla is essential.

Conditions of employment

You will be offered a temporary position (1.0 FTE), initially for one year with an extension to a total of four years upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The gross salary ranges between €2,443 per month in the first year and €3,122 per month in the fourth year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) for full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised into four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.
The Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning investigates sustainability challenges in the context of an ongoing worldwide trend of increasing urbanization. The Department’s ‘Urban Futures’ research program focuses on the enhancement of long-term economic developments of cities, the inclusion and social inequalities in relation to transnational mobilities, the health outcomes of urban living as well as on the governance and planning of sustainability transformations of cities and urban regions. It develops novel theoretical and empirical approaches that are not solely at the forefront of academic debates but that also create new perspectives on successful policies and interventions to address urban challenges.

Our research program is the basis for our Research Master's Human Geography and Geographical Information Management and Applications and Professional Master's in Spatial Planning, Human Geography and International Development Studies. The Department also runs a large and highly appreciated Bachelor's program and is part of the Netherlands Graduate School of Urban and Regional Research for PhD candidates. Unique characteristics of the Department are a special team focusing on innovations within teaching methods, its strong involvement in the transdisciplinary sustainability research theme and professional consultancy for public partners.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2443—€3122 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1191997



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