PhD student in co-designing transformative pathways for just biodiversity and climate actions

PhD student in co-designing transformative pathways for just biodiversity and climate actions

Published Deadline Location
24 Oct 26 Nov Wageningen

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Job description

Do you want to work on the grand challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss at the same time? Are you interested in how governance in those domains can respect human rights and be more inclusive ? And are you interested in contributing to a large EU funded research project (TRANSPATH) that will use inclusive deliberation with stakeholders to co-design transformative pathways and identify leverage points and interventions for triggering these transformative changes? And is the academic debate about the dynamics between dialogue/deliberation, learning, and policy change your cup of tea? Then this position is for you.

This PhD project will seek to advance the scientific understanding of deliberative processes at various governance levels in ways that enable learning and policy change. In your position as a PhD researcher you will:
  • Engage in supervised scientific research that will ultimately result in a doctoral thesis
  • Follow a tailor made course program for PhD-candidates of the Wageningen School of Social Sciences (that can include courses from other graduate schools).
  • Publish research results in peer-reviewed scientific journals, as well as through popular publications and presentations.
  • Identify and compare 'safe and just operating spaces' with respect to biodiversity, climate change and human rights for specific leverage points of transformative change based on systematic literature and policy reviews
  • Develop, test and apply methods and tools for reflexive dialogues among stakeholders at different governance levels in the EU, and analyse their contribution to individual and social learning.
  • Develop and apply co-design methods and tools in a Western European case study, using e.g. group-model building techniques (Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping and transformative pathways)
  • Analyse and synthesise resulting models and pathways to identify leverage points related to climate change and biodiversity action.
The PhD position is embedded in the larger "TRANSPATH" project (Transformative pathways for synergizing just biodiversity and climate actions) which seeks whole-of-society opportunities for achieving climate-neutrality whilst simultaneously allowing local communities and nature to flourish. Through deliberation on alternative visions, values, actions, and their systemic interactions across scales and over time, the project aims to identify policy packages and other interventions that can enable the emergence of leverage points that changes the choice architecture underlying citizens' daily decisions.

The selected PhD candidate will be appointed for a 4-year PhD position at the Public Administration and Policy Group of Wageningen University. You will be working closely with a PhD researcher based at the Global Change Research Institute in Prague who will focus on an Eastern European case and context and both of you will collaborate with a number of the TRANSPATH project's 12 partners in Europe, Africa and Latin America.


Wageningen University & Research


  • an MSc. degree, or equivalent, in a relevant social science discipline such as Public Administration, EU Studies, Political Science, communication science, sociology, Environmental Governance, Environmental Philosophy, Sustainability Science, Sustainability, or environmental social science;
  • experience with social scientific research methods such as interviews, focus groups, policy analysis, comparative analysis, stakeholder analysis, value studies, case study research and preferably also experience with quantitative models/methods;
  • demonstrated interest in environmental issues and interdisciplinary competence across the natural/social science fields, for example through a bachelor degree minor or specific courses in environmental science;
  • genuine affinity with integrated, multidisciplinary issues and a demonstrated interest in interacting with decision makers and other stakeholders;
  • broad academic skills including creativity and excellent communication and collaboration skills;
  • excellent English language proficiency (a minimum of CEFR C2 level) required for scientific publishing. For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page;
  • have excellent command in one language spoken in Western Europe beyond English such as German, Spanish, Scandinavian languages or Dutch as you will be working with stakeholders in a case study in one of these countries.

Conditions of employment

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3.247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the Wageningen Graduate School of Social Sciences (WASS) where research skills are part of the curriculum. You are also able to take courses of the PhD graduate programme of the Netherlands Institute of Government.

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • study leave and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.
There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in the Netherlands, and at a university that has been chosen as the " Best University " in the Netherlands for the 17th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.


Wageningen University & Research

The mission of Wageningen University and Research is "To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life". Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 6.800 employees and 12.900 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen's unique approach. WUR has been named the best university of the Netherlands by students for the 17th time in a row.
Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!


  • PhD
  • Economics
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • P1087497-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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