PhD Candidate: Synergising Sustainability

PhD Candidate: Synergising Sustainability

Published Deadline Location
14 Nov 11 Dec Nijmegen

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 11 Dec 2022).

Browse the current job offers or choose an item in the top navigation above.

Job description

Are you an aspiring researcher and would you like to study how policies for agricultural and rural development are negotiated and implemented in conflict-affected countries? And does conducting field research in the Sahel region, an area that represents a diversity of challenges, sound exciting to you? Then you have a part to play as a PhD Candidate for the research project ‘Synergizing Sustainability’. We are particularly interested in how development goals for boosting food production, employment creation, and climate-change action interact with ambitions for enhancing governance, equity and justice, and sustainable peace.

To study this, the project focuses on the complex interactions and contestations between diverse stakeholders at different levels in the policy making process (e.g. EU, bilateral donors, national ministries, civil society, farmers’ associations, private sector), including the politics and power of discourses on notions like 'agricultural sustainability' and 'peace'. By focusing on conflict-affected countries in the Sahel, this research project will improve our understanding of how policy-making processes for agricultural sustainability and peace result in synergies, as well as frictions, contradictions, and trade-offs. The study involves mainly qualitative research methods with extensive fieldwork in sensitive contexts in the Sahel. You will study stakeholder interactions, policy-making, negotiations, and the implementation of rural development programmes in the region.

'Synergizing Sustainability' is a collaborative research project involving scholars from three departments of the Radboud Institute for Management Research (Conflict Studies, Environmental Governance, and International Relations), and is mainly carried out by a postdoctoral researcher and you. The postdoctoral researcher focuses on the policy processes unfolding mainly in Europe, while you will study the related processes at national level, in the Sahel region. You will collaborate with the postdoctoral researcher to integrate insights and data from the respective fields.

As a PhD candidate, you will collect qualitative data mainly through fieldwork in the Sahel region, and you will use the results to write your PhD thesis. If you have experience in conducting fieldwork in the Sahel region and feel comfortable with spending extensive research time in conflict-affected contexts, we strongly encourage you to apply.

The position is for 4 years and involves mainly PhD research, and about 5% teaching. In this position you will be trained to become an academic researcher while working on your own PhD project under the supervision of Prof. Mathijs van Leeuwen, Dr Haley Swedlund, Dr Gerry van der Kamp-Alons, and Dr Maria Kaufmann. For parts of the research, you will work in close collaboration with the postdoctoral researcher (Dr Maya Turolla).

You will be part of the teams of both the Department of Political Science and the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, and a member of the Doctoral School of the Institute for Management Research (IMR).


Radboud University


  • You have a Master's degree in Political Science, Human Geography, Development Studies, Anthropology, or a related field.
  • You have academic excellence, as demonstrated by your grade transcripts and CV.
  • You have experience in conducting fieldwork research in the Sahel region. Experience with agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa would be a plus.
  • Experience in working in difficult, conflict-affected countries is an asset.
  • You have an excellent command of written and spoken English, and you have a good working knowledge of French.
  • You are able to work both independently and as a team player.
  • You have experience with and are committed to fieldwork research and qualitative methods, also involving close collaboration with policy makers and development practitioners. Experience in facilitating workshops or with other training activities would be a plus.
  • You have strong skills in project management, are flexible, have a proactive attitude and excellent academic writing skills.
  • You are willing to spend a substantial part of the contract period in the Sahel region (two periods of 9-12 months).
We encourage applicants from the Sahel region.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: You will be employed 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 2.5 years (4 year contract).

  • It concerns an employment for 1.0 FTE.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to € 2,541 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to € 3,247 in the fourth year (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed 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 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 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.
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 (NSM) is an academic centre of research and higher education, focusing on institutional and managerial issues within complex organisations. There are seven disciplines within NSM: Business Administration; Public Administration; Political Science; Economics and Business Economics; Social and Political Sciences of the Environment; Human Geography; and Spatial Planning.

NSM strives for a multidisciplinary approach. Its educational programme is characterised by small-scale teaching, providing a stimulating learning environment with an emphasis on the development of academic skills. NSM employs 300 FTEs, 75% of whom are academics. NSM currently has approximately 5,000 students.

You will participate in the Doctoral School of the interdisciplinary Institute for Management Research (IMR). The IMR research programme is built around six multidisciplinary research themes linked to strategic scientifically and societally relevant issues: European policy, gender and diversity, international conflicts and policy, entrepreneurship and innovation, integrated decision making, and governance and innovations in social services. Research groups working on these themes consist of researchers from different disciplines and are organised in so-called hotspots. For this PhD position the assigned and sponsoring hotspot is Global - Local Divides and Connections (GLOCAL).

You will be based at the Centre of International Conflict Analysis and Management (CICAM) of the Political Science department, but participates in the activities of both the departments of Political Science and Geography, Planning and Environment.

Political Science currently comprises five Chairs: Empirical Political Science, Political Theory, International Relations, Contesting Europeanisation, and Conflict Studies. Together these Chairs offer Bachelor's degree programmes in Political Science and Conflict Studies and seven Master's tracks, each leading to a Master's degree in Political Science. The educational programme is characterised by small-scale teaching and provides a stimulating learning environment with an emphasis on the development of academic skills. Research in political science focuses on issues of legitimacy and institutional change and is organised around two themes: Conflict at the Crossroads of the Global and National and Sustainable Democracy.

Geography, Planning and Environment has three Chair groups: Human Geography, Spatial Planning and Environment and Politics. The department's research programme explores the interaction between space, environment and society, from complementary perspectives rooted in Political, Economic and Cultural Geography, Urban Planning and Urban Economics, and Environmental Politics and Environmental Sociology. Empirical themes of research include: international migration, climate change, cross-border issues, regional and urban development, mobility and transport, water management, grass roots initiatives on sustainability issues, and land use planning and governance.

Radboud University

We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1199777



Houtlaan 4, 6525 XZ, Nijmegen

View on Google Maps

Interesting for you