PhD Candidate in Land-based Carbon Offsets

PhD Candidate in Land-based Carbon Offsets

Published Deadline Location
15 Dec 15 Jan Nijmegen

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Job description

Are you interested in carbon offsets and understanding their role in tackling climate change? Then join our environmental science group as a PhD candidate and carry out interdisciplinary research on land-based carbon offsets. You will be part of an international group of researchers dedicated to solving environmental sustainability challenges.

Carbon offsetting is a tool used by e.g. governments, companies and individuals to compensate for their greenhouse gas emissions. It is widely considered to be needed for hard-to-abate emissions in the short and medium term. At the same time, there are also concerns about, inter alia, the permanence of carbon offset projects, carbon accounting over time, and reaching international agreement on validating carbon offset credits. As a PhD candidate, you will contribute to this debate by evaluating the effectiveness of land-based carbon offsetting for climate change mitigation and potential trade-offs with other environmental impacts, including biodiversity. This PhD project is interdisciplinary and analyses carbon offsetting from different perspectives (e.g. biophysical carbon accounting, and social, economic and ethical aspects) in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of how carbon offsetting can best be implemented to mitigate climate change. To do so, you will study the additionality, permanence and potential leakage effects and trade-offs of carbon offsets, and develop methods to allow such assessments. You will analyse the  level of ambition and the reliance on and effectiveness of offsets in company and country emission reduction plans. Besides carbon accounting, you will also assess socio-economic and justice questions around offsetting, such as fair pricing, and the timing and location of offsetting. Taking into account also these perspectives results in a more comprehensive understanding of how carbon offsets can be most effective for climate mitigation while minimizing other sustainability trade-offs.

You will be encouraged to work closely with other colleagues in the department, university and beyond. You will participate in relevant conferences and workshops, and you will communicate your findings through publications in peer-reviewed journals. Part of your workload (10%) will consist of teaching activities at our institute, assisting staff members in their courses at the MSc level (in English). You will work under the supervision of Dr Carlijn Hendriks and Prof. Birka Wicke. Upon successful completion of the research project, you will be awarded a PhD degree from Radboud University. We particularly encourage applications from underrepresented groups.


Radboud University


  • You hold a Master's degree in environmental science, sustainability science, environmental and resource management or an equivalent interdisciplinary field, or will have completed such a degree before the start date.
  • You enjoy working on interdisciplinary questions.
  • You have experience in quantitative analysis and programming (e.g. using R).
  • Additional knowledge of and experience with any of the following topics would be a plus: land-based carbon sequestration, biomass carbon accounting, carbon offsetting schemes.
  • You have excellent oral and written communication skills in English.

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 Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences (RIBES) aims to perform world leading research in order to understand the response of the natural environment to human impact. RIBES investigates stress and adaptation processes in severely affected ecosystems. This curiosity-driven, fundamental research is cross-linked with innovative applications in both industry and society with a focus on mitigating ecosystem degradation and finding solutions to restore the natural environment. RIBES is nationally and internationally unique, as its research encompasses three major groups of organisms (microorganisms, plants and animals) and spans nearly all levels of biological organization. In addition to developing world-class research, the institute is dedicated to first-rate education in its Biology BSc, MSc and international PhD programmes.

The mission of the Environmental Science cluster of RIBES is to provide high-quality scientific knowledge that can help the world move towards greater sustainability. To achieve this, we aim to understand, project and address the impact of anthropogenic pressures on ecosystems and humans from the landscape to the global scale. This enables us to explore and develop wide-ranging sustainable solutions for the environmental challenges the world faces today.

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
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • max. €3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1201602



Houtlaan 4, 6525 XZ, Nijmegen

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