PhD The politics of tracking climate change adaptation

PhD The politics of tracking climate change adaptation

Published Deadline Location
19 Jan 29 Jan Wageningen

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Job description

A highly motivated PhD candidate on the politics of tracking climate change adaptation.

Wondered why many of the high ambitions governments set themselves are not realized in practice? Wondered why governments are typically reluctant to track the implementation of climate action? Curious about the political dynamics that shape how governments around the globe are (not) adapting to climate change? Then this PhD project on the politics of tracking climate change adaptation is a great opportunity for you!

This PhD position is part of the NWO-VIDI program led by Dr. Robbert Biesbroek (Public Administration and Policy group) entitled "High ambitions, (s)low implementation? The politics of tracking adaptation to climate change (2023-2027).

Background of the program: Adapting to the impacts of climate change is necessary and increasingly urgent. Governments across the globe have increasingly formulated high adaptation ambitions to become more climate resilient. In order to understand if these ambitions are implemented in practice, tracking progress on adaptation is of critical importance. This program aims to develop, theorize and empirically test the causes and consequences of the politics of adaptation tracking. Adopting a comparative approach, the program investigates the political dynamics around the Global Stocktake under the UNFCCC Paris Agreement, the EU Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, and ongoing climate change adaptation developments in several countries from across the globe. In the program mixed methods are used, combining traditional methods of expert interviews, observations and focus group discussions, with machine learning and quantitative text analysis to analyze the politics of adaptation tracking.

The program takes a solutions-oriented perspective by co-designing politically sensitive intervention pathways with practitioners. It provides concrete evidence-based insights where and how to intervene in policy processes in order to accelerate the design and execution of adequate and effective frameworks on adaptation tracking.

There are two PhD positions in this NWO-VIDI program. The position in this call will focus on conceptualizing and empirically investigating the politics of adaptation tracking using a primarily a qualitative approach. The other PhD position uses Artificial intelligence methods to track the politics of climate change adaptation.

For this qualitative PhD project "the politics of tracking adaptation to climate change", you will:
  • Develop a conceptual framework to analyze the politics of tracking adaptation to climate change
  • Use qualitative methods, such as observations, elite interviews, focus group discussions, and content analysis, to analyze (inter)national negotiations and political dynamics of adaptation tracking
  • Co-organize and participate in (international) workshops with policy and decision makers
  • Lead the development of 4 scientific publications which form the basis of your PhD dissertation. You will also be involved in developing program-level publications (as co-author)
  • Present your work at (inter)national scientific conferences and/or symposia
In addition to the other PhD candidate in this program, you will collaborate in Dr. Biesbroek's research lab with ~10 other postdocs, PhD candidates, and research assistants working on climate change related topics. For this project you will also collaborate with Prof. Dr. Aarti Gupta (Professor of Global Environmental Governance, Wageningen University) who will act as the second promotor in this PhD project.


Wageningen University & Research


  • Completed MSc degree in political science, international relations, public administration, or a relevant MSc with a strong social sciences profile.
  • Experience in using qualitative social science research methods (e.g. interviewing, process tracing, observational research, focus group discussions)
  • Good listener, able to ask the right questions and to understand the underlying motives.
  • Ability to collaborate in an interdisciplinary setting as the program includes qualitative and quantitative scientists from the social and environmental sciences.
  • Excellent spoken and written English required for scientific publishing. If your native language is not English and you do not hold a degree from an institution in which English is the language of instruction, you must submit proof of English proficiency from either TOEFL (minimum total score of 100) or IELTS (minimum total score of 7.0).
  • Demonstrable interest in (inter)national politics, particularly in the context of sustainability challenges.

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • sabbatical leave, 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.
In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.541,- per month rising to € 3.247,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

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 Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the " Best University " in the Netherlands for the 18th 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.
Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

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. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.


Wageningen University & Research

The mission of Wageningen University & 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, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR's Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • P1145724-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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