PhD vacancy in Carbon and Water-offsetting in Environment policy

PhD vacancy in Carbon and Water-offsetting in Environment policy

Published Deadline Location
13 Mar 30 Apr Enschede

Job description

Freshwater is crucial to sustain life, economic development and the environment. It's also a vulnerable resource whose availability and quality varies strongly around the globe. We need to understand the natural and socio-economic processes that affect water resources and develop solutions for water scarcity, flooding and pollution. Our team develops and applies holistic approaches which promote sustainable and resilient management of water systems. Particularly, we study the dynamics of supply and demand of water resources in interaction with climate, land use, energy transition and agricultural management as well as production, trade and consumption. The methods we use include water footprint and life cycle assessment, hydrological modelling and integrated assessment. We understand water-related grand challenges as a shared responsibility, so we engage different partners and sectors to develop both science-based and useful solutions. To support decision-making, we provide data, models and tools and share our knowledge in academic teaching and science dissemination.

The position

Compensation as a policy tool to maintain environmental qualities started in the 1970s to protect wetlands. The idea of compensating for adverse impacts became very successful and forms the basis of current no-net-loss targets for biodiversity and net-zero targets for greenhouse gases. While appealing to both public and private policy makers, the efficiency of compensation in reaching the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Agreement and the no-net-loss target for biodiversity is contested, as they might delay much needed transformative action.

This PhD position aims to understand what role carbon and water-offsetting can play in environmental policy set out to meet climate and water targets. You analyse legally required and voluntary initiatives on carbon and biodiversity offsetting and take various levels (product, company, and national level) into account. You evaluate existing policies quantitatively based on their contribution to reach environmental targets and you will seek to understand why some compensation schemes are economically and/or environmentally successful and others are not. As water offsetting is currently not used widely, there is great potential to influence policies that are currently under development with your scientific research. A major innovation of your PhD could be to transfer learnings from carbon and biodiversity offsetting to water. You will distil lessons learned (e.g., what are promising accounting principles, certification procedures and other aspect underpinning success stories) and derive criteria that ensure that compensation is beneficial for people and ecosystems.


University of Twente (UT)


We are looking for an enthusiastic, highly motivated hardworking PhD candidate to join our team. Our new colleague is driven by curiosity and has the following profile:
  • Hold (or are about to finish) a Master's degree in a field relevant to the PhD topic
  • A background in one or more of the following topics is desired: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and environmental footprints (esp. water footprint), environmental economics, international and cooperate climate and environmental policy, market-based environmental policy instruments
  • Enjoy working in a multidisciplinary research setting with an international research team to achieve both scientific excellence and policy relevance
  • Curiosity to apply quantitative and qualitative methods to market-based environmental policy
  • Ideally experience with publishing scientific papers
  • Proficient in written and oral English and strong professional) communication skills
  • Driven by the chance to improve the effectiveness of environmental policy with your research

Conditions of employment

  • We offer a full-time 4-year PhD-position, with excellent mentorship and a stimulating research environment. We encourage high responsibility and independence, while collaborating with colleagues, researchers, other university staff and partners.
  • The gross monthly salary will be ranging from € 2.541,00 (first year), increasing each year up to € 3.247,00 in the fourth year. Salary and associated conditions are in accordance with the collective labour agreement for Dutch universities (CAO-NU).
  • You will have a minimum of 232 leave hours in case of full-time employment based on a formal workweek of 38 hours. A full-time employment in practice means 40 hours a week, therefore resulting in 96 extra leave hours on an annual basis.
  • We offer excellent fringe benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, a solid pension scheme, healthcare benefits, free access to sport facilities and a family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid).

Additional information

For additional information regarding this position, you are welcome to contact Rosalie Arendt, Women are explicitly asked to apply for this position. This is part of the University of Twente's strategy to increase the proportion of women among its faculty and to create a working environment that is diverse and inclusive and supportive of excellence in research and teaching.

Please apply by uploading a motivation letter (1 page), your CV (max 3 pages without photo), a writing sample (max 1 page e.g., an Abstract of a publication or a one page summary of your master thesis) as well as relevant certificates until 30 April 2023 using the link below. The application must not exceed 5 pages excluding certificates.

The first (online) job interview will take place in the end of May / beginning June 2023 (week 21 - 23). We encourage Master students to apply even if they still have to graduate in the coming months.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1124


University of Twente (UT)

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Drienerlolaan 5, 7522NB, Enschede

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 30 Apr 2023 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).