Post-doctoral Researcher Dynamics in Water Governance

Post-doctoral Researcher Dynamics in Water Governance

Published Deadline Location
5 Apr 15 May Wageningen

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Job description

Do you want to become part of a leading research group in the field of water governance? Do you feel that you want to contribute to groundbreaking research to make fresh water provision fit for the future? Do you want to join the research program AquaConnect that was funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and collaborate with peers from multiple disciplines? Please apply for a fascinating position as “Postdoctoral Researcher Dynamics in Water Governance" based at the Public Administration and Policy group (PAP) of Wageningen University. We seek a talented academic with a good track record in studying public governance of sustainability challenges. We are looking for someone with expertise in water governance, who is able to apply conceptual frameworks from the fields of Public Administration and the Policy Sciences to the analysis of the drive for circular water management.
Background: governance of circular water management
Water shortages can cause major societal disruption. To enhance socio-hydrological resilience, it is imperative that regions start preparing for situations in which freshwater is insufficiently available to serve critical segments of society for certain periods of time. Without greater resilience to ever more extreme climatic and hydrological events, increasing societal and economic risks and damages loom. A step change is needed in the way freshwater is managed and conserved, including innovative solutions that enhance regional resilience, can be scaled up, and exported to other parts of the world. The development and testing of innovative technologies in the project AquaConnect is aimed to contribute to this agenda, and will be implemented in direct collaboration with stakeholders and end users.
The postdoctoral researcher would not only join Wageningen University, but would also become part of the AquaConnect project. AquaConnect is a NWO-funded research consortium in which researchers from different disciplines from 7 Dutch universities and over 40 other stakeholder organizations participate. The program’s overall aim is to develop innovative technical solutions, perform integrated assessment and assess transformative potential of various options to increase the resilience of the Dutch fresh water provision in times of increasing risks of water stress. Together with 12 PhD candidates and 3 other Postdoctoral researchers, you will have the opportunity to conduct highly relevant research in close collaboration with a wide range of societal partners and in an interdisciplinary environment.
The current position is part of the work package on freshwater provision governance, which addresses the governance of new technologies for freshwater provision and the prospects for societal, legal, and policy change in that context. The research is performed in close collaboration with four ‘utilization areas’ in the Netherlands (Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, Amsterdam Region, high sandy areas, and Zuid-Holland). Thus, as a postdoctoral researcher in AquaConnect, you will intensively cooperate with other researchers and a diverse range stakeholders/end-users (public and private) to translate your scientific results into tangible solutions.


Wageningen University & Research


The postdoctoral researcher will study how changes come about in water governance systems that enable the introduction and upscaling of novel technologies. To this end, the literature on dynamics in water governance will be systematically reviewed, relevant conditions (such as problem pressure, political perceptions, the presence of policy instruments) that create or hinder such dynamics will be identified, and a database of relevant case studies (nationally and internationally) will be built and subjected to comparative analysis (for instance QCA). On the basis of the findings, the postdoctoral researcher will work together with various colleagues in the project to produce hands-on guidance for stakeholders in the Netherlands on how to make upscaling more likely, guidance that will be developed in close coordination with such stakeholders on the basis of several workshops. Finally, the postdoctoral researcher will actively share responsibility for coordination between several parts of the AquaConnect project and work closely with some of the other postdoctoral researchers on this. So the tasks are for you to:
  • Engage in conceptual and empirical scientific research on water governance dynamics, particularly as they affect the introduction and upscaling of novel water management technologies in freshwater management춾
  • Publish the results from your research in the form of conference papers, contributions to scientific journals, but also popular publications and presentations.
  • Produce hands-on guidance for stakeholders in the Netherlands on how to make upscaling a reality, guidance to be developed in close coordination with such stakeholders on the basis of several workshops.
  • Participate in the organization of scientific and practice-oriented events (workshops, conferences), in close collaboration with other consortium members and relevant stakeholders in the AquaConnect project and at the PAP group;
  • Actively support the coordination between various parts of the AquaConnect project, in close coordination with colleagues, in part by being based at the Deltares institute in Utrecht for one day per week.

In this light, we seek a candidate who has:
  • a PhD-degree in the field of the relevant social sciences (for instance public administration, policy studies, development studies, political science, science and technology studies, transitions management, etc.).
  • an excellent understanding of relevant conceptual frameworks and theories around the EU governance of sustainability transformations in the climate-food-water nexus.
  • a growing publication record in international refereed scientific journals.
  • strong didactic and presentation skills and enthusiasm for teaching and working with (international) students in a broad range of educational programs.
  • demonstrated interest in the acquisition of external funding.
  • excellent skills in English; an ability to speak Dutch is an advantage for this position.
  • a willingness to be stationed at Deltares in Utrecht for one day per week.

Conditions of employment

We offer you a three year temporary contract for 0,8 - 1,0 FTE  with a one-year trial period. Gross salary will be from €2.960,- to €4.670  (scale 10) per month, based on full time employment (38 hours a week) and dependent on expertise and experience.

Wageningen University & Research offers a great working environment. We encourage internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. 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 by students as the "Best University" in the Netherlands for the 18th time in a row now.

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labor 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.

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. 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 center 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

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!

You will work here
You will become a member of the Public Administration and Policy group at Wageningen. The PAP group is an enthusiastic, ambitious and rapidly growing group within the Department of Social Sciences. The PAP group's mission is to study the public governance of sustainability transformations in the interrelated domains of water, climate, food, biodiversity and agriculture under the slogan "Changing governance, Governing change".

In our work, we build on a diverse set of social science concepts and theories and apply a diverse range of methods that we use whenever suitable for the research questions at hand, without being completely wedded to one such perspective or method. We take an active interest in the role of the state in sustainability governance and actively seek to think through innovative governance arrangements. The group is impact oriented and aims to contribute to scientific progress, to societal debates, and to policy practices. More information on the group can be found on

The PAP group actively collaborates with neighboring groups in the Wageningen Centre for Sustainability Governance (WCSG), which employs more than 100 researchers and is at the forefront of global discussions on sustainability transformations. The WCSG was recently assessed and was found to do "excellent, impact-driven and ample research", and to be "in an eminent position to meet the demand for innovation in governance related to sustainability issues".

To facilitate collaboration, the successful candidate will also be stationed for 1 day/week at the water governance unit of Deltares. Deltares is an independent institute for applied research in the field of water and subsurface. Throughout the world, Deltares works on smart solutions, innovations and applications for people, environment and society.

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


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • P1200014-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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