Are you passionate about contributing to a multidisciplinary research project focused on climate-robust water systems and adaptation strategies? Do you have a keen interest in exploring the social welfare implications of future delta plans in the Southwest Delta region of the Netherlands? If so, we have an exciting opportunity for you!
The Environmental Economics and Natural Resources Group
is looking for a motivated PhD candidate to join the collaborative research program "Delta Wealth: developing adaptation pathways towards a climate-resilient and prosperous Southwest Delta," funded by the NWO. As part of this program, you will be part of a consortium consisting of leading knowledge institutions, including HZ/University of Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology, Utrecht University, NIOZ, and Wageningen University&Research.
Delta Wealth is a multidisciplinary consortium of universities, institutes, public authorities, companies and key societal stakeholders. We aim for societal resilience to cope with accelerating sea level rise (SLR), and enable cost savings and innovation opportunities in flood protection, nature conservation, sustainable freshwater supply, and economic sectors. Delta Wealth contributes to solutions for a safe, ecologically healthy and economically prosperous Southwest-Delta (SW-Delta), the Netherlands in the next 50-100 years, by developing science-based knowledge on three overarching adaptation strategies coined ‘protect-open’, ‘protect-closed’, ‘seaward-defence’, and their combination. Comparison between adaptation strategies and pathways is supported through a Social Welfare Framework that extends the current cost-benefit approach in flood risk management by explicitly taking economic, environmental and social aspects into account.
As a PhD candidate, you will contribute to work package 5: Social welfare in future delta plans. You will contribute to developing a Social Welfare Framework of the project by including include various societal interests including flood risk management, freshwater availability and salinization reduction, healthy ecosystems, economic opportunities and a safe and healthy living environment. This involves interacting with other work packages to obtain information on time horizon for land use change and economic costs, changes in water quality and ecological quality etc.
Furthermore, the critical role of social discounting will be considered for the long term perspective in the SW-Delta. Considering the uncertain long-term climate impacts on economy and ecosystem services, we apply the integrated framework based on social welfare maximization to simulate different flood risk levels, technological progress uncertainty, water quality uncertainty and ecological uncertainty and to explore the economic prospects and social welfare impacts. In this task, both dual discounting and time-declining discounting will be applied for different time horizons of investments needed. It is particularly interesting to combine different strategies in the model to identify the optimal strategy of combined options over time, because different single strategies have different benefits and costs at different points of time.
Your duties and responsibilities include:
- To write your PhD thesis based on this research project.
- To publish your research results in the peer-reviewed journals.
- To help with the management of work package 5.
The research is embedded within the chair of Environmental Economics and Natural Resources Group, which is led by Prof. Francisco Alpizar. You will be supervised by Dr Xueqin Zhu.