PhD position: Understanding challenges in the Science-Policy interface of soil-based Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) technologies

PhD position: Understanding challenges in the Science-Policy interface of soil-based Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) technologies

Published Deadline Location
16 Sep 2 Oct Wageningen

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Job description

Are you passionate about tackling climate change through innovative research at the interface of the social and natural sciences? Do you dream of improving the implementation of soil-based Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) technologies to limit global warming? If you are a talented and aspiring researcher, we invite you to join our team and make a real impact in shaping future climate policy.

You will be a crucial part of a collaborative project between the Environmental Policy and the Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality groups at Wageningen University. The aim of the project is to understand how science and policy around soil-based Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) technologies interact. Such technologies to limit global warming appear simple and noncontroversial, yet they are extremely challenging to implement. We observe key problems in the translation of scientific insights from local-scale studies to global climate models, as well as in applying science from global models to policy for specific farmlands and forests.

You will contribute novel insights to these critical issues by studying how knowledge related to different types of soil-based CDR technologies is translated from local-scale studies to global climate assessments, and from science into policy making. You will visit several research groups in this field and participate in different types of natural and social science research practices, particularly related to global climate modelling. You will also interview policy makers and other societal stakeholders related to these CDR technologies.

This collaboration will provide many opportunities to develop new skills and networks, making you an inter- and transdisciplinary researcher who can shape future climate policy. If you are excited by the prospect of bridging disciplines and collaborating with multiple stakeholders; if you like variation in your activities and working both independently and in a multidisciplinary team; if you want to work on a societally relevant challenge… we are looking for you!

Preferred starting date is January 15th 2024.


Wageningen University & Research


The ideal candidate should have the following qualities:
  • a completed (or about to be completed) MSc degree in environmental sciences, science and technology studies, climate studies, geography, or a related interdisciplinary field;
  • a keen interest in the science-policy interface related to climate change;
  • hands-on experience with empirical social science methods, for example: conducting interviews, participatory observations, social network analysis, qualitative comparative analysis;
  • a strong interest in understanding and interpreting model parameterizations and outputs at various scales, as well as engagement with natural science methods, particularly related to causes of variability in natural science data;
  • experience with laboratory or field work skills, and/or the policy making process;
  • strong writing skills and excellent English language proficiency.

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • 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 € 2.770,- per month rising to € 3.539,- 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 another 30 months if you perform well. In addition, a contract for 0.8 FTE can also be discussed.
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

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!

About the Environmental Policy group
The Environmental Policy Group in the Department of Social Sciences at Wageningen University has an internationally recognised reputation in the area of environmental social science and policy research and education. Our 14 tenured staff, 5 teaching staff, 4 Postdocs and over 35 PhD students focus on the social and political science of environmental transformations. The research of the group has a strong international orientation, being conducted at both the global level as well as in number of countries across Europe, Africa and Asia. The staff profile of the group is also international, with more than 12 nationalities employed.

About the Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality group
The Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality group is engaged in fundamental soil chemical research and education. We seek to develop a generic understanding of processes at the molecular scale and nanoscale, in relation to ecosystem services such as soil fertility, carbon sequestration, and sustainment of soil and groundwater quality. Furthermore, we focus on how these underlying processes and functions are influenced by closing cycles and increasing use of residual/waste materials in the soil environment. We follow a research strategy based on novel experimental/analytical techniques and geochemical model development and application. Our main research themes are:
  1. Soil fertility
  2. Environmental geochemistry
  3. Soil carbon

Our group also runs a large state-of-the-art chemical laboratory and WEPAL, a world-leading organiser of proficiency testing programmes for soil, sediment, plants and organic waste.

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


  • PhD
  • Agriculture
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • P1278643-6


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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