PhD Position in Environmental Political Theory

PhD Position in Environmental Political Theory

Published Deadline Location
9 Nov 8 Dec Enschede

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Job description

Research Project: "Planetary Justice and Energy Transition Technologies"

This research project investigates the link between planetary justice and the energy transition. It will clarify the planetary justice issues raised by the energy transition, drawing on the triumvirate approach to energy justice that incorporates recognitional justice, distributive justice, and procedural justice. It will also ask whether the theory of planetary justice can stand in the absence of a broader ethical framework, and, if necessary, explore the role other ethical considerations.

The energy transition relies on renewable energy, technologies aiming at sustainable behavior change and energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage, and possibly nuclear energy. The project will start with a review of these technologies to identify whether to focus on a specific type of technology or several of them regarding their potential to promote planetary justice from a multi-level governance perspective.

Key objectives

The objectives of the projects are twofold:
  1. To clarify the demands of planetary justice in the context of the energy transition ;
  2. To apply planetary justice to the multi-level governance process for the energy transition.

To achieve the first objective, a conceptual literature review covering different fields will be conducted, especially planetary justice, energy justice, and gender justice. At this stage, an intersectional approach will be adopted that focuses on the different and often mutually reinforcing forms of injustices.

Depending on the findings of the review and the skills of the PhD candidate, the second objective can be achieved through:
  • a top-down approach making principles of justice operational by translating them into assessment criteria and indicators;
  • a bottom-up approach including semi-structured interviews, focus group meetings and action research;
  • or a combination of both approaches involving participatory methods, for instance by using the inputs of scholars through interviews or surveys to assess the principles.

In any case, the second objective will be pursued through a multi-scalar approach articulating principles of justice with specific energy transition initiatives at the international, national, or sub-national level.


University of Twente (UT)


We are looking for a highly motivated, enthusiastic researcher who is driven by curiosity and has/is:
  • A master’s degree in philosophy, with an interest in environmental philosophy, especially environmental ethics and environmental policy and governance OR an undergraduate degree in philosophy with a master in a relevant field, such as environmental or energy governance;
  • Enthusiastic for combining thorough theoretical work with practical applications in the field of energy transition and justice;
  • A strong interest for analyzing and comparing different kinds of energy transition technologies;
  • A good team spirit and like to work in an interdisciplinary and internationally oriented environment;
  • Able to do independent research and willing to develop writing and publication skills;
  • Possess good communication skills and an excellent command of English.

The following qualifications would be desired, but are not required:
  • Background in any of the following academic domains: climate justice, energy justice, global justice, gender justice, eco-feminism;
  • Experience with environmental decision-making within academia, government, or civil society;
  • Experience with participatory research methods, such as interviews, focus group meetings and action research.

Conditions of employment

We encourage high responsibility and independence, while collaborating with colleagues, researchers, other university staff and partners. We follow the terms of employment by the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Universities (CAO). Our offer contains: a fulltime 4-year PhD position with a qualifier in the first year; excellent mentorship in a stimulating research environment with excellent facilities; and a personal development program within the Twente Graduate School. It also includes:
  • Gross monthly salary of € 2.770 in the first year, increasing each year up to € 3.539 in the fourth year;
  • Excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme;
  • 29 holidays per year in case of full-time employment;
  • A training programme as part of the Twente Graduate School where you and your supervisors will settle a plan for a suitable education and supervision;
  • A green campus with free access to sports facilities and an international scientific community;
  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid);
  • A full status as an employee at the UT, including pension, health care benefits and good secondary conditions are part of our collective labour agreement CAO-NU for Dutch universities.


About the Philosophy Section

The section is internationally leading in the philosophy and ethics of technology ( The section also participates in the interuniversity 4TU.Center for Ethics and Technology ( Both the section and the Center have a strong international orientation and include members from many different nationalities. Within the section, there is a large and growing group of researchers in environmental philosophy, who have joined forces in the Environmental Philosophy of Technology working group.

About the ESDiT Programme

The Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies is a ten-year international research programme of seven academic institutions in the Netherlands ( It strives to achieve breakthrough research at the intersection of ethics, philosophy, technology, engineering and social sciences. A key objective is to investigate how new technologies challenge moral values and ontological concepts (like “nature”, “human being” and “community”), and how these challenges necessitate a revision of these concepts. The PhD candidate will join the “Nature, life and human intervention” research line.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1523


University of Twente (UT)

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Drienerlolaan 5, 7522NB, Enschede

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