PhD Position in Environmental Ethics

PhD Position in Environmental Ethics

Published Deadline Location
9 Nov 19 Jan Enschede

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Job description

Research Project: "Diverse ethical values and just sustainability futures"

Contemporary sustainability research and policy discourses feature calls for ‘transformative change towards sustainability’ (IPCC 2022; IPBES 2022), a sustainable future that ‘leaves no one behind’ (UN Agenda 2030), even the promotion of ‘sustainability-aligned values’ (IPBES 2022). Such calls are vague about what exactly needs to be transformed, and the technologies or institutions necessary to achieve it. Crucially, this ambiguity concerns the ethical values that ought to be recognized and protected by sustainable development policies.

This PhD project will explore the place of environmental values within political theory, in the context of a just and sustainable future. A key challenge will be whether the tensions between anthropocentric theories, non-anthropocentric theories, and plural worldviews can be overcome. This may involve clarification of the controversy about relational values in environmental ethics. Another key focus will be to examine the compatibility between diverse ethical and political values and sustainability futures, for instance involving green growth, or futures challenging high consumption lifestyles and prioritizing human needs.

Key objectives:
  1. Examine the diversity of environmental values for political theory debates about a just and sustainable future
  2. Examine the implications of value diversity for the modelling of sustainability futures

This PhD position will also be affiliated with the NWO funded ‘Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies’ programme (, which examines the ethical implications of socially disruptive technologies, and in particular with the research lines on Society and Nature.


University of Twente (UT)


We are looking for a highly motivated, enthusiastic researcher who is driven by curiosity and has:
  • or will shortly acquire, a Master’s degree in philosophy, with a specialization in environmental ethics, environmental political theory, or climate ethics;
  • A demonstrated interest in interdisciplinary sustainability research;
  • A strong interest in analyzing and comparing normative visions of sustainability futures, and their technological and institutional presuppositions;
  • The ability to pursue independent research, and willingness to develop writing and publication skills;
  • 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 growing group of researchers in environmental philosophy, who have established the Environmental Philosophy of Technology working group.

About the ESDiT Programme

The Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies programme is a ten-year long international research programme of seven academic institutions in the Netherlands ( It strives to achieve breakthrough research in at the intersection of ethics, philosophy, technology/engineering and social sciences, and to position its consortium at the top of its field internationally. 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
  • 1522


University of Twente (UT)

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Drienerlolaan 5, 7522NB, Enschede

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