PhD Position (full-time, 4 years)

PhD Position (full-time, 4 years)

Published Deadline Location
17 Jan 19 Feb Rotterdam

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Job description

The Climate justice before courts project:

Courts have become a major actor in disputes about climate justice. In the past decade, the world has experienced an important increase in the number and influence of climate litigation cases, with the Urgenda and Neubauer vs. Germany as the leading and to-date most relevant European cases. These cases have showcased a live dispute concerning the appropriate role of courts in the determination of emissions pathways.

Although judicial discretion has occupied philosophers of law in the past, in light of some of the salient characteristics of climate change, such as its emergency and its potential life-threatening consequences, it might be relevant to examine what the appropriate role of courts should be in the context of climate policies. Moreover, since most climate litigation cases are strategic litigation cases and this form of litigation usually raises legitimacy concerns, an investigation into the legitimacy of strategic litigation, its compatibility with democracy and its desirability in the context of climate change is also timely. Furthermore, climate litigation cases have been based on different normative grounds (human rights, ecocentric approaches, etc.), but their normative differences and the consequences of this fact have not been yet investigated. Finally, on a more theoretical level, there is still a research gap concerning the appropriate epistemic standards of proof in climate litigation cases.

The envisioned PhD project will engage with the topic of political and legal philosophy in relation to the appropriate role of courts in climate policymaking. Although the candidate will work mostly with the methods of legal and political philosophy, they are also expected to engage with legal theory and legal sociological discussions concerning the topic, as well as with European and international climate litigation cases.

The PhD-position is located within the Erasmus School of Philosophy (ESPhil) and part of the Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (EIPE). EIPE has a good number of colleagues doing research in climate change, climate justice and ethics with whom the PhD researcher would have the opportunity to collaborate, including their supervisor (dr. Laura García-Portela), dr. Constanze Binder and dr. Conrad Heilmann. Moreover, collaboration would also be possible with the colleagues at the Erasmus School of Law (ESL). Beyond the EUR, the candidate will be encouraged to collaborate with influential NGOs in the Netherlands, such as Urgenda.

Job description
The candidate's primary responsibility will be to conduct research and write a PhD thesis. The candidate should also contribute to development of the field of climate justice in other ways, such as by giving scholarly presentations and co-organizing reading groups and workshops. Furthermore, the PhD candidate will become part of a large and diverse community of PhD candidates, and is expected to contribute as a junior lecturer to the Erasmus School of Philosophy’s (ESPhil) educational programme.


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)


We are looking for a motivated PhD candidate with the following background and skills:
  • BA and/or MA in Philosophy, Political Science, Law, Sociology or related disciplines, with strong interest in and ability for undertaking philosophical research.
  • Interest in broad questions within climate ethics/justice
  • Interest in collaborative and interdisciplinary work, especially between law, political theory, sociology, and philosophy.
  • Willingness to move to the Netherlands and integrate oneself in the academic environment at ESPhil and EUR
  • Good writing, oral, and organizational skills
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English (at least C1 level)

Conditions of employment

We offer you an internationally oriented and varied job in an enthusiastic team, with excellent working conditions in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU).

The start date of this position is 01-APR-2024 or as soon as possible thereafter. This position is for 0.8 fte - 1 fte FTE. The salary ranges from a minimum of € 2.770 to a maximum of € 3.539 gross per month Scale PhD on a fulltime basis (38 hours), in accordance with the CAO-NU. The contract is entered into for the duration of four years.

Everything else we offer you, you can find below!


Erasmus University Rotterdam

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is an internationally oriented university with a strong social orientation in its education and research, as expressed in our mission ‘Creating positive societal impact’. EUR is home to 3.700 academics and professionals and almost 33.000 students from more than 140 countries. Everything we do, we do under the credo The Erasmian Way – Making Minds Matter. We’re global citizens, connecting, entrepreneurial, open-minded, and socially involved. These Erasmian Values function as our internal compass and create EUR’s distinctive and recognizable profile. From these values, with a broad perspective and with an eye for diversity, different backgrounds and opinions, our employees work closely together to solve societal challenges from the dynamic and cosmopolitan city of Rotterdam. Thanks to the high quality and positive societal impact of our research and education, EUR can compete with the top European universities.

Erasmus School of Philosophy (ESPhil)
Erasmus School of Philosophy is a leading research and teaching institution of Erasmus University Rotterdam. The faculty is one of the two independent faculties of philosophy in the Netherlands. ESPhil has a broad international orientation, with many international students (total number of students is currently about 800), PhDs (about 15), and staff members (about 30), and has excellent connections with universities abroad.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 4025


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

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Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, 3062PA, Rotterdam

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