PhD position: Redesigning governance systems to achieve climate-robust landscapes

PhD position: Redesigning governance systems to achieve climate-robust landscapes

Published Deadline Location
20 Feb 10 Apr Wageningen

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Job description

Are you passionate about tackling the pressing challenges of more intense floods and droughts in the future? Do you possess a drive to work with governments and stakeholders to develop transformative governance ideas in the face of climate change? If so, read further!

To make the Dutch water system climate robust and be able to deal with future droughts and floods, we need to make changes to the water system and governance system. This PhD position will focus on redesigning the governance system to transition to water and climate robust landscapes in the Netherlands.

As part of the NWO-KIC WaterScape project you will work in a larger team with PhDs that are based at different universities within the Netherlands. We will also interact with stakeholders and our other partners that will use your results for their future policy making, with the goal to create a more climate robust water system in the Netherlands.

As PhD candidate you will be responsible for designing pathways to governance systems that enable coordination and adaptation of policy investments in the water system to establish waterscapes in the Dutch Delta. You will analyse previously made decisions, the use of hydrological models in decision making, the frames about problems and solutions, and develop pathways towards future waterscapes.

New governance arrangements to be delivered need to be integrated (connecting sectoral domains and multiple sustainability challenges), adaptive (having the capacity to flexibly respond to changing circumstances), and just (cost and benefits for every stakeholder are considered and stakeholders are part of the redesign process).

You will conduct field research in three different Dutch sites that are confronted with different water-related challenges: Groningen, Utrecht and West-Brabant. Your knowledge can contribute to Dutch water-related policies such as the Dutch Delta program on freshwater, the national program for the Dutch rural areas (NPLG) and the policy of ‘water and soil as leading forces’ (water en bodem sturend).

Your duties and responsibilities include:
  • developing your own research proposal in close connection to the WaterScape project;
  • conducting qualitative field research in three regions in the Netherlands;
  • designing integrated, just and adaptive governance arrangements;
  • designing pathways with concrete changes for water system investments and water-related policies;
  • writing four scientific publications and practitioner oriented publications. The scientific publications will be part of a PhD dissertation;
  • presenting at and organizing webinars and project conferences

You will work here
You will become part of the NWO-KiC funded project WaterScape.The research is embedded within the chair Public Administration and Policy], which is led by Prof. Dave Huitema. You will be supervised by dr. Wieke Pot and prof.dr. Art Dewulf.


Wageningen University & Research


You have:
  • a successfully completed Social Sciences MSc degree in Public Administration, Spatial Planning, Political Science, Environmental Policy or a related discipline, with excellent results
  • knowledge of qualitative research methods such as interviewing, organizing workshops, participant observation and comparative case studies;
  • ability to apply social science theories and concepts;
  • excellent Dutch and English skills, both orally and in writing.

You also possess:
  • affinity with working closely together with stakeholders and developing innovative and interactive methods to co-create knowledge;
  • affinity with interdisciplinary and/or transdisciplinary research;
  • strong communicative and writing skills;
  • collaborative and organizational skills.

For this position your command of Dutch language is expected to be at C2 level (high proficiency). 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:
  • 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 the duration of the project if you perform well.

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 19th 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 for example helping your partner to find a job, housing, or schooling. Finally, certain categories of international staff may be eligible for a tax exemption on a part of their salary during the first five years in the Netherlands.


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, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 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!

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


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • P1436969-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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