PhD position: PhD ‘Nature conservation & energy transition’

PhD position: PhD ‘Nature conservation & energy transition’

Published Deadline Location
4 Mar tomorrow Heerlen

Job description

Are you ready for the start of your academic career? Do you want to become part of an enthusiastic group of colleagues, who seek to push the boundaries of environmental knowledge and teach in the highest graded educational programs in the Netherlands? Do you have the right skills to do cutting-edge research in an interdisciplinary setting? Then apply for a PhD-position in the project “Nature conservation & energy transition – from competing land use claims to opportunities for sustainable societal change” at the Department of Environmental Sciences.

Background

The current global biodiversity crisis has a negative impact on nature’s ability to sustain human needs. Despite many initiatives designed to reverse biodiversity decline, overall progress towards improvement in the resilience of ecosystems is still weak. Global climate change is happening simultaneously and both the root causes and the –future– solutions to the current biodiversity and climate crises are closely intertwined. The dominance of climate change narratives in current policy debates carries the risk of neglecting biodiversity issues. The much-needed energy transition, which encompasses all initiatives to develop low (and ultimately net zero) carbon energy production and consumption, is urgently needed yet its implementation can cause unwanted biodiversity effects, ranging from unsustainable mining for new raw materials, to large-scale land use changes and waste problems. Besides, addressing biodiversity losses and climate change both take up valuable space. Achieving biodiversity conservation goals and energy transition goals simultaneously while avoiding irreversible trade-offs, is a challenge from the global to the local level. Decision-makers need evidence-based guidance to address these issues and to ensure ‘no net loss’ biodiversity targets and ‘zero carbon’ energy targets.

Objectives

This PhD project aims to contribute to: i. identify existing and potential conflicts between biodiversity conservation and energy transition goals at various decision-making levels and effective and efficient measures to mitigate these conflicts; ii. develop & apply participatory, evidence-based decision-aid processes which allow for an integrated assessment of multi-objective societal transition projects and iii. facilitate the integration and uptake of integrated biodiversity-energy assessment processes in decision-making processes. Ultimately, the project aims to contribute to policy advice on how potential and existing conflicts between biodiversity conservation and energy transition goals can be avoided, reduced or mitigated.

To achieve these objectives the project will start with a systematic inventory of knowledge and evidence of current and past practices regarding the integration of biodiversity conservation and energy transition goals. A tentative conceptual model will be developed through systematic literature review and participatory approaches will be applied (e.g. Delphi-survey, Horizon scan methodologies). The project will also contribute fresh empirical evidence by means of case studies, focused on existing and planned biodiversity conservation & energy transition projects examining ways to deal with tradeoffs while avoiding irreversible negative effects. The case studies will take place in both the Global North (Europe) and the Global South.

Finally, the project will develop a series of recommendations on how biodiversity conservation goals and energy transition goals can be integrated and implemented in practice. Ideally, decision-support tools will be developed and tested in collaboration with practitioners. Such practitioners will include public and private decision-makers, local communities, non-governmental actors and scientists.

Tasks

The PhD candidate will:

  • engage in supervised scientific research that will ultimately result in a doctoral thesis (systematic review, database construction, comparative analysis, and case studies);
  • develop a fully-fledged, scientifically sound and innovative PhD proposal, which they will later implement;
  • participate in the relevant activities of the Department of Environmental Sciences;
  • participate in the organization of scientific and practice-oriented events (workshops, conferences), in close collaboration with the supervisors;
  • follow a tailor-made course program for PhD-candidates of the OU Graduate School and the National Research School SENSE;
  • publish research results in the form of conference papers, contributions to peer-reviewed scientific journals, as well as through popular publications and presentations;
  • be involved in teaching, daily communication with students and grading of student essays within the Energy Systems Analysis course in the Master of Environmental Sciences of the OU Department of Environmental Sciences.

Specifications

The Open Universiteit (OU)

Requirements

Candidates must:

  • have a Master’s degree in a relevant field: Environmental Sciences, Environmental Governance, BioScience Engineering, Biology, Sustainability Science, Conservation science, Sustainability or Technology Assessment;
  • have experience or interest in environmental (social) sciences, biodiversity governance, energy transition and energy policy, land use planning, systematic review, comparative analysis, stakeholder analysis, participatory and evidence-based research, ecosystem services assessment & valuation and case study research;
  • be able to demonstrate excellent scientific writing and communication skills, as well as relevant collaborative and social skills;
  • have experience working in an inter-disciplinary team;
  • have the ability to conduct research in various countries (global North and South), working closely together with (non-academic) stakeholders;
  • have experience in and/or willingness to engage in grant applications (e.g. to gather additional field work funding);
  • be fluent in English (spoken and in writing);
  • be strongly motivated for doctoral studies,  possess the ability to work independently and perform critical analysis and also possess good levels of cooperative and communicative abilities. Teaching experience and publications are not required but are considered an advantage if the candidate can demonstrate experience in these areas.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: for 4 years.

Salary

The salary is determined in accordance with salary scale P of Appendix A of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities and amounts to € 2.770,= gross per month upon commencement, in case of full employment.

The PhD candidate will be appointed for a period of 15 months. The appointment will be extended to 4 years when progress and performance are good.

Station
Heerlen. You are present in Heerlen (at least) two days a week

Employer

Open Universiteit

Flexible studying anywhere in the Netherlands and (Belgium) Flanders
The Open Universiteit is the part-time university in the Netherlands. Students follow personalised and activating academic distance education and disciplinary research is carried out within the various fields of science. Students can complete bachelor and master programmes, but also shorter programmes. The characteristics of education are openness, flexibility and quality (see www.ou.nl/rankings). The Open Universiteit has over 17,000 students and more than 850 employees. The OU has branches in the Netherlands and Belgium (see www.ou.nl/studiecentra). The main office is located in Heerlen.

The latest technologies and educational insights are applied both in the bachelor's and master's programmes and courses and in projects and programmes with partners. Nationally and internationally, the OU plays an important role in the innovation of higher education. Education is interwoven with research, which also ensures that the current state of science is incorporated. The Open Universiteit invests not only in disciplinary research in nine scientific fields, but also in research in a multidisciplinary programme: Innovating for resilience.

Department

Department of Environmental Sciences

The Department of Environmental Sciences is part of the Faculty of Science. The Department embodies the commitment of the Open Universiteit to excellence in the environmental sciences, science for impact, and lifelong learning in the sustainability domain. The Department brings together an ambitious and inspiring group of people working on integrated environmental modelling, sustainability learning, and environmental governance and has about 20 team members. The research of the Department aims to contribute to the understanding of social-ecological systems, the development of solutions for environmental issues, and to the wider body of knowledge that helps societies reach their sustainability goals.

Additional information

Information

For more information about this vacancy you can contact: Dr. Jean Hugé (Jean.Huge@ou.nl) or Dr. Susanne Vogel (Susanne.Vogel@ou.nl).

The PhD supervising team will consist of Dr. Jean Hugé, Dr. Susanne Vogel and Prof. Dr. Jetse Stoorvogel. 

The Open Universiteit provides good secondary benefits such as training, mobility, part-time employment and paid parental leave.

Specifications

  • PhD
  • Natural sciences; Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €2770 per month
  • University graduate
  • FAC/BW/24021

Employer

The Open Universiteit (OU)

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Location

Postbus 2960, 6401 DL, Heerlen

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Application procedure

Please apply to this position by sending an email with your motivation letter together with your resume, stating the vacancy number to: solliciteren@ou.nl.

Closing date: April 15, 2024.

Application procedure

Application procedure

Please apply to this position by sending an email with your motivation letter together with your resume, stating the vacancy number to: solliciteren@ou.nl.

Closing date: April 15, 2024.

Make sure to apply no later than 15 Apr 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).