PhD: Individual behaviour under climate change risks

PhD: Individual behaviour under climate change risks

Published Deadline Location
28 Jun 29 Jul Amsterdam
Are you keen to contribute to increasing climate-resilience in Europe? Would you like to study how individuals take actions to prepare for multi-hazard climate risks?
Then you could be the ideal PhD candidate to join our team! Please apply.

Job description

The Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) has a new position for a PhD student in the field of behavioural economics. You will become part of a new interdisciplinary research programme (INSUREADAPT) funded by the European Research Council (ERC). This project aims to improve preparedness of households and businesses for multi-hazard climate change risks in the EU, such as floods and storms.

The PhD project will be supervised by Prof. Wouter Botzen, Dr Peter Robinson, and Dr Sanchayan Banerjee. You will also collaborate with other researchers who will be recruited for this project. Your main tasks are to:
  1. design and apply theories from the fields of behavioural science and psychology that explain why some people take effective measures to prepare for the various risks posed by climate change, whereas many others do not.
  2. implement surveys among households and businesses that empirically test these behavioural theories in various EU countries with varying climate risks.
  3. draw lessons for public sector policy makers and insurance companies that aim to stimulate individuals to better prepare for natural hazards posed by climate change, such as building-scale measures that limit damage to properties.

An important part of the ERC project INSUREADAPT is the integration of the insights from this PhD project in an agent-based model of climate change risks and human adaptation processes in collaboration with the project team. An inter- or multidisciplinary background and good communication skills are therefore important assets.

Your duties
  • you publish research results in international peer-reviewed journals
  • you teach for 0.1 FTE in Bachelor and/or Master’s educational programmes and supervise Bachelor and Master students
  • you contribute to project tasks, meetings and activities
  • you present your research fundings, for example at international conferences


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • you have an MSc degree in (behavioural) economics, psychology or a related discipline
  • you possess quantitative statistical and/or econometric skills
  • you have excellent writing and verbal communication skills in English
  • you are interested in doing cutting-edge scientific research

Nice to have
  • affinity with environmental sustainability and/or climate change topics

We realise that each individual brings a unique set of skills, expertise and mindset. Therefore we are happy to invite anyone who recognises themselves in the profile to apply, even if you do not fully meet all the requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

An interesting position in a socially engaged organisation. At VU Amsterdam, you contribute to education, research and service for a better world. And that is valuable. So in return for your efforts, we offer you:
  • a salary of minimum € 2.770,00 (PhD scale 85.0) and maximum € 3.539,00 (PhD scale 85.3) gross per month, on a full-time basis. This is based on UFO profile PhD candidate.
  • a position for at least 1 FTE. Your employment contract will initially last 1 year. If there is sufficient perspective, this will be extended to a total of 4 years. Your dissertation at the end of the fourth year forms the end of your employment contract

We also offer you attractive fringe benefits and regulations. Some examples:
  • A full-time 38-hour working week comes with a holiday leave entitlement of 232 hours per year. If you choose to work 40 hours, you have 96 extra holiday leave hours on an annual basis. For part-timers, this is calculated pro rata.
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

Additionally, we also offer a PhD education programme including training for teaching assistants and courses that are part of the SENSE graduate school.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

About the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM)
Established in 1971, IVM is a leading environmental research institute that is internationally recognised for its high-quality research output in a range of environmental disciplines, as well as for its interdisciplinary work. The mission of the institute is to contribute to sustainable development and care for the environment through scientific research and teaching. IVM aims to do excellent problem-oriented research that is useful to a wide range of stakeholders in the Netherlands and internationally. A unique strength of our research is to understand sustainability problems in their social and economic context. IVM’s research community works within four departments: Environmental Economics; Environmental Geography, Environmental Policy Analysis; and Water and Climate Risk. Since 2001 IVM has been part of the Faculty of Science at VU Amsterdam (legal name Stichting VU).

The PhD position is situated in the department of Environmental Economics (EE). The EE department leads the institute’s efforts in improving insights into the interaction between the environment and the economy. The department is one of the main groups of environmental economists in Europe. Important fields of application in climate change research include natural disaster insurance, cost-benefit analysis of climate change adaptation policies, and individual behaviour under climate risk.

Faculty of Science
Researchers and students at VU Amsterdam’s Faculty of Science tackle fundamental and complex scientific problems to help pave the way for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, and from molecules to the moon: we cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. Our teaching and research have a strong experimentally technical, computational and interdisciplinary nature.

We work on new solutions guided by value-driven, interdisciplinary methodologies. We are committed to research, valorisation and training socially engaged citizens of the world who will make valuable contributions to a sustainable, healthy future.

Are you interested in joining the Faculty of Science? You will join undergraduate students, PhD candidates and researchers at the biggest sciences faculty in the Netherlands. You will combine a professional focus with a broad view of the world. We are proud of our collegial working climate, characterised by committed staff, a pragmatic attitude and engagement in the larger whole. The faculty is home to over 11,000 students enrolled in 40 study programmes. It employs over 1,600 professionals spread across 10 academic departments.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam stands for values-driven education and research. We are open-minded experts with the ability to think freely – a broader mind. Maintaining an entrepreneurial perspective and concentrating on diversity, significance and humanity, we work on sustainable solutions with social impact. By joining forces, across the boundaries of disciplines, we work towards a better world for people and planet. Together we create a safe and respectful working and study climate, and an inspiring environment for education and research. Learn more about our codes of conduct

We are located on one physical campus, in the heart of Amsterdam's Zuidas business district, with excellent location and accessibility. Over 5,500 staff work at VU Amsterdam and over 30,000 students attend academic education.

Diversity is the driving force of VU Amsterdam. VU wants to be accessible and receptive to diversity in disciplines, cultures, ideas, nationalities, beliefs, preferences and worldviews. We believe that trust, respect, interest and differences lead to new insights and innovation, to sharpness and clarity, to excellence and a broader understanding.

We stand for an inclusive community and believe that diversity and internationalisation contribute to the quality of education, research and our services.

Therefore, we are always searching for people whose backgrounds and experience contribute to the diversity of the VU community.

Additional information

Are you interested in this position and do you believe that your experience will contribute to the further development of our university? In that case, we encourage you to upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter and submit your application. The job interviews are planned in the week of 5-9 August 2024, so please take this into account when applying for the position.

Submitting a diploma and a reference check are part of the application process.

Reference letters can either be uploaded with your application, or you can list the contact information of two references in your CV or cover letter.

Applications received by e-mail will not be considered.

Acquisition in response to this advertisement is not appreciated.


  • PhD
  • Economics
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 4163


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1111, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 29 Jul 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).