Postdoctoral researcher: Climate Change and Governance in Indonesia and the Caribbean - KITLV-KNAW - Leiden

Postdoctoral researcher: Climate Change and Governance in Indonesia and the Caribbean - KITLV-KNAW - Leiden

Published Deadline Location
9 Nov 4 Dec Leiden

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Job description

The postdoc will be a key researcher and coordinator in a two-year, joint KITLV-WUR-NIOO-NIAS project (2021-2023) entitled “Climate Change and Governance in Indonesia and the Caribbean: A Pilot Program on Marine Protected Areas.” This project aims to develop and test a cross-disciplinary approach to studying the adaptation of social-ecological systems (SES) to human-induced climate change. It will create a consortium and carry out pilot research on land-sea connections and the governance of climate change adaptation in four Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and/or coastal nature parks in these two tropical biodiversity hotspots. The long-term aim is to develop, and secure funding for, a larger research program.

SES approaches are based on the assumption that ecological and human-centred socio-political and cultural processes are interlocked in continuous feedback loops. Path dependence plays a key role: earlier turns taken constrain future potentials. In ecology, this refers to feedback loops and tipping points. In social science, it refers to institutional lock-in. Human societies are capable of learning from the past, but institutional change also involves inertia, vested interests, and hence power and conflict. Our long-term goal is to unravel the interrelationship between the crises of governance and ecology in parts of the world where the ability of governance institutions to manage increasingly dire conditions is relatively low. Responding to urgent calls to analyse complex social-ecological systems at different spatial and temporal scales, the project asks:

  1. Why do governance institutions and practices fail to keep pace with ecological processes in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and coastal nature parks?
  2. What are the factors that hinder the process of governance adaptation in different tropical contexts and what are the factors that could make for more effective climate governance?

We focus on MPAs and nature parks because these sites constitute a specific form of governance adaptation geared toward the preservation and/or restoration of coastal ecosystems.

The successful candidate will conduct research and publish on the fundamental methodological challenges of this project; help assemble and coordinate a multi-disciplinary international research team; stimulate productive scholarly exchange in this team; and prepare fieldwork. S/he will be based at KITLV and make frequent visits to Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and the Netherlands Institute of Ecological Research (NIOO). The candidate will also travel to Indonesia and the Caribbean to work with local partners. At KITLV, s/he will form a team with Sikko Visscher, who will be responsible for the administrative, financial and logistic part of the project.


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)


The successful candidate will have held a PhD-degree for at least two years, in any one of the following disciplinary fields:

  • Political ecology or anthropology
  • Geography
  • Environmental history
  • Ecology (with a demonstrated interest in humanities and social science research)

We are looking for a good networker, communicator, listener and doer, who wants to be at the forefront of methodological innovation. Essential qualities of the successful candidate will be a demonstrated openness to cross-disciplinary collaboration and experience with international collaboration and fieldwork. A demonstrated experience and/or affinity with project management, conservation, familiarity with either the Caribbean or Indonesia, and relevant language skills will be considered advantages. S/he must be free to travel overseas for extended periods.

Applications should be in English. Please ensure that you upload a single pdf-document named FULL NAME-vacancy number (AT2020-129), which includes, in this order:

  • A motivation letter (max. two pages), including a We Transfer or Google Drive link to a 3-minute video (preferably landscape mode) in which you tell about your past work and ideas for the current project;
  • A short description of how you would approach this interdisciplinary project and how you would set up a project in Indonesia and/or the Dutch Caribbean (max. one page);
  • A CV, including a highlighting of three publications and their impact/importance (max. three pages);
  • Contact details for three academic referees.


Conditions of employment

The research position is funded by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). KITLV is a KNAW institute. Appointment will be according to the terms of the Collective Labor Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten). We offer a full time position (38 hours per week) for one year starting in March 2021. Extension of the contract with one year to a total of two years is subject to satisfactory review. - Based on the university system of job classification [universitair systeem functieordenen, or UFO], the position is classified as job profile Researcher [Onderzoeker], The gross monthly salary will be based on experience and will be between  € 3,123 and 4,274 (in accordance with salary scale 10, of the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.  KNAW offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %) and training and career development. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

The position is based at KITLV ( Leiden is a pleasant, historical city located between Amsterdam and The Hague. KITLV is committed to diversity, inclusiveness, and equal opportunities. 


Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV)

The Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV-KNAW) is an Academy research institute. The KITLV conducts interdisciplinary and comparative historical research. Its research focus is Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, with an emphasis on Indonesia and the ‘Dutch’ Caribbean. It is particularly interested in such issues as state formation, violence and citizenship, processes of mobility and the formation of ethnic and national identity. KITLV is active in the humanities, social sciences and comparative area studies and works closely with Leiden University.


  • Postdoc; Research, development, innovation
  • Natural sciences; Language and culture; Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €3123—€4274 per month
  • Doctorate
  • AT2020-129


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

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