PhD position Uptake Strategies for Dutch Caribbean coral reef research (1.0 FTE)

PhD position Uptake Strategies for Dutch Caribbean coral reef research (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
15 Feb 15 Mar Utrecht

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Are you ready to work within the SEALINK programme on Dutch Caribbean coral reef research?

Job description

The Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development of Utrecht University is seeking a highly motivated, high-potential PhD candidate to work within the SEALINK programme on Dutch Caribbean coral reef research. This programme is led by Dr Mark Vermeij (UvA) who is joined, among others, by partners from Utrecht University, TU Delft, WUR, NIOZ, University of Curacao, CNSI, Carmabi, and a wide range of other local partners. Your PhD project will focus on the optimization of research-for-development and research uptake strategies. This is a social science position that combines fundamental theoretical questions with practice oriented action research.
The SEALINK Programme will create the first comprehensive understanding of ocean pollution and coral reef health in the Dutch Caribbean. Your PhD project would be one out of a total of nine PhD projects within SEALINK. The SEALINK programme will follow water and pollutants (including sewage, fertilizer, and human pathogens) from land to sea. Subsequently, it will seek to understand the effects of hydrodynamics on the distribution of these substances in nearby shore water, and the effects thereof on processes driving coral reef functioning. The insights thus generated are used for the design and testing of coral reef management options. Your PhD project will look for ways to optimize the uptake and use by relevant stakeholders of the SEALINK programme’s scientific output. In doing so, you will draw upon and contribute to fundamental theory related with policy science interfaces, transdisciplinarity and the impact of complex science on environmental governance.

Research-for-development or research uptake strategies are the object of your study – i.e. your work will contribute to fundamental theory development and practical implications, generically defined. At the same time, by studying research uptake strategies in the particular context of SEALINK, your work will contribute to the positive and lasting impact of SEALINK's scientific output on coral reef management, public policy and citizen behaviour in the Dutch Caribbean.


Utrecht University


In order to be successful you will have to:
  • hold a Master's degree in Environmental Studies, Environmental Sciences, Sustainability Science, Political Science, Public Administration, Sociology, or a related social science discipline;
  • have proven experience and affinity with the topics that are central to your research as stipulated in the job description.
Your PhD project will be partly based on action research, which means that beyond being fluent in more conventional research design and methods and familiar with fundamental theory, you are also expected to organize and conduct stakeholder workshops and other types of outreach activities with scientists, managers, policy makers and citizens. You will be assessed on your estimated ability to conduct action research of this kind. In addition, besides a familiarity with environmental governance broadly defined, it would be an advantage if you have knowledge of and/or experience in the research area, and with the specific topic of marine conservation.
Obviously, you should be proficient in English and have excellent scientific writing and presenting skills. Speaking or understanding Papiamento would be a plus. Being part of a large programme with many peers and senior Researchers you of course will need to be an enthusiastic teamplayer. As you will be dealing directly and frequently with a large variety of diverse stakeholders, having excellent communicational skills is key. Our assessment of your application will take these particular abilities into account as well.

Conditions of employment

You will be offered a PhD position (1.0 FTE), initially for one year with extension to a total of four years upon successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The gross salary ranges between €2,395 in the first year and €3,061 in the fourth year (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilization of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the faculty is a strong and challenging organization. The Faculty of Geosciences is organized in four departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.
If successful, you will be affiliated with the Environmental Governance group, one of the four sections of the university's Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. The Environmental Governance group is a dynamic, ambitious and internationally leading team of more than 50 Researchers with a focus on both fundamental and policy-oriented research of governance processes, from local to global levels. The group has a sound track record in conducting and supervising research on research for development, including the role of science-policy interactions therein. The Copernicus Institute has been evaluated in the last international review as the highest ranked research institute in environmental and sustainability sciences in the Netherlands.

Utrecht University has been ranked in the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities as the best university in the Netherlands and worldwide as the third-best university in the field of Geography. Utrecht University’s sustainability research in the field of climate change and ecosystems has the greatest citation impact worldwide according to a study conducted by Times Higher Education (2016). The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old center and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht has been consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the Netherlands.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2395—€3061 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1140402



Domplein 29, 3512 JE, Utrecht

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