PhD 50%/ Lecturer 50% (Legal imaginaries of climate neutrality)

PhD 50%/ Lecturer 50% (Legal imaginaries of climate neutrality)

Published Deadline Location
12 Mar 8 Apr Amsterdam

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 8 Apr 2024).

Browse the current job offers or choose an item in the top navigation above.

Are you looking to kick-start your academic career? This is your chance to teach to an (inter)national cohort of students, and pursue a PhD in law with a team of supportive and enthusiastic colleagues! Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Job description

Are you passionate about becoming an academic with critical legal research skills and excellent teaching abilities in the field of transnational climate law and sustainability? In this position, you will combine teaching (50%) and PhD research (50%) over and eight-year period. In this role, you will dedicate equal time to both research and teaching. The position is part of a research project that addresses fundamental legal questions of climate law, coupled with a teaching development pathway. You will be involved in courses in the fields of Public International Law (in Dutch) and International & EU (Climate) Law, potentially including our innovative Climate Change & Sustainability Law Clinic. This opportunity will allow you to develop as an academic and engage in initiatives that have a significant impact on society.

The research project:

The research part of the position consists of independently conducting doctoral research in the English-language project “Legal imaginaries of climate neutrality: regulating our net-zero future”. Your research will result in a dissertation in the form of a monograph or a collection of articles.

The goal of achieving net-zero emissions has become the central paradigm in public and private climate governance at both national and supranational levels. “Net zero” means reducing and avoiding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as close to zero as possible, while addressing the remaining emissions through alternative means.

The problem with net zero is that the effectiveness of these alternative means is still uncertain. For example, the technologies of carbon capture and storage have not yet been deployed at scale, despite decades of policy support and lawmaking in the field. Forest-based offsetting is always subject to the risk of reversal (e.g. through forest fires). Market-based mechanisms for mitigation are prone to create “hot air”, i.e., emission certificates that do not represent genuine emission reductions. Consequently, the risk of relying on these alternative instruments is that climate policy may achieve net zero in a regulatory (or imagined) sense only, but not in a material sense.

In this PhD project you will investigate whether and how “imagined emission reductions” are constructed through law under the supervision of dr. Clemens Kaupa, dr. David Rossati, and prof. Wouter Werner. You will identify the conflicts that arise from the possibility that these imagined reductions may not correspond to actual emission reductions in the physical realm. Moreover, you will identify and critically assess legal strategies to contain these risks. The investigation will be conducted in the context of a number of case studies (e.g. market-based mechanisms under the Paris Agreement; the regulation of carbon removals under EU Law; offsetting in corporate climate governance), with the possibility of being trained and engage in socio-legal methods of enquiry.

The teaching pathway

In addition to a general course of Public International Law in Dutch, you will be gradually involved in teaching across courses dedicated to Climate Law and sustainability for bachelor and master students in English. You will be contributing to two climate-related courses in the innovative Law in Society bachelor degree, a general course on Climate Law for a minor programme, and master courses in climate and economic law for our International Business Law programme. At the end of this 8-year period, you will have contributed to the continuous development of several courses and demonstrated excellence in learning and teaching in higher education, also by training for the certification as a teacher in Dutch Higher Education (BKO).

The working environment

You will become part of an enthusiastic, diverse and supportive team in the Transnational Legal Studies department of the Faculty of Law working on a wide range of topics from a critical and inter-disciplinary angle. You will receive training in research through our Graduate School and contribute to the aims of Boundaries of Law programme, and of the Amsterdam Centre for Climate Change and the Law.

You will also have to possibility to be involved in the many initiatives of the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute, which gathers researchers, students and experts from all faculties.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • You hold a law degree (Master or comparable)
  • You are strongly motivated to conduct long-term research on the theme of the project and to become an experienced and impactful teacher in higher education
  • You can demonstrate excellent analyical skills and creativity
  • You can demonstrate excellent written and oral communicatoin
  • You enjoy working in an international team and are eager to engage with students from a diverse background
  • You have demonstrable knowledge of International and EU Law, as well as knowledge/interest in Climate Law
  • You are interested to explore interdisciplinary aspects in your research
  • You have already an advanced command of English and Dutch (C1)

As a university, we strive for equal opportunities for all, recognizing that diversity takes many forms. We believe that diversity in all its complexity is invaluable for the quality of our teaching, research and service. We are always looking for talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences. This also means that we are committed to creating an inclusive community so that we can use diversity as an asset.

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

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 8 year.

A challenging 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:
  • An employment contract for a period of 8 years. If you complete your Ph.D. program successfully and there is formative space available after that, we will offer you permanent employment as an Assistant Professor. The effective date can be determined by mutual agreement.
  • The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts to €3,226 (scale 10) per month during the first year and increases to €5,090 (scale 10) per year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile Ph.D/Lecturer (Docent 4/Onderzoeker 4) is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

We also offer you attractive fringe benefits and arrangements. 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
  • hybrid working enables a good work-life balance
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance);


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Faculty of Law
At the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam’s Faculty of Law we train lawyers and criminologists to develop sharp critical minds, with a strong focus on the societal relevance of law. We offer Bachelor’s programmes in four main fields: Law, Notarial Law, Law in Society and Criminology. In addition, we offer an extensive range of Master’s programmes as well as contract education (for non-student visitors). Much of our research is both international and multidisciplinary in character.

Our teaching and research embody the values of cooperation and diversity. We encourage each other to view problems from different perspectives, to think critically, develop a broader mind and arrive at creative legal solutions together.

Are you interested in joining the Faculty of Law? You will work in an active and inspiring academic environment. Together with your colleagues, you will contribute to the excellence of teaching and research in a pleasant and collegial working environment. You will join over 400 staff members responsible for a student body of 4,500.

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 the VU and over 30,000 students attend academic education.

Diversity is the driving force of the VU. The 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.

Relatively many of the students at the Faculty of Law are first-generation students, often from a migration background. We are convinced that diversity in all its aspects can enrich us. We would like to do more to promote that. For example, we aim to let the composition of our staff reflect our student population more. Do you have a nonwestern migration background? Then we expressly invite you to apply.


  • PhD; Lecturer
  • Law
  • €3226—€5090 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3831


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

Learn more about this employer


De Boelelaan 1077, 1081HV, Amsterdam

View on Google Maps

Interessant voor jou