PhD candidate 'The Governance of Green and Atmospheric Water in Degrading Environments'

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Faculty of Science

Publication date
6 August 2018
Level of education
Master's degree
Salary indication
€2,266 to €2,897 gross per month
Closing date
4 September 2018
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG) and the Faculty of Science (FNWI) have a PhD position.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG) is the largest social-science educational and research institution in the Netherlands. The Faculty serves around 9,000 students in numerous Bachelor's and Master's programs in Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Communication Science, Psychology, Human Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, International Development Studies and Educational Sciences. The academic staff is employed in education as well as research. There are over 1,200 employees at the Faculty, located in a number of buildings in the center of Amsterdam. The Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies is one of the six Departments in the FMG. Research and education are carried out by special institutes. The Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) is responsible for research in the social sciences. The College of Social Sciences (CSS) and the Graduate School of Social Sciences (GSSS) are responsible for undergraduate and graduate teaching programs in the social sciences. Research and teaching in the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies is organized in four thematic programme groups: Governance and Inclusive Development (GID), Geographies of Globalizations (GOG), Urban Geographies (UG) and Urban Planning (UP). This vacancy will be partly at the programme group Governance and Inclusive Development.

The Faculty of Science (FNWI) serves around 6.500 students and 1.500 employees, dispersed over 8 research institutes. The Science faculty houses 11 bachelor programs and 19 master programs in the fields of Sciences, Informatics and Life and Earth Sciences. The Science research will be embedded in the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), which is one of the eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. IBED was founded in 2000 by merging research groups with expertise in ecology, physical geography, environmental microbiology and environmental chemistry. The research at IBED aims to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities. At its core lies an integrated systems approach to study biodiversity, ecosystems and the environment. IBED adopts this systems approach to ecosystems, addressing abiotic (soil and water quality) and biotic factors (presence, population dynamics and functioning of plants, animals, microbes), and the interplay between these ecosystem components. The IBED vision includes that research encompasses experimental and theoretical approaches at a wide variety of temporal and spatial scales, i.e. from microbes and individual behaviour to patterns and processes occurring at landscape scale.

Project description

The project will focus on the following key question:

How can we anticipate the key socio-ecological challenges associated with green and atmospheric water and its relation to land degradation and design key elements of a proactive multi-level water governance system?

The research is closely related to global challenges as formulated by the UN ‘s Sustainable Development Goals agenda.

The study will cover a multi-scalar and interdisciplinary approach to study:

a)  How to govern green water and its feedback relationships with vegetation patterns across different spatial and temporal scales to mitigate degradation in dryland areas at the local to regional level;

b)  Interactions between human land use activity and climate change through the lens of green and atmospheric water and how water circulation is affected by climate change and geo-engineering and which impacts these may have on water governance and the 

c)  Design of governance strategies which look at how existing water governance is organized and the extent to which it actually covers green and atmospheric water; the specific characteristics of green and atmospheric water and how best one can govern these in order to promote sustainable and equitable water governance. This may lead to an examination of climate change governance as well and the ways in which to climate proof green and atmospheric water governance.


You are primarily expected to carry out scientific research within the proposed research theme.

You must have a Master’s degree and a Master’s thesis which has achieved a high score. You must also have a clear affinity with water studies and proficiency in the English language.

From the natural science perspective, you must have affinity with natural sciences, especially in relation to water and landscape studies and have experience with a quantitative approach towards environmental processes.

From the social science perspective, we expect you to have affinity with law, political science, politics or geography. You must be capable of high quality qualitative analysis including an ability to review the literature, apply a range of theoretical frameworks, analyse underlying discourses, undertake content analysis of legal and policy documents, and have affinity with conducting case studies. You must demonstrate some knowledge of local through to global governance processes. Above all we expect you to be creative and innovative. In order to be able to conduct an inter-disciplinary analysis, you must be able to weave the different disciplines together in order to make a more sophisticated analysis.

Furthermore you should have clear affinity with both water management and governance and motivation to work in an interdisciplinary research field at the interface of Human and Physical Geography and Ecology and preferably has experience in quantitative and qualitative approaches.

We expect you to have a completed master in:

1)  environmental Sciences, Physical Geography , Hydrology or related Natural Sciences; 

2)  in Human Geography, Urban Studies, Demography or related Social Sciences; or

3)  a completed Interdisciplinary Master at the interface of the above mentioned fields of Natural and Social sciences.

You should have expertise and experience in:

  • social and spatial analysis techniques;
  • computational science, e.g. modelling;
  • handling large datasets;
  • working in interdisciplinary environments;
  • excellent writing and verbal skills in English.

Proficiency in Dutch is a plus.

As this positions concerns an interdisciplinary research project, you should be willing to acquire additional knowledge and expertise in case some of the above mentioned expertise or research fields is missing.

Further information

For more information about this position, please contact:


The appointment is initially for a period of one year. Contingent on satisfactory performance it will thereafter be extended by a maximum of three years leading to the completion of a PhD thesis. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable.

Job application

The UvA is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value a spirit of enquiry and endurance, provide the space to keep asking questions and cherish a diverse atmosphere of curiosity and creativity.

You may only apply by email. Your application should include a motivation letter and full CV.

You should send both documents as a single pdf email attachment to Mrs. Barbara Lawa. Please mention ‘PhD candidate 'The Governance of Green and Atmospheric Water in Degrading Environments' and reference number 18-480 in the subject line. The deadline for applications is 4 September 2018. Please note that, due to the summer holidays, it is not possible to send a confirmation of receipt before 4 September 2018. LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam