PhD position in co-governance for heat stress adaptation (1.0 FTE)

Hours per week: 
36 to 40
Faculty: 
Faculty of Geosciences
Department: 
GEO / Dept SD
Application deadline: 

Job description

Utrecht University has opened a new full-time four-year position for a doctoral (PhD) researcher in the field of co-governance for heat stress adaptation strategies. The doctoral researcher will become part of a new 4 year research project, BEAT THE HEAT, led by Dr. Heleen Mees and Dr. Bishawjit Mallick. 

The combined effects of climate change and the urban heat island are causing heat stress, morbidity, and excess mortality in cities, particularly among vulnerable citizen groups in socially deprived neighbourhoods. Vulnerable citizens have a) higher exposure to heat (poor housing, limited green space); b) increased sensitivity to heat (older adults and children, people with disability or chronic illness); and/or c) limited coping capacities (poor physical/mental health, no supportive network) . Climate change exacerbates existing inequalities among citizens and pushes vulnerable people into ‘heat poverty’ and ‘health poverty’ (on top of other disparities). Some communities have found ways to cope with ongoing heat and ways to adapt to future heat. However, we have a poor understanding of short-term coping and long-term adaptation strategies to beat heat poverty of different vulnerable groups. Furthermore, we have limited knowledge of how heat stress influences human (im)mobility, and how to govern for increased coping and adaptation capacities. 

BEAT THE HEAT aims to analyse the coping and adaptation capacities of different vulnerable groups in the neighbourhoods of Lunetten in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and Karail in Dhaka, Bangladesh. These sites are diverse, allowing us to examine a range of inequalities and coping capacities. Based on this comparative study, we will then co-develop a) a variety of local-led coping and adaptation strategies for heat stress taken by different vulnerable groups; and b) concrete action perspectives for local governments/NGOs for enhancing such capacities, and to have governance arrangements in place for those who cannot cope but want to stay (voluntary non-migration). 

The doctoral researcher will play a key role within the project by contributing data and new conceptual and empirical approaches in studying co-governance for beating the heat for vulnerable citizen groups. This entails doing a literature review on the concepts of climate resilience, livelihood resilience and coping capacities; conducting in-depth interviews and focus groups with citizen groups and local policy makers; organizing household surveys; and contributing to the co-creation workshops with NGOs, community leaders, citizens and policy makers. 

The doctoral researcher will work closely together under the supervision of Dr Mees and Dr Mallick and other promoters throughout the entire four-year period. The BEAT THE HEAT project adopts a team-based approach where the doctoral researcher has a key role and responsibility for helping to collaboratively deliver the project’s objectives. At the same time, you should be willing to bring your own conceptual and empirical innovation to the project in order to build your independent research skills and outlook. You will be well-supported through supervision, training courses, funding to attend conferences and workshops, and involvement in research networks, to ensure your success and develop your career trajectory. 10% of your time is reserved for some teaching duties.

Qualifications

We are looking for a colleague with the following qualifications:

  • master’s degree (or equivalent) in environmental social sciences, human geography, local /regional governance, or a related discipline;
  • theoretical knowledge of climate change adaptation governance and social justice;
  • awareness of own positionality in working with vulnerable groups – field work ethics/experiences in field work in vulnerable communities;
  • proficiency in Bengali language and in English; preferably also in Dutch;
  • strong qualitative (interviews) and quantitative skills (statistical models) with proven fieldwork experience;
  • strong communication and organizational skills;
  • willingness to travel internationally for fieldwork, conferences, training, and research exchange;
  • skills in organising workshops or seminars;
  • intellectual curiosity and motivation to address important real-world problems through rigorous and ambitious academic enquiry.

The PhD researcher is expected to obtain a doctoral degree from Utrecht University within four years, based on published articles in top-tier academic journals.

Offer

You will be offered a temporary position (1.0 FTE), initially for one year with an extension to a total of four years upon a 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 €2,541 in the first year and €3,247 in the fourth year of employment (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). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.

About the organisation

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 strategic 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 utilisation 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 organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The PhD researcher will be based in the Environmental Governance group of the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, and in the International Development Studies group of the Human Geography and Spatial Planning Department. The Environmental Governance group is a dynamic, ambitious and internationally leading team of over fifty social science Researchers with a focus on fundamental and policy-oriented research in environmental governance across local to global levels. The International Development Studies group is one of the leading development research group having multi-disciplinary backgrounds in development research, and investigates the societal challenges and transformation from an interdisciplinary perspective to further improve the well-being of the people and communities through solution-oriented participatory approaches.

PhD training programmes are provided by the Graduate School of the Faculty of Geosciences and, if required, other graduate schools at Utrecht University and beyond. The working language of the institute is English. Utrecht University is one of the leading research universities in Europe, with particular strengths in sustainability, climate change, and geography, among others. The doctoral researchers we are hiring will be able to develop their research at the interface of, and with the support of, key strategic themes of the university (“Pathways to Sustainability” and “Institutions for Open Societies”), opening up numerous opportunities for university-wide interaction.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact dr. Heleen Mees (Assistant Professor), via h.l.p.mees@uu.nl, or dr. Bishawjit Mallick (Associate Professor), via b.mallick@uu.nl.

Apply

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. 

To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation, via the ‘apply’ button.

Please submit the following documents in your application:

  • a motivation letter explaining your interest and suitability for the position;
  • a full curriculum vitae (CV), including the grade for your Master’s thesis and overall grade point average (or equivalent) of your Bachelor's and Master’s degrees;
  • names and contact details of 2-3 people who can act as references/referees. No reference letters are required at this stage. 

Interviews are expected to take place on April 17 and 18, 2023.

The intended starting date is September 1, 2023.

The application deadline is 31 March 2023.