PhD position NWA-ORC-programme Living on Soft Soils: Subsidence & Society: enhancing governance capacities for dealing with land subsidence (1.0 FTE) at Utrecht University

Positie: 
Onderwijs en onderzoek
Uren per week: 
36 tot 40
Faculteit of dienst: 
Faculteit Geowetenschappen
Afdeling: 
GEO / Dept SD
Uiterlijk reageren op: 
10 april 2020

Functie

Within the framework of the joint NWA-ORC-programme Living on Soft Soils: Subsidence & Society project of TUDelft, Wageningen University and Research, Deltares Research Institute, TNO, Wageningen Environmental Research and Utrecht University, Utrecht University is seeking a motivated PhD candidate to work on this collaborative research programme.

Project description

The threat of land subsidence, the knowledge gap on process-interplays causing it, and lacking mid- to long-term coping strategies, ask for an integrated research programme that addresses the issue of land subsidence in a holistic way, whereby insights about physical-chemical-biological system functioning, development, evaluation and implementation of measures as well as an assessment of their governance and legal implications co-evolve. The overall aim of this programme is to develop an integrative approach to achieve feasible, legitimate and sustainable solutions for managing the negative societal effects of land subsidence, connecting fundamental research on subsidence processes to socio-economic impacts of subsidence and to governance and legal framework design.

The programme consists of 4 scientific work packages:

WP1: Measuring and monitoring of land subsidence

WP2: Land subsidence mechanisms and associated greenhouse gas emissions

WP3: Impact analysis of land subsidence

WP4: Measures and governance approaches to cope with land subsidence

This project is funded by and contributes to the Dutch Research Agenda – Research along routes by consortia (NWA-ORC) aiming to stimulate research and innovation focused on the NWA routes, designed and implemented by interdisciplinary consortia spanning the entire knowledge chain, in which relevant social partners (Deltares Research Institute, TNO, NAM, Tauw BV, Sweco, Municipality of Gouda, Platform of Soft Soil Municipalities, Province of Utrecht, WDOD, HDSR, STOWA, Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom relations, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and Wageningen Environmental research) are also represented.

Work package 4 focuses on the identification of technical and economic measures to mitigate and adapt to subsidence as well as governance and legal strategies that facilitate their implementation. The objectives of WP4 are to:

  • identify suitable mitigation, adaptation and compensation measures;
  • develop economic and financial tools aiming at supporting parties to carry the costs of damage and/or implementation of measures;
  • provide recommendations for strengthening governance capacities for dealing with existing and new challenges (e.g. drought, salinization due to sea-level rise) in water management and spatial planning;
  • develop equitable and legitimate legal frameworks to effectively implement new strategies of dealing with subsidence. 

The threat of land subsidence, the knowledge gap on process-interplays causing it, and lacking mid- to long-term coping strategies, ask for an integrated research programme that addresses the issue of land subsidence in a holistic way, whereby insights about physical-chemical-biological system functioning, development, evaluation and implementation of measures as well as an assessment of their governance and legal implications co-evolve. The overall aim of this programme is to develop an integrative approach to achieve feasible, legitimate and sustainable solutions for managing the negative societal effects of land subsidence, connecting fundamental research on subsidence processes to socio-economic impacts of subsidence and to governance and legal framework design.

To contribute to this research programme, the Environmental Governance section at Utrecht University’s Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development is seeking a motivated PhD candidate for Work package 4.2 to work on the development of governance strategies for addressing land subsidence in an effective, equitable and legitimate way. You will assess the importance of different governance capacities for governing soil subsidence and provide recommendations on how these can be strengthened. The governance capacities relate to the dimensions of ‘knowing’ (e.g. increasing risk awareness and ensuring that usable information about the effects of measures is available); ‘wanting’ (including normative discussions of stakeholders on acceptability of risks, preferable types of measures and divisions of responsibilities); and ‘enabling’ (e.g. financial resources; implementing capacity). Part of your work will be to link insights about technical measures with insights about legal frameworks.

Profiel

This PhD project will carry out social scientific governance-oriented research. The research will combine theoretical and empirical research into the actual and necessary governance capacities for addressing land subsidence issues, with an empirical focus on the Dutch context. The ideal candidate possesses the following skills:

  • You have a background in a relevant social science discipline (environmental governance, public administration, human geography, spatial planning).
  • You have a demonstrable interest in studying governance practices and science-policy interactions related to wicked sustainable land use problems, including soil subsidence.
  • You are interested in doing cutting-edge policy-relevant scientific research, which you ideally demonstrate with relevant experience.
  • You are able to work independently, but also within the interdisciplinary project team.
  • You have excellent writing and verbal communication skills in English.
  • Due to the project’s empirical scope, we also require you to be proficient in Dutch.

The candidates are expected to publish the results in peer-reviewed papers. 

Up to 10% of your time will be dedicated to assisting in the BSc and MSc teaching programme of the Department of Sustainable Development. A personalized training programme will be set up upon recruitment, which will reflect your training needs and career objectives.

Aanbod

We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE), initially for one year with extension to four years in total 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 €2,325 and €2,972 (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, the choice for a good balance between work and private (a good arrangement for leave, among other things), possibilities for development and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.

Over de organisatie

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 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 Copernicus Institute is part of the Faculty of Geosciences. The Copernicus Institute has been evaluated in a 2014 international review as the highest ranked research institute in environmental sciences in the Netherlands. Since then, the institute has intensified its efforts in maintaining its leading position, among others by investing in several new international faculty appointments and by developing new, internationally oriented teaching programmes. The Environmental Governance group within the Copernicus Institute is a vibrant international team of about 50 researchers at Utrecht University which has Water and Climate Governance as one of its focus areas.

Aanvullende informatie

More information can be obtained from Prof. Peter Driessen (p.driessen@uu.nl) or Dr. Dries Hegger (d.l.t.hegger@uu.nl).

Solliciteren

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

Our Department has committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workforce, and we strongly encourage women to apply. 

  • A letter of application which describes your motivation and qualifications;
  • your curriculum vitae and a list of publications;
  • and the names and addresses of two referees

should be submitted via the application button below. 

We are looking forward to receiving your application and meeting you!

Uiterlijk reageren op 10 april 2020.