PhD Position on Integrated Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) (0.8 - 1.0 FTE)

Uren per week: 
28 tot 40
Faculteit of dienst: 
Faculteit Geowetenschappen
GEO / Dept SD
Uiterlijk reageren op: 


The Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University is looking for an enthusiastic and ambitious colleague to further strengthen its group with a specific focus on integrated assessment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR).

The world agreed in 2015 to limit the increase of the global mean temperature to well below 2 and preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius. Model-based scenario analysis has shown that achieving these goals not only requires deep mitigation of fossil fuel and land-use related emissions, but most likely also removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. Several techniques (such as afforestation, bio-energy with CCS, direct air capture and mineralisation) exist to do this, but most have a limited potential and may lead to significant sustainability challenges (such as energy and land use). A systematic analysis of the various options is urgently needed to allow policymakers to formulate strategies that rely on some use of CDR, minimizing the potential consequences.

In the UPTAKE project, financed by the Horizon Europe research programme of the European Union, Utrecht University will collaborate with other European research institutes in assessing different CDR options in terms of potential, costs, consequences for other sustainable development challenges, legal and institutional issues and societal support. The contribution of Utrecht University concentrates mostly on the further development and use of the IMAGE model to assess the potential and use of different CDR options, and their possible consequences. The PhD candidate is expected to contribute to this research as part of the IMAGE research team (based at PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and Utrecht University).


The candidate is expected to contribute to the UPTAKE project. The position will allow the candidate to write a PhD thesis. The candidate is expected to have an affinity with quantitative analysis of global environmental problems. This means that the candidate would have a background in either natural sciences or economics. We gladly receive applications from candidates who:

  • have a MSc in a relevant field in environmental or natural sciences;
  • have a clear understanding of the climate change problem;
  • have a clear interest in quantitative analysis and systems thinking;
  • have programming skills, preferably in Python;
  • can demonstrate English language proficiency and are interested in publishing scientific articles;
  • work well as part of a team.


You will be offered a temporary position (0.8 - 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, professional development, (partly paid) parental leave, sports and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.

Over de organisatie

Sharing science, shaping tomorrow. 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 Pathways to Sustainability. You can watch the Utrecht University Campus Tour to get an impression of our university.

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. It is located at Utrecht Science Park near the historical centre of Utrecht.

The research will be carried out within the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University. This institute aims to have a positive impact on the transition to a sustainable society. We do this by developing excellent and relevant knowledge and by educating change agents of the future. We collaborate with citizens, politicians, policy-makers, NGOs and firms to learn from each other and influence decision-making. We work in interdisciplinary teams and have organised our research around three cross-topical themes and five sustainability challenges. The themes, governance, modelling and transitions, represent our signature and cover central aspects of sustainability research and policy. The five topical sustainability challenges, circular economy, sustainable energy, sustainable food, sustainable land and sustainable water, highlight our research strengths.

Aanvullende informatie

For more information about this position, please contact Professor Detlef van Vuuren (Professor of Integrated Assessment of Global Environmental Change) at


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.

Uiterlijk reageren op 22 juni 2023.