2 Fully funded PhD positions Climate Governance/ Climate Transparency

Wageningen University & Research
Wageningen, Netherlands
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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We are looking for

We are looking for two PhD students with a background in political science, international relations, global environmental governance or related field, to join an exciting new project on ‘The Transformative Potential of Transparency in Multilateral Climate Governance’ (TRANSGOV). The project examines whether and how transparency (particularly data-driven international reporting and review processes) stimulate more accountable, ambitious and fair climate actions under 2015 Paris Agreement and beyond. TRANSGOV is funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

PhD1: Multilateral transparency processes: Analysing effects of country participation in multilateral climate transparency arrangements (global level)

The first PhD project focuses on the global level, and consists of meta-analysis and in-depth study of how countries are participating in reporting and review processes of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement. The project analyses what is “made visible” by country participation in climate transparency arrangements of the UNFCCC, and whether and how such participation enhances state-to-state accountability, mutual trust and/or individual and collective climate ambition. Each of these aims are assumed to be linked to greater levels of transparency. Our central question here is whether and how transparency generates such transformative effects in climate governance. The project will operationalize these desired outcomes (accountability, trust and ambition) and examine whether and how they are linked to greater levels of climate transparency. Following a meta-analysis of the varying extent to which countries are participating in pre-Paris and Paris transparency arrangements, the project will focus in on a sub-set of 20 countries to address the main question, using both quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis (interviews, surveys, meta-analysis, large n-data analysis). 

   Specific requirements for this position: In addition to the general requirements specified below for both PhD positions, for this position (PhD1): an interest in or experience with handling large volumes of data (such as country reports) is desirable. Experience with coding and quantitative analysis is a plus. 

PhD2: National case studies: Analysing effects of participation in climate transparency arrangements (national-level) 

This project analyses and explains national-level effects of participation of countries in international climate transparency arrangements. It examines the consequences for climate policy action in a national context from participating in international climate transparency arrangements, with case studies of Australia, India, the Netherlands, and South Africa. The central aim is to understand how participation in multilateral reporting and review processes impacts upon national-level, domestic ‘measuring, reporting and verification’ (MRV) infrastructures, national climate actions and voluntary multilateral climate commitments. Through in-depth fieldwork in the four case study countries, as well as semi-structured interviews, primary and secondary document analysis, and national-level knowledge co-generation workshops, this sub-project will comparatively analyse the consequences for national climate actions arising from participation in international climate transparency systems.

   Specific requirements for this position: In addition to the general requirements specified below for both PhD positions, for this position (PhD2): Interest in national-level field work in the case study countries; Prior experience with or interest in comparative national-level analysis; and use of mixed research methods. Study/work experience in any of the case study countries is a plus. 

We ask

For both positions, we ask

  • A Master’s degree in political science, international relations, environmental policy or related field
  • Knowledge of, or interest in, national/international climate governance and policy
  • Experience with qualitative and mixed research design and methodologies
  • Demonstrated ability to undertake and successfully conclude an independent research project (such as a Master’s thesis).
  • Willingness to travel and carry out international fieldwork as part of project activities
  • Excellent communication and social skills
  • A strong team player willing to contribute to the wider interests of the project and the group
  • Excellent writing and communicating skills in English
  • Publications in academic or policy outlets are a plus
  • Prior work experience in international climate policy settings or study/work experience in any of the case study countries is an added benefit
  • Experience with or enthusiasm for helping to maintain a vibrant social media presence for the project
  • Proficiency test in the English language (only for candidates from non-Anglophone countries and applicants who have not completed their higher education with English language instruction). Wageningen University has the following admission criteria for PhD students: English proficiency of 6.5 for IELTS, with a minimum of 6.0 for each academic module. You also need an acceptance of the candidate by the supervisors and the equivalent of a Dutch MSc degree.
  • For further information on the specific application criteria see: http://www.wageningenuniversity.nl/UK/informationfor/PhD+programmes/Application/

This position requires an excellent English language proficiency (a mininum of CEFR C1 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page.

Please note: The working language in the Department and in the project is English.

We offer

A challenging work environment, and the opportunity to be part of a timely and highly relevant research project, while expanding own networks and knowledge. 

We offer a 4-years fully funded PhD study. The candidate will be employed by Wageningen University for the duration of the study. In principle, this is a 48-month PhD position. We offer you a temporary contract for 18 months, which will be extended with 30 months if you perform well. Salary will increase from € 2.325 gross per month in the first year up to € 2.972 in the last year, based on a full-time appointment (38 hours a week).  

In addition, we offer:
•    8% holiday allowance;
•    a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
•    excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
•    flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible;
•    excellent pension plan through ABP;
•    232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
•    a flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave;
•    a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
•    a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented;
•    use the sports facilities on campus.

Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for own initiative in a learning environment.
We offer a versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

More information

Additional information about the project: TRANSGOV will advance scholarly understanding of the transformative potential of novel forms of climate transparency, given ever greater quantities of climate data being generated by state and non-state actors, and given assumptions that such transparency furthers accountability, trust and climate ambition. TRANSGOV research will also be highly policy relevant, feeding research results into ongoing transparency and reporting-and-review processes of the Paris Agreement. The project will also assess emerging and potentially novel interfaces between public (governmental) climate transparency and private disclosure initiatives, and the consequences of using blockchain and other novel digital means to further climate transparency.

The TRANSGOV core team, led by project leader, Dr. Aarti Gupta, will be based at the Environmental Policy Group at Wageningen University but will liaise with the project’s international network of climate policy researchers, as well as partners and advisors in four case-study countries.

Your application should include:

  1. Cover letter motivating your interest and suitability to be considered for one or both of these positions (please clearly indicate any preference for PhD1 (global) or PhD2 (national) in the heading of your letter).
  2. Curriculum vitae. Please include here names and contact details for two referees.

Short-listed candidates to be invited for an interview will be requested to provide academic transcripts, two letters of recommendation and a writing sample. Please do not attach these materials at this time.

Please upload your cover letter and CV online at www.jobsat.wur.nl by November 10, 2019. You will receive an automatic e-mail confirmation within 24 hours.

The cover letter can be addressed Dr. Aarti Gupta. You can also contact Dr. Gupta for additional information about this position (aarti.gupta@wur.nl). Note: Please do not use this email address to apply for this position. Only applications uploaded online can be taken into consideration.

Important dates

  • Deadline for application: 10 November 2019
  • Interviews: 21-22 November 2019
  • Intended starting date: 15 January 2020 (with some flexibility possible)

We are

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialised research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With approximately 30 locations, 5,000 employees, and 10,000 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the unique approach of Wageningen.

For further information about working at Wageningen University & Research, take a look at the special career site.

The Environmental Policy Group in Department of Social Sciences at Wageningen University has an internationally recognised reputation in the area of environmental social science and policy research and education. Our 14 tenured and educational staff, 6 Postdocs and over 45 PhD students focus on the social and political science of environmental transformations. The research of the group has a strong international orientation, being conducted at both the global level as well as in number of countries across Europe, Africa and Asia. The staff profile of the group is also international, with more than 12 nationalities employed. For further details see www.wageningenur.nl/enp

We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their race, sex, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation or age.