PhD position Synergies & Trade-offs between the Impacts of Land Use on Sustainable Development Goals

Utrecht University

Utrecht, Netherlands 🇳🇱

The Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University invites applications for a PhD position on sustainable land use. The PhD candidate will work within two of the main research sections of the Copernicus Institute: Energy & Resources and Environmental Sciences at the core of Sustainable land.

How we use our land is key for meeting many Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as SDG1-no poverty; SDG2-Zero hunger; SDG6-Clean water and sanitation, SDG-7 Affordable and Clean Energy, SDG-13 Climate action and SDG-15 Life on Land. While the demand for food, feed, fibre energy as well as land-based negative emissions (i.e. afforestation, reforestation and bioenergy) is projected to increase, climate change will likely reduce the ability of land to provide these ecosystem services. Therefore, land use strategies increasingly require to reconcile often conflicting demands. The impacts of land use, and therefore the synergies and trade-offs between sustainability objectives depend on the local context which varies over space and time.

This PhD project will focus on the synergies and trade-offs between impacts of national land-use strategies on various SDGs. In this project you will spatially explicitly quantify the environmental impacts of land-use change scenarios (e.g. Biodiversity, water and climate) and assess the synergies and trade-offs between them. You will develop an integrated interdisciplinary and generally applicable approach to map synergies and trade-offs between SDGs for low and middle income as well as high income countries that you will test on case study countries such as Brazil, South Africa and the Netherlands. You will work in a highly interdisciplinarity and international research environment.

We are seeking an outstanding and a highly motivated candidate with a deep interest in land use and sustainability. We are especially interested in interdisciplinary scholars with strong modelling and programming skills.

We gladly receive applications from candidates who:

  • have a MSc in Physical Geography, Environmental Sciences or a related field;
  • have strong affinity with sustainability and land use;
  • have strong programming and modelling skills;
  • have experience with GIS;
  • have excellent communication skills;
  • have proficiency in English;
  • enjoy working in an interdisciplinary and international environment;
  • are willing to travel to case study countries and collaborate with local experts.

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, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.

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 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 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. They do this by developing excellent and relevant knowledge and by educating change agents of the future. They collaborate with citizens, politicians, policy-makers, NGOs and firms to learn from each other and influence decision-making. They work in interdisciplinary teams and have organised their research around three cross-topical themes and five sustainability challenges. The themes, governance, modelling and transitions, represent Utrecht University’s 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: Dr. Floor van der Hilst (Associate Professor), via or (030) 253 6709.

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.

Reageren uiterlijk





You ad could be here!