PhD Candidate in Financing Climate Resilient Water Utilities

IHE Delft Institute for Water Education

Delft, Netherlands 🇳🇱

Department information

Description of the project and the role of the PhD candidate:

IHE Delft Institute for Water Education seeks a PhD research candidate to conduct research related to the financing of climate resilience for water utilities, as part of a recently awarded research project entitled ” Financing Transformative Change to Climate Resilient Water Utilities” (FCRWU). The FRCWU project is a collaborative project between IHE Delft, VEI Dutch Water Operators, the Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company (NAWASSCO) and the Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA).

The PhD candidate will be hosted by the Water Governance Department of IHE Delft. Given the interdisciplinary nature of this research the candidate will have two promotors at IHE Delft (Water Services Governance and Water Supply Engineering) and a co-promotor from VEI Dutch Water Operators. The PhD Candidate will also be registered at the University of Amsterdam.

The PhD project on which the candidate will be working focuses on the ability of water utilities to become climate resilient. Although most water utilities are aware of the need to become climate resilient, actually becoming climate resilient is a challenge, particularly in developing countries. Questions that the PhD candidate will engage with include:

  1. What is required (infrastructure, capacity) for a water utility to transform to a climate resilient utility that is able to simultaneously ensure universal service coverage?
  2. Within the existing water system and socio-political environment what possibilities do water utilities have to transform to a more climate resilient and socially inclusive water system and what possibilities exist for this transformation to be financed and financially sustained
  3. What are community/policy maker perspectives of the transition to climate resilience and their (financial) contribution to this transition?

The PhD researcher will particularly work with the Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company (NAWASSCO) and the Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA) to investigate these questions.

The expected starting date is 1 January 2024.


  • Your research will contribute to understanding the transformation of water utilities to become climate resilient, with a specific focus on financing this transformation;
  • The PhD candidate will contribute to deliverables of the FRCWU project related to the PhD research of the candidate;
  • The PhD candidate will participate in FRCWU project meetings and in learning activities related to the Water and Development Partnership Programme, which funds this project;
  • The PhD candidate will publish the obtained results in peer reviewed journals which will contribute to your PhD thesis;
  • The PhD candidate will present the project results at national and international conferences and symposia;
  • The PhD candidate will mentor MSc theses which are linked to their PhD research;
  • The PhD candidate will write and successfully defend a PhD thesis.


  • Following the requirements of the funding entity (the Water and Development Partnership Programme) the candidate must originate from a developing country. With equal suitability, preference is given to a woman;
  • A Master’s or corresponding degree related to finance;
  • The candidate is to have a demonstrable keen interest in water service provision and climate resilience;
  • The case studies (Nakuru and Addis Ababa) will require to candidate to undertake fieldwork in Kenya and Ethiopia;
  • The candidate should be proficient in English (written and spoken) and have demonstrated skill in independently writing academic texts in English;
  • Willingness and experience to mentor master theses of MSc students at IHE Delft and/or other universities and have a collaborative attitude;
  • Values a multi-cultural work environment and is able to have an inclusive and non-hierarchical attitude in a team.

Terms of employment

This is a position for 48 months (4 years), (38 hours per week), with the expectation that the candidate will submit and successfully defend the PhD thesis within this period. The candidate will be stationed in Delft, the Netherlands. Employment at IHE Delft is according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (scale P). The appointment implies entry into the Netherlands’ Civil Service Pension Fund (ABP).

The initial contract is for 18 months. Within the first year a go/no-go decision will be made based on a detailed PhD research proposal to be developed by the candidate, which will determine whether or not the contract will be extended.

The expected start date of the position is January 1 2024.

Information and application

Applications (in English) should respond specifically to the requirements, and can be sent by 1 November 2023 including curriculum vitae, motivation letter and the names and contact details of two contactable referees. 

IHE Delft follows an open procedure of recruitment, which respects diversity and provides equal opportunity to applicants of all backgrounds.

Please see for more information about the PhD programme and requirements: PhD Programme | IHE Delft Institute for Water Education (

Please use the application form via the ”apply” button, applications via email will not be taken into consideration.

Vacancy contact person

Contact person: Klaas Schwartz

Work phone no.: +31 15 215 2357

Work e-mail:

Publication date

Publication date: 15 september 2023 14:41





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