PhD position: Water and health in refugee and displacement settlements


Delft, , NL

Deltares and UNU-MERIT have a joint position for a highly motivated PhD candidate on the subject of water and health in refugee and displacement settlements. Are you ready to join our team? 

Job description
Your main objective is to advance knowledge on new methods and tools to address the interlinkages between water and health within and outside the refugee and displacement settlements. In particular, you will investigate disease risks and health benefits of water and sanitation services and propose options to address these. Importance will be given to inclusive interventions that boost social cohesion between refugees and internally displaced people and the hosting population.

The last decennia’s (geo)political instability and long-term conflicts combined with poverty, high population growth and climate change provide for a dangerous cocktail causing humanitarian crises to become more complex, to last longer (almost ten years on average) and to affect more people. The increasing and record high numbers of individuals being forcibly displaced as a result – over 70 million – are amongst the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups faced with severe barriers to access basic water supply and sanitation services. Moreover, they are often exposed to poor water quality, drought and flood conditions.

You will join the UNU-MERIT PhD program on Innovation, Economics and Governance for Development and spend part of the research time at Deltares in Utrecht and in the field collaborating with United Nations and governmental agencies, and other universities.

Function description

  • Carry out cutting edge academic research within an international team of engaged researchers and experts from UNU-MERIT and Deltares;
  • Publish international journal articles resulting in a PhD thesis;
  • Participate in and present at international scientific and policy meetings and events to report research findings and contribute to dissemination activities.

Job qualifications

  • A master’s degree from a relevant academic field, including water resources management, hydrology, governance, migration and/or refugee studies, humanitarian studies, or other related topics;
  • Solid knowledge of mathematics and statistics, which is measured by reviewing the content and level of previous studies and/or working experience;
  • Proficiency in English, with a minimum level of 600 PBT / 240 CBT / 100 IBT for the TOEFL or 7.0 for the IELTS (native speakers of English and students who received their Bachelor’s or Master’s education in English are exempt). Maastricht University’s TOEFL code is 7102.
  • Excellent writing skills;
  • Team work spirit and preferably experience in working in international teams;
  • Preferably, you have experience with computer modeling and simulation;
  • Knowledge and field experience in refugee or displacement settlements, and water security in fragile states and hosting countries is an asset.

The expectation is to start by 1 September 2020. The initial appointment will be for a period of 1 year. After positive evaluation, the appointment will be extended for another 3 years. You will receive a UNU Fellowship and the tuition fees for the program will be waived.

Are you interested in this job and do you fit the job qualifications? Apply directly by sending a PDF attachment with a cover letter clarifying your motivation and eligibility for this position, and a detailed CV (including list of publications if available). Applications can be sent to [email protected] before 31 July 2020.

About United Nations University UNU‐MERIT
UNU-MERIT is a research and training institute of United Nations University (UNU) based in the south of the Netherlands, which collaborates closely with Maastricht University. The institute’s research mission is to provide new insights into the economic, social and political aspects of growth and development in local and international contexts. Its research and training programs address a broad range of questions including the economics of technology and innovation, multi-level governance, intellectual property protection, social protection policy, knowledge creation and diffusion, and migration.

The UNU‐MERIT PhD Program
The UNU‐MERIT PhD Program on Innovation, Economics and Governance for Development is offered by the United Nations University – Maastricht Economic and social Research institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT). The program provides advanced training in the knowledge and skills most relevant to the economics of technology, migration and innovation, and to governance, social protection and public policy analysis. During their first year, PhD fellows complete a basic, compulsory training program conducted by leading scholars of the host and partner universities. These courses are taught in Maastricht and spread across two semesters. Taught entirely in English, this is an annual Maastricht-based program which starts on 1 September. At the end of the program, the doctoral degree is awarded by Maastricht University upon successful defense of the thesis.





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