2 Promovendus: Water Conflict, Cooperation and Diplomacy

IHE Delft Institute for Water Education
Delft, 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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Around the world, countries share rivers, lakes and groundwater. Decisions about how to share these waters across borders – in terms of quantity, timing, and quality - are intrinsically political in nature. Even more so as pressures on water resources, such as economic growth and climate change, multiply claims on water and increase competition. IHE Delft envisions a world where transboundary water resources are protected and used in a sustainable (with no significant harm to environment and society), equitable (with fair distribution of water, knowledge, voice and authority) and peaceful (with constructive conflict management and transformation) way for people and ecosystems.

IHE Delft’s thematic program on water conflict, cooperation and diplomacy focuses on seven areas: four core pillars of water cooperation - transboundary institutions, international and national water law, data and knowledge management, and dispute resolution mechanisms – and three cross-cutting underpinnings – practices of water diplomacy, causes and dynamics of transboundary water interaction, and linkages between water and the broader political context. IHE Delft defines water diplomacy as the facilitation of cooperation between states on shared water resources and the prevention and resolution of water related conflicts among them. In this understanding, water diplomacy is mostly about the process of establishing joint water governance arrangements to realize equitable and sustainable outcomes. IHE Delft has years of experience in developing and implementing activities related to transboundary water cooperation and water diplomacy. They range from education to building capacity on institutional arrangements and legal frameworks to negotiation training or supporting joint fact finding.

As part of the Water Conflict, Cooperation and Diplomacy team within the Department of Water Governance, you will be contributing to the team’s work on water conflict and cooperation, water diplomacy, water law and other related topics. This includes the translation of research outputs and new analytical insights into educational and training activities as well as capacity development and institutional strengthening projects (such as the DUPC Water Diplomacy project or the Water, Peace and Security (WPS) partnership). This work will be done in collaboration with colleagues at IHE Delft and partner institutes in the Netherlands and around the world. You will also develop your own PhD research project and implement it with the support of IHE colleagues (the university with which the PhD candidate will cooperation will depend on the exact topic chosen, but can include TU Delft, the University of Amsterdam, etc.).


  • The successful candidate will develop and implement a PhD research project on a relevant topic relating to IHE’s key research pillars, themes and projects on water conflict, cooperation and diplomacy detailed above. Through their PhD research, the candidates will contribute to IHE’s three core areas – education, research and innovation, and institutional strengthening.

The PhD research will be encouraged to inform, align with, or integrate the following activities:

  • Conduct research on topics relating to transboundary water conflicts, institutions and practices of transboundary water cooperation and diplomacy;
  • Contribute to relevant modules within IHE’s curriculum as well as to short courses and tailor-made trainings;
  • Assist in the coordination of the master program “Water Cooperation and Diplomacy”, a joint program with Oregon State University (US) and the University of Peace (Costa Rica);
  • Support the Water, Peace and Security (WPS) partnership implementation through programmatic and research support, with a particular focus on WPS’ capacity development activities;
  • As a part of PhD research data collection and field research support the implementation of activities under IHE’s DUPC 2 Water Diplomacy project (such as workshops and trainings for academics and practitioners, activities under the Universities’ Partnership for Water Cooperation and Diplomacy);
  • Support the development of IHE’s water conflict, cooperation and diplomacy portfolio, in collaboration with partners in the Netherlands and abroad.


The successful candidate:

  • Hold a Master’s Degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline, such as political science, international relations, law, sociology, geography, environmental sciences, water resources management or related disciplines;
  • Can communicate with both academic and practitioners’ communities and bridge between them, while being familiar with relevant current debates in both communities;
  • Has proven experience in conducting interdisciplinary research on water conflict, cooperation and diplomacy and an interest in furthering this research through a PhD;
  • Has excellent written and oral communication skills in English as well as good command of at least one additional language (in particular French, Spanish, Arabic or Russian is highly desirable);
  • Is a team player committed to contributing to excellent outcomes for the entire team in a collaborative manner;
  • Has demonstrable experience of and affinity to working in and with the Global South;
  • Is motivated and able to work in a multicultural and inter-disciplinary academic environment.

Terms of employment

This position is a temporary position with an initial contract of 18 months, followed by a go/no decision made on the progress on the candidate, which will determine whether or not the contract will be extended. The position is based in Delft, The Netherlands. A competitive salary is offered depending on qualifications and experience and in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities (VSNU). Candidates should be prepared to carry out short-term missions abroad.

Information and application

Additional information can be obtained from Dr. Susanne Schmeier,

Applications (in English), should respond specifically to the requirements, and can be sent until 7 November 2020 including curriculum vitae, a motivation letter, a short PhD topic proposal (outlining the topic, its relevance for research as well as IHE’s work and proposed research questions and methodology) and the names and contact details of two contactable referees (as one PDF file with your family name as the filename), to IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, attn. Human Resource Management (E: ), PO Box 3015, 2601 DA Delft, The Netherlands, stating vacancy-number 20-WG-02.