PhD Position Governance and Law - Legal Dimensions of Water Conflicts in Thirsty Cities

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)
Leipzig, Germany
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)
Languages Required: 


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The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) with its 1,100 employees has gained an excellent reputation as an international competence centre for environmental sciences. We are part of the largest scientific organisation in Germany, the Helmholtz association. Our mission: Our research seeks to find a balance between social development and the long-term protection of our natural resources.

The UFZ will establish a Graduate School within its Research Unit “Environment and Society” on the topic: “Thirsty Cities: Pathways for Water-Resilient Urban Transformation and Agricultural Adaptation.” The Graduate School consists of engaged PhD-researchers who will participate in a structured training-program that facilitates integration and exchange among the different projects involved as well as within the larger UFZ research context. The projects will investigate possible pathways to make cities and adjacent rural areas more resilient to future water scarcity. Within this framework the Department for Environmental & Planning Law is now offering a

PhD Position Governance and Law - Legal Dimensions of Water Conflicts in Thirsty Cities

Part-time 65% (25,35 h per week), limited to 3 years

Your tasks:

The candidate will prepare a legal dissertation within the School’s thematic scope. The dissertation should particularly explore water scarcity conflicts between different users relying on and competing over the same sources (consumers of drinking water, farmers, industry etc.), including both issues between users located inside and outside cities, i.e. in adjacent rural areas. Key results should also be published in one or two English articles.


  • Review state of research on water scarcity issues between urban and rural areas,
  • Explore two case studies in Germany (engage with local communities and administrations)
  • Assess the existing legal framework
  • Identify legislative and administrative demands
  • Publication of results and integration into the project synthesis
  • Write and publish doctoral thesis
  • Publish one or two (joint) articles of key results

Your profile:

  • First German legal state exam / comparable master degree (above average results)
  • Advanced knowledge of environmental law
  • Willingness to interview experts and stakeholders
  • Motivation to work in an interdisciplinary environment
  • Interest to contribute to interdisciplinary publications
  • Sample of professional writing (seminar essay, publication, or similar)
  • Excellent German and English language skills

We offer:

  • Top level interdisciplinary research at a research centre which enjoys an excellent reputation within Germany as well as internationally
  • Excellent technical facilities
  • Work in inter-disciplinary and multinational teams
  • Excellent links to national and international research networks
  • Support and optimal training courses by our graduate school (HIGRADE)
  • Remuneration in accordance with the TVöD public-sector pay grade up to 13