PhD Position: Supporting Climate Resilient Development Pathways for European Cities


Delft, Netherlands

Cities are ‘hot spots’ for climate vulnerability and have been a central focus of Europe’s climate change mitigation and adaptation agenda. However, real progress has been limited by lack of implementation of plans and a largely sectoral approach to climate action, in which plans for climate mitigation and adaptation and urban development are developed separately. Climate Resilient Development Pathways (CRDP) are proposed as a way to integrate climate adaptation and mitigation with long-term sustainable (urban) development. So far, CRDPs remain largely theoretical and are hardly present in practice.

REACHOUT is a large European funded project that aims to support cities build resilience to climate change by developing decision relevant information and tools for CRDPs in six City Hubs, including Cork (Ireland), Milan (Italy), Athens (Greece), Gdynia (Poland), Logroño (Spain), Lillestrom (Norway) and Amsterdam (the Netherlands). The project will improve links between local and global data and planning support tools for decision makers and urban stakeholders. The REACHOUT project is funded by the EU Green Deal and is a multidisciplinary and international consortium of researchers and practitioners across Europe, including the six cities where climate services will be developed and used. This position actively engages with the cities and their stakeholders, including local governments, citizens and the private sector.

This PhD research will focus on how to support climate resilient development pathways for cities through decision relevant data and tools. The first phase of work will be a needs assessment of the partner cities, followed by a focus on:

  • How to determine and use co-benefits, synergies and tradeoffs to develop CRDPs; and
  • How long-term adaptation needs can be used to inform adaptation and development decisions, considering the synergies and tradeoffs over time and space.

Your duties
As a PhD researcher in this project you will be based at Deltares, with supervision also at Utrecht University. Your supervisory team will be led by Associate Professor Dr. Marjolijn Haasnoot (Deltares and Utrecht University) and Dr. Sadie McEvoy (Deltares) with senior researchers from Deltares and Utrecht University. As a PhD candidate in this project you will:

  • Carry out a needs assessment for supporting six partner cities in developing their climate resilient development pathways;
  • Work with data and (software) tools and potentially models to develop decision-relevant information for stakeholders in local government, private sector and the community about climate action;
  • Develop the concept of CRDPs, with a particular focus on temporality and how practitioners relate to this idea, through a literature review and empirical research;
  • Organize scientific and practice-oriented events (workshops, conferences), in close collaboration with consortium members and relevant stakeholders;
  • Participate in the relevant activities of the REACHOUT consortium and your departments and Deltares and Utrecht University;
  • Contribute to the Deltares deliverables of the REACHOUT project;
  • Publish the results of your doctoral research in the form of conference papers, scientific journal articles, symposia and other activities; and
  • Complete a PhD thesis based on published scientific articles.