PhD candidate Participatory socio-economic scenario development to inform climate-smart soil and water management

Published on
June 15, 2017
Location Wageningen
Scientific field Natural Sciences
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We are looking for

This PhD position is part of a larger international research consortium SENSES, collaboratively funded by national science organisations. Below, the rationale of SENSES is explained, with emphasis on the part of the project that you will perform. Climate change mitigation and adaptation are very important issues in science and beyond, particularly since the Paris Agreement and its plea to stay below 1.5 degree global warming. Yet, the content and significance of the new climate change scenarios are not well understood beyond the scientific community, and there is a strong need for better connecting its application to users. The SENSES project will address these challenges by developing a tailor-made, user determined Climate Change Scenario Toolkit (“SENSES” Toolkit) connecting the new generation of climate community scenarios to selected user and stakeholder groups. This requires the development of effective techniques to use the climate change scenarios for the co-creation of user-relevant climate-change knowledge as well as user-centred design of scenario visualisation tools. The focus of the presently advertised project relates to regional stakeholders and the development of participatory regionally relevant scenarios.

As PhD candidate, you will be responsible for the design of co-production techniques for regional scenario users. Your focus will be on engagement of regional stakeholders and the co-development of climate change related scenarios at the regional level for a case study in the Netherlands, the catchment of the Overijsselse Vecht. Through workshops and interviews, you will explore and develop effective approaches and best practice guidelines for the co-production of scenario knowledge on regional and global scales and tailor them to the specific needs of the regional stakeholders. You will help designing methods for the participatory development of multi-scale scenarios. Scenarios will be integrated and contain qualitative information on socio-economic changes as well as more quantitative information based on available (biophysical) models. A key stakeholder question is to what extent integrated soil and water management measures taken in headwaters, channel, and downstream can help the region to adapt to climate change. You will link the regional Dutch scenarios to those developed in the second case study in Kenya (lead by a PhD student at Stockholm Environment Institute) and the global scenarios and scenario users, importantly those involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Where possible, you will be actively involved in linking scenarios to visualisation tools as developed by PIK in Potsdam through an iterative co-design process and in translating users’ needs to software design.

We ask

  • You are a dedicated, creative individual, with broad academic skills and excellent communication and collaboration skills
  • You have an MSc-degree or equivalent in environmental or social sciences, or a related field
  • You are familiar and/or have worked with quantitative models
  • You have a genuine affinity with integrated, multidisciplinary issues and a demonstrated interest in interacting with decision makers and other stakeholders
  • You have demonstrated proficiency in English writing and you have excellent oral and written communication skills, and the ability to work efficiently alone as well as in a team.
  • Given the location of the case study in the Netherlands, proficiency in Dutch oral and written communication is a strong advantage

We offer

We offer a fulltime employment (38 hours a week) as PhD researcher within the Soil Geography and Landscape Group for 18 months with a possible extension of 30 months after a positive evaluation. The gross salary will increase from € 2.222,= in the first year up to € 2.840,= per month in the fourth year (based on fulltime employment). In addition, we offer a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-the-year bonus of 8.3% of your annual salary.


More information

Additional information about this vacancy can be obtained from Dr. Kasper Kok,
Telephone: +31 (0) 317-482422.

How to apply
Interested? Don’t email directly to the people mentioned above. Please use the website to apply and upload your CV and a short motivation letter. Deadline 30 June 2017.

Interviews with selected applicants will be scheduled at  6 July 2017

We are

It is the mission of the Soil Geography and Landscape Group (SGL) of Wageningen University to improve and share understanding of soil patterns and landscape dynamics. We take an integrative approach that combines biophysical and human elements to gain insight in past, present and future system dynamics, and to support sustainable land management.

Wageningen University and Research Centre
Delivering a substantial contribution to the quality of life. That's our focus – each and every day. Within our domain, healthy food and living environment, we search for answers to issues affecting society – such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Of course, we don’t do this alone. Every day, 6,500 people work on ‘the quality of life’, turning ideas into reality, on a global scale.