PhD Governing Landscape Restoration Ethiopia: a global-to-local study

"Governing synergies and trade-offs with SDG15 in Ethiopia: a global-to-local study of landscape restoration in Lake Tana sub-basin"

In the Lake Tana sub-basin in the Ethiopian highlands, agricultural expansion, overgrazing, and fuelwood collection have led to ongoing deforestation and soil erosion. Land degradation threatens food security and impacts water quantity and quality downstream. This combination of challenges, that reinforce each other, makes the Lake Tana sub-basin an important and relevant case study for understanding how a global push for landscape approaches and restoration to achieve multiple SDGs may translate to practice on a local level.

This PhD project focuses on the role of governance mechanisms for cross-level and cross-sector alignment in addressing trade-offs and creating synergies between SDGs in landscape restoration policies in lake Tana sub-basin, Ethiopia. This PhD project takes a global-to-local approach, starting from the actions of global actors and platforms such as the Dutch ministry of foreign affairs, the UN High Level Policy Forum on Sustainable Development in New York, and national climate commitments made under the Paris agreement. It then traces how these actors and policies align with other public and private actors in various centers of governance, including on the national and local level. Moreover, you study the interactions between various SDGs – related to forest, water, food, and climate, among others – in multiple centers of governance. Ultimately, you will map and trace different forms of alignment between global, national, regional, and local actors and discuss these in the context of the landscape approach. This PhD will be conducted alongside another PhD candidate who is studying governing synergies and trade-offs from a local to global perspective.

We ask

  • A higher education degree equivalent to a European MSc degree
  • Academic background in the social sciences, for example policy sciences, political science, development studies, or natural resource management
  • Proficiency in the English language
  • Strong academic writing skills
  • Proven track record of academic achievement in courses and thesis work
  • Experience with social science research methods, including qualitative methods.
  • Affinity with forest, water, food, and climate issues in a development context
  • Familiarity with the case study context and proficiency in local language(s) is an advantage

We offer

  • A four year fully funded PhD position at the Water and Land Resources Center (Addis Ababa)
  • Enrollment in the PhD programme of the Wageningen School of Social Sciences at Wageningen University, including PhD courses, library access and ICT services
  • Supervision by experts in the field at the Wageningen Center of Sustainability Governance
  • Three research stays of 6 months at Wageningen University, including a living allowance on top of the WLRC remuneration
  • The opportunity to develop and graduate as a researcher, supported by a vibrant international community of researchers and stakeholders linked to the “Governing SDG interactions” project

The selected PhD candidate will be appointed for a 4-year PhD position at the Water and Land Resources Center (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) and registered for the PhD Programme at Wageningen University (The Netherlands). Supervision will be provided by Dr. Verina Ingram from the Forest and Nature conservation Policy Group at Wageningen University, and by Dr. Gete Zeleke from the the Water and Land Resources Center.

How to apply

Applications should consist of the following: (1) A cover letter addressed to the PhD supervisors, explaining your capability and motivation for undertaking the PhD research project (maximum 2 pages); (2) A resume, including full higher education and occupational trajectory (maximum 3 pages); (3) A concept note on how you would design the research project (maximum 1 page); and (4) Certified academic certificates and transcripts.

If you apply for more than one of the PhD positions, please indicate this clearly in your cover letter.

Applications should be sent to Wageningen University at and to WLRC at

Applications need to be in by Friday 28 January 2022. Interviews are planned for Wednesday Thursday 23 February 2022. The intended starting date for the PhD position is 1 June 2022.

More information

For questions on the larger “Governing SDG interactions“ project, contact Art Dewulf ( For questions on this PhD position, contact Jelle Behagel ( or Tena Alamirew (