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

"Governing synergies and trade-offs with SDG15 in Ethiopia: a local-to-global 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 integrative landscape management and restoration may address multiple SDGs at once and such an approach is linked to national and international levels of decision-making.

This PhD project focuses on trade-offs and synergies between SDGs and how they are addressed in landscape restoration policies and practices in the lake Tana area, Ethiopia. This PhD project takes a local-to-global approach, starting from the actions of local actors, to trace how their role in landscape restoration and governance shapes, and is shaped by, national and international actors. Specifically, you will study how and to what extent an integrative landscape management and governance is able to address interactions between various SDGs. While you will have a strong focus on forest conservation and reforestation, you will equally give attention to food, water quality and quantity, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Moreover, you will explore how local recipients of donor funds and local private actors (i.e. farmers, industry) interact with national government, international donors, and other relevant actors and policy platforms. This PhD will be conducted alongside another PhD candidate who is studying the governance of synergies and trade-offs in Ethiopian landscape restoration from a global to local perspective.

We ask

  • A higher education degree equivalent to a European MSc degree
  • Academic background in natural resource management or governance, or other form of interdisciplinary background with experience in natural resource management, forest, water, food, landscapes, climate or a combination of these topics and preferably, social studies on policy and governance.
  • Proficiency in the English language
  • Strong academic writing skills
  • Proven track record of academic achievement in courses and thesis work
  • Experience with interdisciplinary research methods, including field work and stakeholder engagement.
  • Affinity with forest, water, food, and climate issues in a governance and development context
  • Familiarity with the case study context and proficiency in the 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 Verina Ingram ( or Gete Zeleke (