Website Wageningen University & Research (WUR)

Are you passionate about Dutch landscapes, and especially how we can safeguard their sustainability in the future? Are you a social scientist with a strong interest in how we can use insights from economics and law to reconcile conflicting objectives, and design policy interventions that facilitate a sustainability transformation?Are you excited about empirical methods and interdisciplinary collaboration? Then this PhD position is the perfect fit for you!

This 4-year fully funded PhD position is part of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) grant “Climate-production systems and water management” carried out in collaboration with several academic institutions and societal partners in the Netherlands.

Recent extreme weather events have clearly shown that intensive agricultural use, drainage-focused water management, and groundwater extraction endangers present and future agricultural production and environmental quality in Dutch sandy-soil landscapes. These are especially vulnerable as fresh-water supply is limited and soils drain fast. Hence, there is an urgent need for a radical paradigm shift to secure future socio-economic functioning of these landscapes.

The advertised position is part of a major, interdisciplinary research project that develops new propositions of a climate-robust and sustainable (i.e. circular) use of the sandy-soil landscapes of the Netherlands to future-proof their agricultural development and environmental quality. The PhD project will focus on the socio-economic and legal elements of this important theme.  Societal actors currently lack the incentives to transform to a climate-robust future, mostly because many landscape functions are valuable to society, but private individuals are not compensated for their provision. Insights on how the design of economic incentive and regulatory systems can unlock a transformation towards climate-robust production systems are urgently needed. Methods related to policy / economic experimentation are central to the work, though the disciplinary breadth of the project allows for flexibility regarding the methods to be used. The project is highly collaborative, using living field labs, and building on existing projects and through partnerships.

Your research project is a joint undertaking by the Environmental Economics and Natural Resources Group (ENR) and the LAW group (LAW) of Wageningen University.

Contact information
For more information about this function, please contact Andries Richter ([email protected]) or Josephine van Zeben ([email protected])

To apply, please upload the following documents online latest on 31 August

To apply for this job please visit