PhD Researcher in urban greening and health, Marie Skłodwska-Curie Actions

Updated: 6 days ago
Deadline: 05 Jun 2023

Your job

Do you hold an Master’s degree in Human Geography or Environmental Psychology? Are you passionate about urban greening and health? Do you want to contribute to cutting edge research in the field of nature-based solutions for health? Then we have the perfect opportunity for you!

The Cultural Geography group at Wageningen University and Research is looking for a full-time Doctoral Candidate (DC) in the field of urban greening and health. The title of the project is Nature-based Solutions for Health (NBS4HEALTH ) and is part of the Marie Skłodwska-Curie Doctoral Network GreeNexUS.
The research is embedded within the chair group Cultural Geography (GEO) led by Prof. Edward Huijbens . You will be co-supervised by Karolina Doughty and Sjerp de Vries . The GEO chair group is committed to social theory in all its spatial articulations. The group advances creative, critical-constructive scholarship through exploring the ecological and social challenges facing all life on earth.

The project will focus on the study of the relationships between objective health data and green area availability where people live, and on the health benefits that can be expected by greening residential neighbourhoods, to identify what type of nature reduces stress best in real-life settings. The goals of the project are to study the extent to which socioeconomic health disparities may be reduced by making optimal use of the stress-reducing qualities of contact with nature, and to study which types of nature are most effective in this regard for people with a low socioeconomic status.
The DC will be required to undertake the following responsibilities and tasks:

  • Design and carry out an experimental study on the stress-reducing qualities of different types of natural environments that includes visits in real settings, making use of a range of possible mixed-methods data-gathering techniques such as physiological stress measures, interviews, questionnaires, and dietary/food choices directly after the visit.
  • Carry out an epidemiological study on a low-income group compared to a higher-income control group, to a large extent making use of already available data, to investigate whether the short-term effects observed lead to long-term benefits in terms of health, and to assess the size of such benefits.
  • Spend two secondment periods (typically one month each) at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in year two and three, learning pathways linking green space and health besides stress reduction, and the science-policy interface (also with contribution from CESIE), by participating in activities related to the new national program ‘Green and Healthy Living Environment’.
  • Spend a secondment period at the University of Bologna in year three. Learning design principles and required ecological conditions for sustainable green spaces.

Your qualities

There are strict eligibility rules associated with the recruitment of Doctoral Candidates in MSCA Doctoral Netwroks.
Career : At the time of recruitment, the DC must hold a Master degree or similar degree giving access to PhD and not more than 4 years of previous research activity. A PhD degree in any field is not compatible with this DC position.

Mobility : Transnational mobility is an essential requirement of Marie Skłodwska-Curie Doctoral Networks. At the time of recruitment, the DC must not have resided in The Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment date and not have carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in The Netherlands. Applicants must be prepared for a secondment for a total of 4 months at RIVM (NL), and another secondment for at least 1 month at UNIBO in Italy.

Language : For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level . For non-native speakers it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here .

Apart from the above mandatory requirements, the candidate must also possess the following qualities:

  • Experience with performing advanced statistical analysis and GIS-analysis;
  • Interest and willingness to engage in mixed methos empirical research;
  • Experience in qualitative fieldwork techniques is an advantage;
  • Willingness to travel internationally for the purpose of research, training and dissemination is mandatory;

We offer you

This position is full-time fixed term for 36 months. However, the candidate at WUR will be funded for a further 12 months to comply with requirements for doctoral degrees in The Netherlands.
The selected candidate will be appointed under a 48-month full-time employment contract in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project subject to supervisor’s and promotors evaluation of performance.

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment . A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • study leave and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.443,- per month rising to € 3.122,- in the fourth year. This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. In addition, the DC receives a total mobility allowance of €7.200, and, if eligible, a family allowance of €7.920. The remuneration will be compliant with the rules of the MSCA-DN, as by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Work Programme 2021-22, ‘European Union Contribution and Applicable Rates’. These gross amounts include all compulsory deductions under national applicable legislation.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “ Best University ” in the Netherlands for the 18th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.

Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community  page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information  about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.

Do you want more information?

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.
This vacancy will be listed up to and including 5th  June 2023. We hope to schedule the first job interviews in late June or early July 2023.

An additional application form has to be filled by all applicants and the response has to be uploaded in a pdf format along with CV and other documents. Please click here  to access the form. If an applicant fails to upload this form , their application will be considered incomplete.

The selection process will consist of CVs, motivation letters and records evaluation and an interview (additional interviews could be required). The interview to assert the skills, the motivation and the fluency in English, will take place at the host institution, or online for those candidates who are not able to travel to Wageningen (The Netherlands). More details on the selection process can be found on and on .

It is obligatory for applicants to read and understand the detailed information regarding the rights and responsibilities of researchers engaged in a Marie Skłodwska-Curie Doctoral Network as laid out in The European Charter .

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page . A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment .

Do you want more information?
For more information about this position, please contact Karolina Doughty, Assistant Professor in the Cultural Geography group by e-mail: .
For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, Corporate Recruiter, by e-mail:

We are

Wageningen University & Research
The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.
Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!
We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated

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