PhD Position ‘Economic Assessment of Climate Change Risks for the Financial Sector’

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: ;

Do you want to become part of a leading research group in the field of climate change risks and environmental economics? Do you want to contribute to groundbreaking research to make the financial sector fit for the future? Do you want to join the research programme REACHOUT funded by the European Commission and collaborate with peers from multiple disciplines? Then please apply for a fascinating PhD position at the Institute for Environmental Studies(IVM) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.


Job description

REACHOUT is a research project consisting of 19 partners that is funded by the EU to support the EU Green Deal. The aim of REACHOUT is to contribute to ‘climate-resilient urban development pathways’: the development of resilient, climate-neutral and adaptive cities. To achieve this, we plan to develop a ‘Triple-A toolbox’ for assessing climate change risks in six City Hubs. These municipalities will act as drivers for further use in the region and in other cities. This PhD project in particular will examine with pension investor APG methods and data that can support the development of climate-robust investments that the financial sector has made in the City Hubs and beyond.

Climate change risks, such as more severe storms and floods, are expected to cause substantial losses to properties and businesses which also affect financial sector investments, such as those made by pension funds. The degree of these risks depend on the severity of these natural hazards and damage they cause, business interruption impacts, and available compensation and insurance arrangements. Through integrated risk modelling and empirical analysis this PhD project will assess climate change risks for financial sector investments, in collaboration with financial sector partners and other research institutes. This will aid the design of adaptation solutions to limit these climate risks for businesses and property owners and improved financial risk management by investors, and thereby enhance societal resilience to climate change.

As a PhD candidate in this project you will be based at the oldest centre of excellence in interdisciplinary environmental science in the Netherlands, the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Your supervisory team will consist of experienced professors in Environmental Economics (Prof. Wouter Botzen and Dr Fujin Zhou) and in Water and Climate Risk (Prof. Jeroen Aerts and Dr Hans de Moel).

Your duties

  • engage in supervised scientific research that will ultimately result in a doctoral thesis
  • participate in the relevant activities of the REACHOUT consortium and the IVM
  • participate in the organisation of scientific and practice-oriented events (workshops, conferences), in close collaboration with other consortium members and relevant stakeholders
  • participate in the course programme for PhD candidates of the VU Graduate School and National Research School SENSE
  • publish the results from your doctoral research in the form of conference papers, contributions to scientific journals, as well as through popular publications and presentations
  • contribute to teaching activities at IVM


Do you have an interest in economic analyses of climate change risks, and especially the challenges faced by the financial sector? Are you interested in doing research in an interdisciplinary consortium and are you adept at cooperating with people from different (academic and practice) backgrounds? If so, this position may be of interest to you.

To apply for this position, you require to:

  • have a degree in (environmental or natural resource) economics, econometrics, hydrology or earth and environmental sciences preferably with a focus on economics and/or water management and/or climate change issues
  • have programming (e.g. python) and modelling skills and/or quantitative (econometric/statistical) method skills
  • be willing to actively participate in an interdisciplinary consortium and to undertake activities with other consortium members and stakeholders
  • have the ability to conduct research in various regions, working closely together with stakeholders
  • be fluent in English and preferably Dutch (both spoken and in writing)
  • be able to demonstrate excellent scientific writing and communication skills, as well as relevant collaborative and social skills.

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organisation. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts € 2,395 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to € 3,061 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 3 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalised benefits package

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

About the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM)
Established in 1971, IVM is a leading environmental research institute that is internationally recognised for its high quality research output in a range of environmental disciplines, as well as for its interdisciplinary work. The mission of the institute is to contribute to sustainable development and care for the environment through scientific research and teaching. IVM aims to do excellent problem-oriented research that is useful to a wide range of stakeholders in the Netherlands and internationally. A unique strength of our research is to understand sustainability problems in their social and economic context. IVM’s research community works within four departments: Environmental Economics; Environmental Geography, Environmental Policy Analysis; and Water and Climate Risk. Since 2001 IVM has been part of the Faculty of Science at VU Amsterdam (legal name Stichting VU).

This PhD position will be jointly supervised by the Department of Environmental Economics and the Department of Water and Climate Risk.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter by

31 July 2021

. The job interviews are planned for the end of July and first week of August, when possible please take them into account when applying for the position.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Wouter Botzen, Professor of Economics of Climate Change and Natural Disasters
Position: Head of department Environmental Economics
Telephone: +31 (0)20 59 83979

Name: Hans de Moel
Position: Assistant Professor of Water and Climate Risk
Telephone: +31 (0)20 59 83992

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