PhD student 'Transforming Europe’s forests'

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: ;

Do you want to make an impact on Europe’s forest management through research? We offer an exciting PhD project in Environmental Geography. Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 1 - 1

Job description

Are you interested in using interdisciplinary approaches to increase our understanding of the future of Europe’s nature? In this PhD position, you will use foresight and megatrends tools to understand the future systemic changes of nature management and priorities in Europe. You will quantify synergies and trade-offs of different visions of future forest management and engage with forest management stakeholders to co-design pathways. You will subsequently zoom in on rewilding options for Europe and develop spatial models able to run different rewilding scenarios

You contribute to the European projects Pathfinder and WILDCARD,  and will therefore collaborate with multiple European institutes aiming to create an integrative nature monitoring and pathway assessment system for the EU. This project is directly applicable in EU policy making for climate neutrality and biodiversity enhancement.

You will deploy quantitative and spatial tools, but will additionally work with project partners in a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary way.

Your duties include
  • develop spatial and quantitative foresight and megatrends tools for European nature management
  • distill visions and pathways for European nature management in collaboration with stakeholders
  • develop spatial models to assess rewilding options in Europe
  • present the results of your project in scientific publications and conferences
  • contribute to project tasks
  • assist in teaching at BSc and/or MSc level, for example by supervising thesis candidates and guiding tutorials

  • You have a MSc (or equivalent) in Geography, GIS, Remote Sensing, biology, econometry, or another relevant field
  • You have a keen interest in scientific research and in its applications towards sustainable development
  • You have experience in spatial analysis
  • You have experience in (Python or similar) scripting. Knowledge of land use modeling is an asset
  • You have good oral and written communication skills in English
  • You are able to collaborate with various research communities

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,770 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,539 (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 4 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)

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 31,000 students. We employ over 5,000 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
Working at the Faculty of Science means working together with students, PhD candidates and scientists who are focused on their discipline, yet also have a broad view of the world. We are proud of the collegial working environment within the faculty, which is characterised by an ambitious and pragmatic attitude with commitment to the bigger picture. At the Faculty of Science, scientists and students work on fundamental and complex social issues for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, from genetics to pharmaceuticals and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research cover the full breadth of the natural sciences. Scientific teaching and research is highly experimental, technical, computational and interdisciplinary in nature. This is why we collaborate extensively with leading research institutes and industry. The faculty has over 11,000 students studying across 40 educational programmes and employs over 1,600 staff spread over 10 scientific departments, making us the largest science faculty in the Netherlands.

About the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM)
IVM is a leading environmental research institute that is internationally recognized 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 research community works within four departments: Environmental Economics; Environmental Policy Analysis; Environmental Geography; and Water and Climate Risk. IVM is part of the Faculty of Science at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam ( /ivm ). This position is based within the Environmental Geography department. The Environmental Geography department conducts interdisciplinary research on the spatial aspects of environmental and social challenges and the solutions sustainable land use can provide to these.


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

26/11/2023, 23:59

Submitting a diploma and a reference check are part of the application process. For that purpose it is appreciated if you provide the contact details of two possible references.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: Niels Debonne
E-mail: [email protected]

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