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PhD Researcher Water4Change - Society & Culture

We are looking for a driven, motivated and outstanding PhD researcher interested in sustainability transitions and resilience in general and in the …

11 maanden geleden


Julianalaan, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
36 - 40 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


We are looking for a driven, motivated and outstanding PhD researcher interested in sustainability transitions and resilience in general and in the relationship between urban water systems, society and culture in particular with a passion in linking scientific understanding and insights to social and environmental sciences, cultural representation and practice. Delta Urbanism Interdisciplinary Research Group, part of TU Delft Department of Urbanism, jointly with the Water Governance Chair group and Flood Resilience Chair group (FRG) of IHE Delft Institute for Water Education are seeking to expand their teams with a new driven, motivated and outstanding PhD researcher interested in sustainability transitions and resilience in general and in urban water systems, social sciences and environmental innovation in particular with a passion in linking scientific understanding and insights on urban water systems to societal behaviour, cultural representation and practice. The doctoral researcher will be part of the Water4Change research project and as thus connected to an international research consortium on fit-for-purpose water sensitive design for fast growing liveable cities in India. As part of the Delta Urbanism team, the researcher will also engage in other activities in the field of research and education.

The Water4Change project

The Water4Change research programme addresses the complex challenges to urban water systems faced by fast-growing cities in India. India is a country which is rapidly growing into urban agglomerations showing infrastructure deficits and adaptation gaps in relation to current and future climatic, societal and economic change. The programme embraces water as a basic necessity for life that is both an agent and catalyst of positive transformative changes that are needed to pro-actively deal with and respond to these challenges. To facilitate long-term sustainability and resilience of urban water systems, the programme will co-create and mainstream an integrative, fit-for-purpose and adaptive water sensitive design framework in close collaboration with stakeholders in three Indian cities. The framework will be developed by synergistically connecting four realms – governance, built and natural environment, technology and infrastructure design and societal behaviours – for the delivery of transformative change. The project is co-funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Indian Government Department of Science and Technology (DST) under the Cooperation India – the Netherlands programme.

The focal aim of this doctoral research position is to develop a conceptual and methodological framework to enable water security and ecosystem health outcomes based on socio-cultural analysis and profiling. Shifting to and maintaining water sensitive urban systems places multiple new demands on the roles of individulas and communities. It requires to engage, adapt and cope with multiple uncertainties and shocks in the short- and long-term, to take interrelations and dynamics across the full water cycle. At the same time, it requires to ensure social innovation while providing for the maintenance of cultural representation, heritage and inclusiveness. Next to developing a novel framework for socio-cultural water sensitive behaviour in the Indian case study cities, your research will develop an integrated methodology for the understanding of the effect of individual and community, their influence and sensitivity, motiviation and abilities for the mainstreaming of water sensitive and climate responsive governance, planning and design. Your research will respond to relevant research gaps in sustainability transitions, resilience and adaptive design and governance literatures, addressing the following research questions: What are the social, economic and demographic factors affecting the performance of urban water systems? What are the roles of social innovation, cultural representation, and cultural heritage in enabling water sensitive behaviour in society?

The main objectives of the PhD research position are:

  • Developing a conceptual and methodological framework for governing societal transitions to sustainability aiming at water sensitive, climate responsive and inclusive urban environments
  • Analysing the influence of individuals, communities and the public sector in sustaining water security, access, inclusiveness and ecosystem health in Indian cities in the short- and long-term
  • Conducting field research and workshops in India and collaborating with other PhD researchers from India
  • PhD fellow should provide inputs that will form the basis for the reality check to the processes followed by the other PhDs in the Water4Change project on Planning & Design, Infrastructure & Technology, and Governance. Therefore the PhD should work closely with these PhDs and their supervisory teams.
  • Publishing research findings in scientific journals, presenting the project at international conferences, cross-fertilizing the results with local and international scholars and practitioners

 The research will be jointly supervised by an experienced and collaborative team comprising of members from both TUDelft Delta Urbanism Interdisciplinary Research Group and IHE Delft Institute for Water Education Water Governance Chair group and Flood Resilience Chair group. 


The successful applicant will have an excellent academic track record, a completed M.Sc., M.A. or equivalent university degree, and demonstrated capacity for interdisciplinary science research. We encourage candidates with a multi-disciplinary background/interests in Social Sciences, Urban Planning and Design, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, and Water Management to apply.

An affinity with sustainability transitions, the concepts of urban water systems, societal innovation and governance, cultural representation and transdisciplinary research are highly desirable. Ideally, the candidate has first-hand experiences working with theories of sustainability transitions, social behaviour and cultural representation, water management, adaptive design and governance. The candidate should be able to understand the societal contexts of water problems and posess writing/presentation skills that helps creating narratives like an ethnographer and synthesise the outcomes.

The project requires frequent traveling to Indian case study cities. The candidate should be proficient in English (both writing and speaking) on a C1 CEFR level (or equivalent), and willing to collaborate and travel internationally. Knowledge of Indian languages is an advantage. 


The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. Coming to Delft Service organizes diverse events for new international employees and their accompanying partners, like Partner Career Workshops and Dutch Culture Workshops. Located on campus are the International Children’s Centre and an international primary school which are subject to availability as well as several bilingual schools in the nearby surrounding. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate Schoolprovides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and amentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, disciplinerelatedand research skills. Please visit www.tudelft.nl/phd for more information

Additional information

For information about this vacancy, you can contact Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin, Assistant Professor Urban Design, email: t.bacchin@tudelft.nlnl, tel: +31152781298.

For information about the selection procedure, please contact Caro Coemans, HR Advisor, email: HR-BK@tudelft.nl.

Important dates:

  • Application submission deadline is on the 1st of September 2019 at 18:00 CET.
  • The interviews of selected candidates will be held on the 17th of September 2019. For applicants who live outside the Netherlands we will conduct the interview via Skype.
  • Appointment will start no later than January 1st, 2020.