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  3. PhD position in the NWO/NRF project 'Nexusing Water, Energy and Food to Increase Resilience in the Cape Town Metropolitan Region' (1,0 fte)

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PhD position in the NWO/NRF project 'Nexusing Water, Energy and Food to Increase Resilience in the Cape Town Metropolitan Region' (1,0 fte)

Do you have a particular interest in the domain of water, food and energy law, and are you excited to delve into the complexities of how these fields interact?

ongeveer een maand geleden


Domplein, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
36 - 40 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


The Utrecht University School of Law is seeking to appoint a PhD Researcher in law for a period of three years to participate in the NWO/NRF project 'Nexusing Water, Energy and Food to Increase Resilience in the Cape Town Metropolitan Region'. Your role in the project is to assess ways to improve the coordination within water, food and energy legal frameworks and the multi-level governance of these sectors. You will engage in comparative research in the Netherlands and South Africa, investigating to what extent the legal framework on water, energy, and food promotes a holistic approach to the three fields. You will use a number of Cape Town case studies to assess how these laws work in practice, and to develop proposals to strengthen the legal framework. Within the project, you will work closely with researchers from other disciplines, both in the Netherlands and in South Africa.
The project as a whole proposes to develop a water, energy and food nexusing approach that increases resilience capabilities in the Cape Town Metropolitan region. The water-energy-food nexus has emerged as a framework for integrated resource management. To date, however, the practical adoption of nexus approaches into governance practices and policies has lagged behind policy ambitions. The contention of this proposal is that to increase the scientific and societal value of nexus approaches, an expanded view on nexusing processes is required. Therefore, this project will critically explore the water-energy-food nexus through three main points of departure: the first is to understand the multi-dimensional interaction of water, energy and food systems. The second is to assess how the water-energy-food nexus materialises in selected sociospatial contexts in Cape Town. Thirdly, the aim is to understand the wicked governance challenges of mitigating, coping with, preparing for, and adapting to urban resource crises. Finally, the project will develop multi-scale procedural guidelines and policy briefs to inform nexusing practices.

To achieve these objectives, the research adopts a complex systems approach which systematically addresses the multi-dimensional nature of the water-energy-food nexus. Through a multi-disciplinary approach and in close collaboration with societal partners, WEF nexusing will be explored as a broader process-oriented approach to how resources do, and can, interact and be governed across siloed domains. This is a crucially important endeavour in the city of Cape Town which faces a triple exposure to interrelated water, energy and food crises. Through this expanded perspective, and emerging from the urgent need for concerted urban, this broader view of nexusing will be framed through the conceptual lens of urban resilience. The research will assess the vulnerabilities and resilience of complex system interactions to develop recommendations for coordinating resilience strategies that work complementary to existing governance arrangements.

As a PhD candidate, you will be hosted by Utrecht University’s Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law. For one day a week, you will be stationed at the Faculty of Geosciences at the Human Geography and Spatial Planning group to stimulate interdisciplinary cooperation with other researchers in the project. The PhD Researcher will be based at the School of Law, Utrecht University.

As a PhD researcher you will:

• engage in supervised scientific research that will ultimately result in a doctoral thesis;
• participate in the relevant activities of UCWOSL, as well as those of the Human Geography and Spatial Planning group;
• participate in the educational programme for PhD candidates of Utrecht Law School;
• publish the interim results from the doctoral research in the form of conference papers, contributions to scientific journals,
as well as through popular publications and presentations;
• participate in research activities and events, such as conferences, workshops and joint publications.

There is also a possibility to organize one or more meetings around the thesis topic.


Do you have a particular interest in the domain of water, food and energy law, and are you excited to delve into the complexities of how these fields interact? Are you interested in doing research in a multidisciplinary team 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 obtain this position, you:
• have a degree in law, preferably with a focus on water, energy, food or sustainability law;
• are interested in working in an international, multidisciplinary team;
• are highly motivated to do PhD research on water-food-energy nexusing, and have an interest in urban resilience or sustainability issues;
• have a demonstratable ability to conduct research in different geographical contexts;
• are fluent in English and, preferably, also in Dutch (both spoken and in writing);
• can demonstrate excellent scientific writing and communication skills.


We offer a PhD position (1.0 FTE) in an international working environment, initially for 18 months, with the 1st of January 2021 being the preferred start date. Upon a positive evaluation, your contract will be extended by 1.5 years. The gross salary ranges between €2,395 in the first year and €3,061 in the fourth year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment.
Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.

Additional information

Questions about the project and the position may be addressed to Dr. Anoeska Buijze, via a.buijze@uu.nl.