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  3. PhD position on spatial modeling of biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes (1.0 FTE)

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PhD position on spatial modeling of biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes (1.0 FTE)

Are you a young ambitious researcher who wants to investigate sustainable agriculture in the Netherlands? Read more here!

ongeveer 2 maanden geleden


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


Are you a young ambitious researcher who wants to investigate how a new spatial layout of the Dutch countryside can lead to more sustainable (‘circular’) agriculture in the Netherlands? Do you like to collaborate with other researchers and societal stakeholders in a highly interdisciplinary research project, and want to make an impact?

We are looking for a PhD candidate spatial modeling of biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes as part of the SPLENDID (Spatial Planning for Environmentally Diverse Circular Development) project. Your research will focus on the impact of a radical transition to sustainable and circular agriculture on biodiversity and the delivery of a broad range of ecosystem services. The transition is expected to both diminish the environmental impact of farming, and improve the spatial configuration of agriculture and other land use functions, which both have consequences for ecosystem functioning and ecosystem service delivery. The PhD will combine analyses of spatial databases, spatial modeling and stakeholder consultations to quantify ecosystem service demand and delivery at farm, landscape and regional level for various transition scenarios for the development of circular agriculture in the Netherlands. The project will also identify which trade-offs exist between ecosystem services, and how their delivery differs among different transition pathways in order to guide policy and planning decisions.

The project aims at having high academic impact as well as high societal relevance, and is affiliated with the Environmental Sciences group of the Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development at Utrecht University. You will be embedded in an interdisciplinary team with a postdoc and two other PhD students at Wageningen University, one working on spatial planning and governance for stimulating a transition towards a more sustainable agriculture, the other working on the farmer’s response to the foreseen land policy for sustainable agriculture. In addition, the PhD is closely collaborating with a wide range of societal stakeholders, such as policy makers and farmers.


A university degree (MSc) in a relevant natural science field (e.g. Ecology, Environmental Sciences, Physical Geography) with a broad and interdisciplinary interest:

  • Experience with GIS and spatial modeling of biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and/or ecosystem services at various scales;
  • Knowledge of the Dutch and European agricultural system and its connection with environmental sustainability;
  • Affinity with transdisciplinary work in living labs and collaboration with stakeholders;
  • Very good English communicative and writing skills. Proficiency in Dutch is considered an advantage, because stakeholder interaction will be conducted largely in Dutch;
  • A collegial attitude and a clear willingness to collaborate in interdisciplinary teams.


You will be offered a full-time PhD position (1.0 FTE), initially for one year with extension to four years in total upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The gross salary starts with €2,395,- per month in the first year and increases to €3,061,- per month in the fourth year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities) 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

For more information about this position, please contact: Jerry van Dijk (Assistant Professor), via j.vandijk2@uu.nl
Within the project on Spatial Planning for Environmentally Diverse Circular Development (SPLENDID) Wageningen University and Research is also offering two PhD positions. Utrecht University and Wageningen University and Research are working together on this project. You can have a look at these positions via: