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NEWAVE Early Stage Researcher (PhD) position: Multi-level assessment of water stress and institutional dynamics in the water-climate-conflict nexus

Would you like to be at the forefront of the global water governance debate, and planting the seeds for future actionable alternatives or improvements to the prevailing water governance paradigms? Are you enthusiastic about moving between science, policy and practice in order to qualify for successful careers in research, consulting, industry or governance? Apply for NEWAVE PhD position at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

14 dagen geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur
€ 3270 per maand


Hydro-climatic stress represents a strong threat to global and local water security. In many countries in the Global South water conflicts are on the rise. Different social actors compete over limited freshwater resources. These socio-hydrological challenges produce conflict dynamics in certain instances while cooperative responses in others. A country that is particularly affected by hydro-climatic stress and is very prone to water conflicts is Myanmar. Very little research has been conducted on water conflicts and institutional adaptation in Myanmar, which is a country with strong need for policy interventions and development of water governance best practices. Policy research will be conducted on multiple levels, from local to national to transboundary while specific cases of water conflicts in the country will be studied from a socio-hydrological perspective. This research has a strong potential for both novel academic publications and for actionable outcomes and policy impact.

This position is part of the EU funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) ‘NEWAVE - Next Water Governance’. NEWAVE will train a total of 15 highly skilled Early Stage Researchers (ESRs), starting in the same period. The project aims at equipping the ESRs with fundamental knowledge, advanced skills, and adequate tools to address current and future water governance challenges. The selected candidates will have the opportunity to complete a PhD degree at one of its 10 prestigious host institutions, in collaboration with 19 partner organizations. The various positions are moving between science, policy and practice in order to qualify for successful careers in research, consulting, industry or governance.

This position is hosted at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The selected candidate will be supervised by a team of two academic supervisors and one non-academic co-supervisor: Prof. Jampel Dell’Angelo (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Prof. Aaron Wolf (Oregon State University), and Dominic May Om (K’cho Land Development Association, Myanmar).

(S)he will have the opportunity to conduct relevant field research, and will receive a solid and innovative combination of training and practical experience to become highly attractive to potential employers in all sectors concerned.

Your duties

  • identify which institutional conditions promote cooperative water stress mitigation
  • study how national and international institutional dynamics enable or impede local or national responses to water stress
  • investigate potential mismatches between hydrological conditions and institutional and governance responses in water stressed contexts (main focus on Myanmar)
  • identify inconsistencies across different nested action arena, from the global to the local level, in terms of water conflict resolution mechanism development and implementation
  • reconsider the role of cooperation and conflict based on socio-hydrological indicators that highlight issues of environmental distributional injustice
Expected results:
  • develop a robust understanding of how institutions interact at multiple levels to address socio-hydrological stress
  • provide insights and characterization of the rising water conflict socio-environmental dynamics in Myanmar, both locally and regionally (transboundary level)
  • create a new set of socio-hydrological indicators to evaluate water stress impacts based on principles of environmental justice that consider dynamics of unequal distribution of burdens and responsibilities
  • feedback and policy recommendations to international and transboundary river organizations involved in water stress mitigation and water conflict resolutions mechanismse


  • above-average MSc (or equivalent degree) in Environmental Policy, Environmental Science, Water Resources Management, or related fields
  • knowledge of Burmese would be considered a strong asset
  • commitment to academic excellence with a track record of high impact research
  • proven skills in executing empirical research in challenging context
  • capacity to work independently and as part of a team
  • examples of high-quality written work, such as a journal paper or equivalent
  • outstanding interpersonal skills to work with multiple stakeholders
Eligibility citeria*
  • you must – at the date of recruitment – have obtained the MSc degree entitling you to embark on a doctorate
  • you must – at the date of recruitment – be within the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of your research career and not have a doctoral degree
  • mobility rule: you must not have resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host organisation you are applying for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment date. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.
*Please make sure you comply with the eligibility criteria before applying. You need to be able to provide documentation proving your eligibility for recruitment. You can read the full description of eligibility criteria in the Information Note for ITN Fellows.


The selected candidate will receive a salary in accordance with the European Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) regulations for Early Stage Researchers (ESR). The basic gross salary (living allowance) is €3,270 per month (€39,240/year). A correction factor will be applied for positions based in the Netherlands, according to the H2020 Work Programme (pg. 94, Table 2); therefore, the exact gross salary will be confirmed upon appointment. Please consider that the net salary will be lower than the amount mentioned due to taxes, social benefit premiums etc. The salary (Living allowance, mobility allowance, family allowance) is defined by the EU. In addition to the living allowance, selected candidates will benefit from a mobility allowance of €600 per month, and a family allowance of €500. All details of financial aspects can be found in the H2020 Programme – Guide for Applicants (pg. 27-29).

The selected candidate will have a fulltime employment contract for the duration of 36 months. The expected start date is 15 October or before.

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),
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 24.05.2020. The job interviews are planned for the period from 11 June to 1 July 2020, when possible please take them into account when applying for the position. Please note that you can indicate up to three preferences to be considered for other available positions at NEWAVE.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: Caterina Marinetti
Position: NEWAVE Scientific Project Manager
E-mail: Caterina.Marinetti@vu.nl
Telephone: +31 (0)6 17280404

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