PhD position in Environmental Impact assessments in a Telecoupled World

Environmental impact assessments are an important means to assess the potential sustainability consequences of products, investments, spatial planning or policy decisions. Current methods for environmental impact assessments have limitations in accounting for distant and indirect ...

6 dagen geleden

Arbeidsvoorwaarden

Standplaats:
De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Dienstverband:
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur
Salarisindicatie:
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand
Opleidingsniveau:
WO

Functieomschrijving

Environmental impact assessments are an important means to assess the potential sustainability consequences of products, investments, spatial planning or policy decisions. Current methods for environmental impact assessments have limitations in accounting for distant and indirect impacts. Either a focus is on the local impacts only, or distant impacts are accounted for but not in a location specific manner. The inability to properly evaluate distant versus local impacts has given rise to a general tendency to believe that distant impacts are always a problem allegedly ‘local products’ are more sustainable than products sourced from distant places. Yet, it may rather be the lack of good assessment methods that prevent us from understanding the various distant impacts. For this reason, innovative assessment methods are needed to understand the environmental and social cost across increasingly globalized commodity networks and provide guidance to consumers, investors, and policy makers taking decisions in light of sustainable development.

This PhD student will: i) Evaluate how environmental impacts of products and services in globalized commodity networks affecting land use are accounted for in current environmental impact assessment methods and how tradeoffs between different sustainability indicators are made; ii) Develop novel approaches to evaluate the sustainability impacts of local versus distantly sourced products; iii) Test the newly developed assessment methods on specific products and services; iv) Apply the novel methods for evaluating the role of interventions such as certification and taxation, on the sustainability of telecoupled products. It is envisioned that for the latter the countries of Laos and Vietnam will serve as a case-study region. The project is envisioned to result in methods and indicators that may be actively used to inform the business and policy sectors as well as the wider public.

The PhD student will be based at VU Amsterdam and supervised by Prof. Peter Verburg (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and Prof. Peter Messerli (University of Bern, Switzerland). Secondments will take place at the University of Bern and at European Land Owner Organisation.

The PhD student is expected to write scientific papers for international peer-reviewed journals, present his/her results on national and international conferences, and finalize the work in a PhD thesis.

Functie-eisen

We seek a candidate with an above-average MSc (research Master) in environmental science or geography. Experience with quantitative assessment methods, modelling and/or spatial analysis is required. We expect a strong interest in land use science and sustainability issues. Work or study outside the Netherlands is an important experience of the successful candidate.

Conditions

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it will be extended for a total duration of 3 years.

You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at www.workingatvu.nl like:
• remuneration of 8,3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance;
• solid pension scheme (ABP);
• a minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment;

Additional information

For additional information please contact Peter Verburg.

website: www.coupled.eu and www.environmentalgeography.nl.

Applicants should submit a letter of motivation, full CV, a draft proposal, and contact details for two references via the project website www.coupled-itn.eu before October 26th, 2017.

Bedrijfsomschrijving

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) is a leading, innovative and growing university that is at the heart of society and actively contributes to new developments in teaching and research. Our university has ten faculties, and provides work for over 4,500 staff and scientific education for more than 23,000 students.

The Environmental Geography group is part of the Institute for Environmental Studies (www.environmentalgeography.nl; www.ivm.vu.nl). In an international evaluation in 2014 the group was rated as excellent both on scientific criteria as well as in making societal impact. Research foci are the analysis and modelling of land use change and the assessment of ecosystem services. The group has a leading role in international networks in these fields. The Environmental Geography group focusses on addressing multiple spatial and temporal scales in the analysis of global environmental change and in bridging science and policy dimensions.

The position is offered is part of the European Training Network COUPLED (www.coupled.eu). Within this training network a group of PhD students will assess the role of globalization and teleconnections on land use and environmental resources and the ways in which sustainability transitions can be achieved. The network will organize dedicated training courses and several events to enhance collaboration between the PhD students.

About the project: Environmental impact assessments are an important means to assess the potential sustainability consequences of products, investments, spatial planning or policy decisions. Current methods for environmental impact assessments have limitations in accounting for distant and indirect impacts. Either a focus is on the local impacts only, or distant impacts are accounted for but not in a location specific manner. The inability to properly evaluate distant versus local impacts has given rise to a general tendency to believe that distant impacts are always a problem allegedly ‘local products’ are more sustainable than products sourced from distant places. Yet, it may rather be the lack of good assessment methods that prevent us from understanding the various distant impacts. For this reason, innovative assessment methods are needed to understand the environmental and social cost across increasingly globalized commodity networks and provide guidance to consumers, investors, and policy makers taking decisions in light of sustainable development.

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