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Phd position in Impacts of Changing Lifestyles on Ecosystem Service Demands

Socio-economic trends and personal choices shape people’s lifestyles and play a large role in explaining people’s use of ecosystem services. For example, income increases are known to influence consumption, but also choosing a ...

9 maanden geleden


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


Socio-economic trends and personal choices shape people’s lifestyles and play a large role in explaining people’s use of ecosystem services. For example, income increases are known to influence consumption, but also choosing a specific diet or having a preference for local or sustainable products influence the use of resources and ecosystem services. It is unclear how big this role of lifestyle is in explaining ecosystem services use, and how changing lifestyles are impacting ecosystems far away from the consumer’s location. In an increasingly telecoupled world there is an increasing need to account for distal impacts of consumption and lifestyle changes, but there are few tools or indicators for doing so.

This PhD-student will: (1) Analyse how changes in lifestyles steer demands for ecosystem services. (2) Analyse where these ecosystem services are sourced and how land system changes that enable their supply impacts communities living in service-providing areas. (3) Map the current demand and supply of ecosystem services in benefiting and providing areas and explore mismatches between these to evaluate the sustainability of service use. (4) Develop and analyze scenarios of how (distal) ecosystem service demand may react to lifestyle and socio-economic change. A combination of statistical analysis of survey data, global trade databases, land system modelling and ecosystem service modelling will be applied.

The Phd-student will assess lifestyle changes translated into differences in consumers’ demand for key ecosystem services, and visualisation techniques to communicate ecosystem service telecoupling to different stakeholders, such as multinationals or governments. The ESR will be based at VU Amsterdam and supervised by Dr. Nynke Schulp (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and Dr. Thomas Kastner (Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre Frankfurt / Main; Institute of Social Ecology (UNI Klagenfurt). Secondments will take place at the Institute of Social Ecology (UNI KLU) and at Unilever.

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.


We seek a candidate with an above-average MSc (or equivalent degree) in environmental science or geography. Experience with statistical data analysis and spatial analysis is required. We expect a strong interest in land use science and sustainability issues, and interdisciplinary research. Work or study outside the Netherlands is an important experience of the successful candidate.


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;
• generous contribution (65%) commuting allowance based on public transport;
• a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge.

Additional information

For additional information please contact Nynke Schulp.

Website: http://www.coupled-itn.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 before October 28th, 2017.

Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.


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.