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PhD Fire Resilient Landscapes in PyroLife Innovative Training Network on integrated fire management

Do you have a genuine interest in landscape fires and resilience? And in further developing integrated fire management based on social, economic, cultural and …

2 maanden geleden


Droevendaalsesteeg, Wageningen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur


Do you have a genuine interest in landscape fires and resilience? And in further developing integrated fire management based on social, economic, cultural and ecological values? Are you up for an interdisciplinary challenge, looking and learning beyond your own field and assumptions? With an international team that is inclusive, collaborative, creative and open minded? Then we are looking for you!

The recent wildfire seasons are a glimpse of what to expect in the future: dangerous mega-fires in Mediterranean regions and high fire activity in temperate and boreal areas outside the typical Spring fire season. We cannot solve this challenge with the traditional mono-disciplinary approach of fire suppression: there is a critical need to change fire management from fire resistance to landscape resilience: Living with Fire. This requires a new type of diverse experts, who not only understand their own discipline and fire, but who are also able to communicate risks and engage with communities, deal with uncertainty, and link scientific disciplines as well as science and practice. The Innovative Training Network PyroLife trains the new generation of interdisciplinary experts in integrated fire management, based on four axes of diversity: cross-risk, cross-geography, intersectoral (linking science and practice) and social diversity. We are hiring 1 PhD candidate to join a team of 15 diverse PhD candidates across Southern and Northwest Europe and across a range of scientific disciplines, from social sciences and policy to environmental sciences and engineering.

PhD Topic description: Fire Resilient Landscapes
Managing landscape fire risk relies for a major part on managing fuel and vegetation patterns at smaller and larger scales. Yet fire behavior is changing and becoming more extreme, both in Mediterranean regions as well as in temperate areas. It is therefore essential to better understand how landscapes can be created that are resilient to changing fire regimes. This PhD research will focus on how the vulnerability of landscapes to fires is controlled by the features of the landscape (e.g. vegetation type and landscape homogeneity) and how that varies with the different ways in which fires can burn. It includes analysis of past fires as well as future scenarios, using GIS and remote sensing analyses and spatial fire behavior modeling. Being the last PhD project of the 15 PyroLife PhD's, this project offers the unique opportunity to build upon PyroLife research results and uses key conclusions from these projects in the creation of future landscape scenarios. As such, this project creates a basis for how fire-resilient landscapes can be designed.

PyroLife is a training program, which means that candidates undertake a set of network-wide training activities as part of a 39-ECTS personal career development plan. This candidate will be based at Wageningen University, Netherlands, with two four-month secondments in a fire service and a small enterprise in Europe. At Wageningen University, the candidate will work at the Soil Geography and Landscape Group in collaboration with the Laboratory of Geo-information and Remote Sensing.


  • Recent Masters degree in environmental sciences: e.g. geography, forestry, wildfire science, GIS or another suitably related discipline;
  • Demonstrated experience with spatial modeling and working with large GIS/remote sensing datasets
  • Demonstrated scripting skills (e.g. R, Python, Google Earth Engine)
  • A genuine interest in landscape fire and resilience, the social, economic, cultural and ecological dimensions involved and the inter- and transdisciplinary linkages needed for that. Experience with (the management of) fire, forests, water, storms or other risks is appreciated;
  • Ambition to obtain a PhD degree;
  • Commitment to completing a 39-ECTS personal career development program including the broad interdisciplinary PyroLife training as part of the PhD project
  • Good communication skills and good proficiency in English (both oral and written);
  • Ability to function as a team member, work independently and reflect on your own functioning;
  • Willingness to travel including moving to another country for the PhD project, completing two 4-month secondments in Europe, and travel to international training courses and any fieldwork;
  • Meet the mobility and early stage researcher requirements defined for the MSCA-ITN projects.
Mobility and early career requirements
Applicants should comply to the EU rules regarding ITN projects:
(https://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/data/ref/h2020/other/guides_for_applicants/h2020-guide-appl-msca-itn_en.pdf). The most important rules are that you should not have a doctoral degree, have obtained your Master degree within the last four years (full-time equivalent research experience) and should not have spent more than 12 months of your time during the last 3 years in The Netherlands.


Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • study leave and paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.
In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.395,- per month rising to € 3.061,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the "Best University" in the Netherlands for the 16th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact Cathelijne Stoof, Principal Investigator PyroLife Innovative Training Network, cathelijne.stoof@wur.nl

For more information about the procedure, please contact Edgar Tijhuis, corporate recruiter, edgar.tijhuis@wur.nl

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly by uploading your CV and motivation letter using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval. Please note you need to use this template for your motivation letter. Upload this template and your CV via our website. This template outlines four topics we expect you to cover, and includes a form to show your eligibility for the program in terms of early stage researcher and mobility requirements.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including September 12th 2021. We schedule the first job interviews on Friday September 17th 2021 or the week after that. We prefer to start as soon as possible with this PhD project but the candidate should at least start by December 1st 2021 at the very latest

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.