PhD Climate advocacy (1.0 FTE)

University of Groningen
February 27, 2024
Offerd Salary:€ 2,770
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
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PhD Climate advocacy (1.0 FTE) (V24.0067) Job description

The Department of Spatial Planning and Environment (Faculty of Spatial Sciences; FSS) and the Environmental Psychology group (Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences; FBSS) of the University of Groningen invite applications for a PhD position on Climate Advocacy.

The successful candidate will be hosted by both Faculties, and will collaborate with Prof. dr. Ina Horlings and Dr. Margo van den Brink from FSS, and with Dr. Lise Jans and Dr. Anne van Valkengoed from FBSS. The candidate will also be linked to the overarching Wubbo Ockels School on Energy and Climate at the University of Groningen, and the recently established Climate Adaptation Platform Northern Netherlands.

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD candidate on the topic ‘Climate Advocacy' for our interdisciplinary research project: Climate Advocates: Taking the lead in Community Action for Climate Adaptation in the Northern Netherlands'. Citizens are increasingly involved in climate adaptation. Community-based initiatives are critical in building collective resilience against climate-related risks. Yet, the emergence and success of such initiatives often depend on the efforts of a few dedicated individuals within communities, who take the lead as change agents. Little is currently known about the motives, methods and strategies of such ‘climate advocates', and what makes them (un)successful.

This PhD aims to understand how climate advocates contribute to community- based climate adaptation and which psychological, socio-spatial and institutional conditions enhance their ability to mobilise fellow community members and realise change. We expect the PhD to theorise on climate advocacy building on literature from spatial sciences and environmental and social psychology. Empirically the PhD is expected to investigate the drivers, and (mobilisation) strategies of climate advocates as leaders of community initiatives and their effectiveness. The PhD is expected to use quantitative and qualitative methods (ranging from large surveys and experiments to interviews and discourse analyses around specific cases in the Northern part of the Netherlands).

Organization Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has established an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative university, offering high-quality teaching and research. Its 37,000 students are encouraged to develop their own individual talents through challenging study and career paths.

Students are provided with a well-balanced, high-quality curriculum across a multitude of disciplines. The University of Groningen is an international centre of knowledge: it belongs to the best research universities in Europe and is allied with prestigious partner universities and networks worldwide.

The FSS is the only independent Faculty of Spatial Sciences in The Netherlands. The Faculty consists of approximately 110 members of staff, 120 PhD researchers, and around 1,100 students. We focus on high quality teaching and research in the fields of social and economic geography, demography, and spatial planning. With a Faculty slogan of ‘making places better together' and an overarching research theme: 'Towards Wellbeing, Innovation and Spatial Transformation'; (tWIST), it is our mission to produce research which is world- leading, distinctive, and policy-relevant. With two Bachelor and eight Master programs, we provide a wide range of courses within the fields of geography and the spatial sciences.

Environmental Psychology at the University of Groningen has a national and international reputation for excellence. Research within the Environmental Psychology group focuses on a wide range of topics, including understanding which factors affect sustainable behaviours (such as energy use, car use, food consumption, and participation in environmental groups); understanding how people and groups cope with environmental and climate risks; understanding the effectiveness of strategies to promote sustainable behaviour; understanding the acceptability environmental policies and changes; and the effects of sustainable behaviour on wellbeing. Both faculties collaborate with scholars from different disciplines within and outside the University of Groningen, as well as with governments, NGOs, and various business organisations, such as the Climate Adaptation Platform Northern Netherlands and the Global Centre of Expertise on Climate Adaptation that is based in Groningen and Rotterdam.


We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate who meets the following requirements:

  • MSc-degree in Environmental or Social Psychology, Spatial Planning, Social Geography, Policy Sciences or related Social Science discipline.
  • Knowledge and skills in quantitative empirical research with human subjects, and in qualitative research methods.
  • Experience with theory-driven research with a clear eye for practical implications and the development of policy recommendations
  • Experience or affinity with working in an interdisciplinary setting
  • A team player with strong communication skills
  • Excellent academic writing skills (English)
  • Dutch language proficiency is an absolute plus (or ability to achieve this within a year)
  • Organisation Conditions of employment

    We offer in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities:

  • a monthly salary (based on a 38-hour working week) starting from € 2,770 which increases yearly to a maximum of € 3,539 in the fourth year
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income in May
  • an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance in December
  • a temporary employment of 1.0 FTE for a period of four years. You will first be employed for a period of one year. After a positive result and development interview, the contract will be extended for the remaining period of three years.
  • The intended starting date is: 1 May 2024


    You may apply for this position until 26 Febr. 11:59pm / before 27 February 2024 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

    The application package consists of the following separate documents:

    1. Motivation letter (1 A4 max.) (letter of motivation attachment) 2. Your CV (CV attachment) 3. Scan of your Master diploma including transcripts (extra attachment) 4. Proof of English proficiency and/or Dutch proficiency (extra attachment 2) 5. Other relevant documents (extra attachment 3).

    The documents 1-4 are compulsory and please note that incomplete application packages will not be taken into account.

    The selection of applicants takes place on March 5th. Job interviews will take place on Tuesday March 19th.

    The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage: https: // www.

    Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): https: // www. and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers: https: //

    Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


    For information you can contact:

  • Dr Lise Jans (Environmental Psychology), l.jans
  • Dr L.G.Horlings (Spatial Sciences), L.G.Horlings
  • Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

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