PhD Position in Environmental Political Theory

University of Twente
December 08, 2023
Offerd Salary:€ 2.770
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A

Research Project: "Planetary Justice and Energy Transition Technologies"

This research project investigates the link between planetary justice and the energy transition. It will clarify the planetary justice issues raised by the energy transition, drawing on the triumvirate approach to energy justice that incorporates recognitional justice, distributive justice, and procedural justice. It will also ask whether the theory of planetary justice can stand in the absence of a broader ethical framework, and, if necessary, explore the role other ethical considerations.

The energy transition relies on renewable energy, technologies aiming at sustainable behavior change and energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage, and possibly nuclear energy. The project will start with a review of these technologies to identify whether to focus on a specific type of technology or several of them regarding their potential to promote planetary justice from a multi-level governance perspective.

Key objectives

The objectives of the projects are twofold:

1. To clarify the demands of planetary justice in the context of the energy transition ; 2. To apply planetary justice to the multi-level governance process for the energy transition.

To achieve the first objective, a conceptual literature review covering different fields will be conducted, especially planetary justice, energy justice, and gender justice. At this stage, an intersectional approach will be adopted that focuses on the different and often mutually reinforcing forms of injustices.

Depending on the findings of the review and the skills of the PhD candidate, the second objective can be achieved through:

  • a top-down approach making principles of justice operational by translating them into assessment criteria and indicators;
  • a bottom-up approach including semi-structured interviews, focus group meetings and action research;
  • or a combination of both approaches involving participatory methods, for instance by using the inputs of scholars through interviews or surveys to assess the principles.
  • In any case, the second objective will be pursued through a multi-scalar approach articulating principles of justice with specific energy transition initiatives at the international, national, or sub-national level.

    Your profile

    We are looking for a highly motivated, enthusiastic researcher who is driven by curiosity and has/is:

  • A master's degree in philosophy, with an interest in environmental philosophy, especially environmental ethics and environmental policy and governance OR an undergraduate degree in philosophy with a master in a relevant field, such as environmental or energy governance;
  • Enthusiastic for combining thorough theoretical work with practical applications in the field of energy transition and justice;
  • A strong interest for analyzing and comparing different kinds of energy transition technologies;
  • A good team spirit and like to work in an interdisciplinary and internationally oriented environment;
  • Able to do independent research and willing to develop writing and publication skills;
  • Possess good communication skills and an excellent command of English.
  • The following qualifications would be desired, but are not required:

  • Background in any of the following academic domains: climate justice, energy justice, global justice, gender justice, eco-feminism;
  • Experience with environmental decision-making within academia, government, or civil society;
  • Experience with participatory research methods, such as interviews, focus group meetings and action research.
  • Our offer

    We encourage high responsibility and independence, while collaborating with colleagues, researchers, other university staff and partners. We follow the terms of employment by the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Universities (CAO). Our offer contains: a fulltime 4-year PhD position with a qualifier in the first year; excellent mentorship in a stimulating research environment with excellent facilities; and a personal development program within the Twente Graduate School. It also includes:

  • Gross monthly salary of € 2.770 in the first year, increasing each year up to € 3.539 in the fourth year;
  • Excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme;
  • 29 holidays per year in case of full-time employment;
  • A training programme as part of the Twente Graduate School where you and your supervisors will settle a plan for a suitable education and supervision;
  • A green campus with free access to sports facilities and an international scientific community;
  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid);
  • A full status as an employee at the UT, including pension, health care benefits and good secondary conditions are part of our collective labour agreement CAO-NU for Dutch universities.
  • Information and application

    Are you interested to be part of our team? Please submit your application before December 8th 2023 and include:

  • A cover letter (maximum 2 pages A4), emphasizing your specific interest, qualifications, experience, and motivations to apply for this position;
  • A Curriculum Vitae, including a list of all courses attended and grades obtained, and, if applicable, a list of publications and references;
  • A writing sample;
  • Contact information for two academic references;
  • for non-native English speakers An IELTS-test, Internet TOEFL test (TOEFL-iBT), or a Cambridge CAE-C (CPE). Applicants with a non-Dutch qualification and who have not had secondary and tertiary education in English can only be admitted with an IELTS-test showing a total band score of at least 6.5, internet. TOEFL test (TOEFL-iBT) showing a score of at least 90, or a Cambridge CAE-C (CPE).
  • Additional information can be acquired via email from Michel Bourban ([email protected]).

    About the department

    About the Philosophy Section

    The section is internationally leading in the philosophy and ethics of technology (https: // www. The section also participates in the interuniversity 4TU.Center for Ethics and Technology (www. Both the section and the Center have a strong international orientation and include members from many different nationalities. Within the section, there is a large and growing group of researchers in environmental philosophy, who have joined forces in the Environmental Philosophy of Technology working group.

    About the ESDiT Programme

    The Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies is a ten-year international research programme of seven academic institutions in the Netherlands (https: // www. It strives to achieve breakthrough research at the intersection of ethics, philosophy, technology, engineering and social sciences. A key objective is to investigate how new technologies challenge moral values and ontological concepts (like “nature”, “human being” and “community”), and how these challenges necessitate a revision of these concepts. The PhD candidate will join the “Nature, life and human intervention” research line.

    About the organisation

    The Faculty of Behavioral, Management and Social sciences (BMS) aims to play a key role in understanding, jointly developing and evaluating innovations in society. Technological developments are the engine of innovation. As a technical university that puts people first, we tailor them to human needs and behavior and use social engineering to integrate them into society. We also ensure adequate governance at public and private level, and robust, inclusive and fair organizational structures. We do this by developing, sharing and applying high-quality knowledge in Psychology, Business Administration, Public Administration, Communication Sciences, Philosophy, Educational Sciences and Health Sciences. Our research and education in these disciplines revolves around tackling and solving societal challenges. The research programs of BMS are closely linked to the research of the UT institutes Mesa+ Institute for Nanotechnology, TechMed Center and Digital Society Institute.

    As an employer, the Faculty of BMS offers work that matters. We equip you to create new possibilities for yourself and for our society. With us, you will become part of a leading technical university with increasing, positive social impact. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial atmosphere, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example through our flexible, adaptable benefits.

    Want to know more? Bourban, M. (Michel)

    Assistant Professor

    Bourban, M. (Michel)

    Assistant Professor

    Do you have questions about this vacancy? Then you can contact Michel for all substantive questions about this position and the application procedure. For general questions about working for the UT, please refer to the chatbot.



    Email:[email protected]

    How to apply Step 1

    Apply. When you see a vacancy that appeals to you, you can apply online. We ask you to upload a CV and motivation letter and/or list of publications. You will receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail.

    Step 2

    Selection. The selection committee will review your application and you will receive a response within 2 weeks after the vacancy has been closed.

    Step 3

    1st interview. The 1st (online or in person) meeting serves as an introduction where we introduce ourselves to you and you to us. You may be asked to give a short presentation. This will be further explained in the invitation.

    Step 4

    2nd interview. In the second interview, we will further discuss the job content, your skills and your talents.

    Step 5

    The offer. If the conversations are positive, you will be made a suitable offer.

    Your Colleagues
  • Brey, P.A.E. (Philip)
  • Personal page

  • Özerol, G. (Gül)
  • Personal page

  • Lenzi, D. S. (Dominic)
  • Personal page

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  • Our mission We are a university of technology
  • Our university is a public institution that serves society. We are accountable to society for the ways in which we use our academic freedom. We are responsible for ensuring that the power of science and technology is harnessed to achieve the best possible impact in a changing world. We cherish our rich tradition of combining technical and social sciences in our five profiling themes: Improving healthcare by personalized technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

  • Our mission We help to strengthen society
  • We help society meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. But we are also transparent about what science and technology can and cannot do in finding sustainable solutions. And help translate these solutions into everyday life.

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  • We want our communities to flourish and show resilience, so we seize opportunities for innovation. We are knowledgeable and have an eye for what society needs. Our students and staff receive all the guidance they need in their quest for ecological, social and economic sustainability. “The University of Twente is all about people. Our sustainable technologies help to strengthen society.”

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