PhD-researcher “Land Governance for Equitable and Sustainable Development’

Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

The Faculty of Geosciences offers education and research concerning the geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and anthroposphere. With a population of 2,200 students (BSc and MSc) and 575 staff, the faculty is a strong and challenging organization. The Faculty is organized in four Departments: Innovation and Environmental Sciences, Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, and Human Geography and Planning.

The section International Development Studies (IDS) at the department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning at Utrecht University is calling applicants for the position:

PhD-researcher “Land Governance for Equitable and Sustainable Development’ (F/M)

Job description

In 2010 a new IS-academy on ‘land governance’ will be launched entitled: ‘Land Governance for Equitable and Sustainable Development’. This IS-academy will generate, analyse, synthesize and disseminate knowledge on how land governance can contribute to equitable and sustainable development in line with the Millennium Development Goals. The guiding question is how to optimize the link between land governance, sustainable development and poverty alleviation.

This IS-academy will operate as a partnership between International Development Studies (UU, leading partner), Agriterra, African Studies Center ( Leiden ), Disaster Studies ( Wageningen University ), HIVOS, KIT, Triodos Facet and DDE (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

In the framework of this IS-academy, we will initiate two PhD projects related to the following themes:

1.Conflict-induced displacement and return, with specific attention to land governance. This project should contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of land disputes related to displacement, return and resettlement in the wake of violent conflict as well as the governance challenges involved (related to the changing legitimacy and capacity of local state or customary institutions, legal pluralism, and decentralization, amongst others). It should contribute ideas on how to improve land governance in these contexts, taking into account issues of gender and generations. Region: preferably Sub-Saharan Africa or Latin America (comparative approach)

Supervision: International Development Studies ( Utrecht University ) in collaboration with Disaster Studies ( Wageningen University )

2. Hotspots for large scale land acquisitions: how to optimize the opportunities for local development. This research should preferably focus on a number of hotspots for large-scale land acquisition, while analysing the local responses (also by local government) and the consequences for equitable and sustainable development at various levels. This project should contribute to recommendations on how to deal with large-scale land acquisitions so as to produce positive change for society. Region: preferably Sub-Saharan Africa (comparative approach).

Supervision: International Development Studies ( Utrecht University ) in collaboration with the African Studies Centre ( Leiden )


Candidates should meet the following criteria:

-MA/MSc in Social Sciences with a development orientation (Geography, Anthropology, Development Economics, Development Studies, Conflict Studies, Political Sciences);

-experience in doing field research (preferably Sub-Saharan Africa) in related topics;

-interest to work in close collaboration with the indicated partner organizations of the IS academy and willing to contribute to policy debates.

Terms of employment

We offer two PhD positions (1 0f each) with an initial 12 month contract. After a positive evaluation this contract will be extended to a maximum of 36 more months (a total of four years maximum) and with the specific intent that it will result in a doctorate within this period.

The salary for a full time appointment starts at € 2,042 and increases to € 2,612 gross per month in the fourth year of the appointment.

The salary will be supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition we offer a pension scheme and flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities.

Further details

Start of the project: May 1 (or a.s.a.p. in consultation) .

More information can be obtained from Prof. dr. E.B. Zoomers (email: a.zoomers@geo. )

How to apply

Candidates interested in these PhD-positions are invited to write an application letter (with a clear motivation), a short paper (max. 1000 words), analysing the issues at stake and outlining their initial research ideas and a CV. Selected candidates will be invited for an interview.

Your application can be submitted to: Faculty of Geosciences, Personnel Department, P.O. Box 80.115, 3508 TC Utrecht, the Netherlands, or (preferably) by e-mail to: PenO@geo.uu. nl Please mention vacancy number (see website Geosciences UU).

Deadline for applications: March 22, – 2010