2 PhDs positions at the University of Wageningen

2 PhD positions are open in The Environmental Economics and Natural Resources Group (ENR) at the Wageningen University and Research Centre (Wageningen UR). The preferred starting date is 15 January, 2016.

The successful candidates will work within the project “MARine MAnagement and Ecosystem Dynamics under climate change (MARmaED)” an Innovative Training Network funded by the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (The European Union's Horizon 2020) for the period 2015-2019. MARmaED is an international and interdisciplinary network that unifies specific and complementary competences in marine sciences from Norway, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and France to investigate how the cumulative stress from biodiversity loss, climate change and harvesting will affect Europe’s complex marine systems and the consequences for optimal resource management. The project’s main aim is to investigate how combined anthropogenic and climatic changes affect different harvested ecosystems and how management strategies can be improved to ensure sustainable exploitation and resilience. MARmaED will provide salary for 15 PhD projects.

Position 1:Economic value of enhanced fisheries management procedures
It is often suggested that more detailed and accurate data, more advanced stock assessment methods considering more variables and considerations (including social-economic information) will lead to better fisheries management decisions. However, the science that is informing management decisions operates in a realm of high uncertainties of different kinds (technical, methodological, epistemological, societal) and high complexity (system boundaries, ecological, economic, behavioural). In such a case, the framing of problems and solutions may by itself form potential 'institutional traps'. Therefore, the quest for more and better data will be evaluated taking specifically into account roadblocks in the institutional framework to identify potential windows of opportunity and cost-effective solutions.

Position 2: A portfolio approach to operationalize ecosystem-based management in fisheries
The candidate will develop a Portfolio approach in fisheries, considering different species, and their biological and economic interlinkages. The complexity of such linkages, and the uncertainties involved, make it paramount to not only look for the portfolio that offers the highest return, but also consider the portfolio's resilience to exogenous shocks. The trade off between expected return and resilience will be specifically analysed to shed light on the question to what extent ecosystem resilience and high yields in a fishery are conflicting objectives. The portfolio approach could not only be analysed from the point of view of a fishery manager, but also through the lens of fishing companies, who also typically hold a portfolio of quota. Such portfolio may consist of holding quota for various species that can be caught with the same vessel or several vessels that can engage in different fisheries. This allows us to understand how adaptive behaviour of fishing companies affect regulations and vice versa.


  1. The mobility rule of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action is that the person must not have resided more than 12 months in the Netherlands during last 3 years. This will be counted from the date they are selected. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.
  2. Applicants need to be in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their career and not awarded a PhD at the time of their (first) recruitment. Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle him or her to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited.
  3. In addition the positions contain obligatory secondments hosted by MARmaED partners
Fisheries are complex adaptive systems, with delicate feedbacks between the natural environment, resource users, and the institutions governing those resources. While the questions raised in the two sub-projects are applied, they are ideal to address more fundamental questions at the forefront of economic research (e.g. decision theory or endogenous institutions). For both positions, we are equally open towards candidates who envision a theoretical, or an empirical approach. It is expected that the participants have strong prior knowledge in at least one of the following domains:
  • Theoretical modelling (incl. numerical methods, using software such as Matlab, R, or Python)
  • Econometric methods (incl. panel data, spatial econometrics, microeconometrics using software such as STATA or R)
  • Behavioural Economics
  • Fisheries Management (incl. stakeholder interactions, participatory methods, policy analysis)
We search for candidates with an academic background in the economic sciences who have a completed MSc degree (or equivalent) of excellent quality. We also invite applicants from other disciplines, such as biology, if substantial training in economics has been part of the curriculum. The applicants should have a keen interest to work in an interdisciplinary environment with scientists from different disciplines. The candidates should be motivated to spend time at our partner institutes and partner universities (e.g. Hamburg, Helsinki, Copenhagen). A good background in quantitative methods is required, and prior experience with social-ecological systems in general, or fisheries in particular is an advantage. We are looking for candidates with good communication skills across different disciplines and cultural backgrounds, as well as good collaborative and organizational skills. A good command of English is required.


Conditions of employment

Please apply online by October 15, 2015. The application must include:
  • Motivation letter (max two pages)
  • CV (summarizing education, positions and academic work - scientific publications)
  • Copies of educational certificates and transcript of records
  • Letter of recommendation of 1-2 references (name, relation to candidate and e-mail)
Please indicate which of the positions you are interested in, if both please indicate the preferred position.



Wageningen University and Research Centre
Wageningen University is an internationally leading education and research organization that contributes significantly to an improved quality of life. Wageningen University carries out research throughout the knowledge chain in the natural and social sciences, from fundamental research to applied research.

The Environmental Economics and Natural Resources Group (ENR)
ENR is an ambitious, high quality group within the Department of Social Sciences of Wageningen University. Our mission is to contribute to a better understanding of national and international environmental problems and to identify possible solutions, including policy recommendations.



Additional information

For further information, please contact dr. Andries Richter.
Tel. (+31)317 484 738; by email: andries.richter@wur.nl
By Joël Durant
Published Sep. 23, 2015 10:11 AM - Last modified Sep. 23, 2015 11:39 AM