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PhD position: Innovative financial instruments for sustainable landscapes (222540)

03 August 2022

Job description

The need for halting biodiversity loss and maintaining and improving other ecosystem services and landscape quality is broadly felt across the world and this motivates the project: Good intentions in nature and landscape conservation by stakeholders are often hindered by the lack of financial resources. During the last decades, nature conservationists and entrepreneurs have initiated experiments with new financial instruments. In several of these, ‘customers’ pay for ecosystem services (i.e. those cultural, regulating or provisioning services not covered by regular markets). However, the most efficient and effective ways for doing so are unclear, especially since information and transaction costs are high. Combining expertise in sustainable finance, ecosystem services, and nature and landscape valuation, this project engages in a series of experiments with landscape securities as a standardized low-transaction-cost form of financial support, held by both businesses and citizens. The project joins forces with the Northern Netherlands National Parks and NWB Bank and other important stakeholders in a co-production of knowledge approach. The experiments are place based and builds among others on the greenmapper software developed by the University of Groningen (

The Rudolph Agricola School for Sustainable Development organizes interdisciplinary research about sustainable development. The PhD candidate will be enrolled in the graduate school of Economics and Business. The supervision team consists of Prof. dr Klaus Hubacek (Faculty of Science and Engineering), Prof. dr Bert Scholtens (Faculty of Economics and Business) and Dr Frans Sijtsma (Faculty of Spatial Sciences). The PhD candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Economics & Business and will attend research meetings and other activities at the three faculties.


The PhD candidate is expected to:

  • have a relevant master degree in the environmental or social sciences (financial economics, environmental sciences, spatial sciences)
  • have expertise and/or proven interest in Financial instruments and bank risk management, Ecosystem services and their valuation, Landscape and landscape valuation
  • be able to conduct multidisciplinary and integrative analysis
  • be able to engage with non-academic organizations, citizens and NGOs
  • be able to show perseverance, flexibility, project management and collaboration skills
  • be fluent in Dutch and English (both oral and written)
  • be able to finish the PhD thesis in four years
  • enjoy planning and taking initiatives
  • enjoy academic writing and have the desire to publish
  • be able and willing to work in Groningen, in an international and interdisciplinary environment.


Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the approximately 36,000 candidates and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

The University of Groningen has four schools where it facilitates both interdisciplinary cooperation and cooperation with the outside world. The schools act as breeding ground for interdisciplinary teaching, research and outreach. The Rudolph Agricola School for Sustainable Development of the University of Groningen has been awarded a PhD position on a research proposal about the use of “green finance” and new financial instruments to promote the conservation of natural ecosystems and protect biodiversity. The project is made possible by the Ubbo Emmius Fund’s M20 program. The M20 Program's goal is to develop scholars with the interdisciplinary foundation required to address society’s most pressing challenges. The program complements the University of Groningen’s vision to turn knowledge into impact by prioritizing interactions with the private sector, public actors and nonprofits.

This vacancy is for a PhD project on the topic:
PhD position: Innovative financial instruments for sustainable landscapes

Conditions of employment

We offer, following the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

  • a temporary position of 1.0 FTE for a period of four years. You will first be appointed for a period of 12 months. After a positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for the remaining period
  • a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year of the appointment, rising to € 3,247 gross per month in the fourth year for a full-time position
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% year-end bonus
  • a pension scheme and. excellent secondary terms of employment.

An assessment may be part of the procedure, consisting of psychological tests and an interview.

Starting date: October 1, 2022


Do you meet our criteria? If yes, your application should include the following separate documents:

1. a motivation letter
2. your CV
3. a scan of your diploma including transcripts
4. proof of English proficiency
5. other relevant documents.

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

You may apply for this position until 4 September 11:59pm / before 5 September 2022 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

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:

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

We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

  • For general information on the application procedure,  somvacancies
  • Bert Scholtens, for information on the content,  l.j.r.scholtens

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.


Last modified:03 August 2022 4.44 p.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

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