Call for applications for Joint PhD Program WUR, CGIAR and SIPRI on climate security

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We are looking for

Wageningen University and Research (WUR), CGIAR, and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) are looking for 3 outstanding candidates for our joint PhD program on Climate Security and Food Systems. The selected candidates are expected to start doctoral studies in Fall 2020. These positions emerge from a novel institutional collaboration connecting WUR, CGIAR and SIPRI. This consortium is charting a thematic connection between different areas of research and practice linking food systems to security and conflict.

The objective is to uncover and maximize synergies, focusing not only on eliciting integrated research but on complementing it with the most effective supporting role in policy development and advocacy. Specifically, we are interested in understanding the role of climate in exacerbating instability, conflict, and tension via food systems. The selected PhD candidates will work under a common and jointly developed framework, with each of them focusing on a specific geographic area. One PhD project will be on the Sahel, one on the Ganges Delta in Bangladesh and one the Mekong Delta.

Working with CGIAR and SIPRI

While doing the PhD-project the candidates will also spend several months in Stockholm contributing to SIPRI’s Climate Change and Risk Programme. Given growing awareness of the complex causes and dynamics of violent conflicts, the appreciation for nuanced analysis of climate-related security risks has grown amongst policymakers.

Governments, international organizations and local practitioners are placing greater emphasis on the value of sound evidence as the basis for policy. Time spent at SIPRI will allow candidates to experience an environment where researchers contribute to policy decisions through evidence-based policy recommendations. During the fieldwork, the candidates will be based in the project regions working closely with CGIAR staff, national partners and other institutions, during that time the candidate will be hosted by CGIAR or by national partner institutions.

Project proposals

We invite PhD projects that develop new research on climate, conflict, and food security within the broader field of food systems and natural resource management. As part of the application procedure you will write a one-page research idea, to be worked out after recruitment. Priority will be given to creative and innovative proposals aimed at unraveling the mechanisms linking climate (variability), conflict and food (in-)security within or across the following thematic foci:

  1. Ecological instability, food insecurity
  2. Political change, contestation and conflicts in the context of climate stressors and climate policies
  3. Analysis of climate security issues and pathways policy advice and policy implementation
  4. Interface between climate, security and complexity/networks theory and practical applications

We are looking for candidates with quantitative and/or qualitative research experience. A background or previous research experience in agriculture (broadly defined, e.g., farming, fishing, herding), food systems, environment, security studies, security policy, conflict, conflict prevention, and/or peacebuilding is desired. Candidates should be able to work in an interdisciplinary team composed of junior and senior researchers.

Conditions and application

We ask

The successful candidate will meet the following academic qualifications:

  1. A completed MSc or MPhil degree
  2. If the candidate is non-Dutch, from a non-Anglophone country and has not completed the higher education with English as the language of instruction, an internationally recognized Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language should be submitted. Minimum required scores:
    • TOEFL internet-based 90, with minimum sub-score 23 for speaking
    • IELTS 6.5, with minimum sub-score 6.0 for speaking
    • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) with minimum grade B
    • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) any grade
    • Test results must be dated within 24 months prior to the application
  3. Previous experience of undertaking research (e.g. undergraduate or taught master’s dissertation)
  4. Good understanding of and experience in using quantitative and/or qualitative research methods in the social sciences
  5. Knowledge of development issues in dryland regions of Africa, or Delta Areas in South and Southeast Asia
  6. Familiarity with planning and implementing independent research in developing countries
  7. Fluency in the language spoken in the candidate’s chosen case study is desirable
  8. Personal attributes:
    • Able to, under guidance, complete independent work successfully
    • Personal resilience and strong cross-cultural communication skills

We offer

We offer a so-called PhD-sandwich scholarship position of 4 years, while being attached to a CGIAR center or institution in the South for the full duration of the project. The scholarship will provide for 24 months of stay in Wageningen and Stockholm and 24 months in the project country and region (Sahel, Bangladesh, Mekong Delta).

The scholarship provides:

  1. A living allowance during your stay at Wageningen University
  2. An adapted living allowance for your stay in the project country
  3. A stay as guest researcher of 6 months at SIPRI
  4. A budget for the field research
  5. Health insurance
  6. Travel costs from your home country to the Netherlands and Sweden
  7. Support to obtain a residence permit for your stay in the Netherlands

You will be working under the guidance of researchers and staff of the three consortium partners and in collaboration with other research programs on climate change and climate-related conflicts at Wageningen University.

More information

This vacancy is open up to and including the 1st of October, 2020. We want to plan the first job interviews soon afterward.

Do you want to apply? The full vacancy can be found on

General information about the Wageningen University PhD program is available on

For more information about these positions you can contact prof Han van Dijk by e-mail:

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