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PhD scholarship, Political Ecologies of Payments for Ecosystem Services and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Nicaragua and Guatemala - 2020BAPIOBEF167

The Institute of Development Policy of the University of Antwerp is seeking to fill a full-time (100%) vacancy for a

PhD scholarship in the area of Political Ecologies of Payments for Ecosystem Services and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Nicaragua and Guatemala

Your research is situated in the IOB research field of “Development Processes, Actors and Policies”. More specifically, your research focus matches the research line “environment and sustainable development”, and seeks to engage with questions of power and social dynamics pertaining to indigenous peoples, women and/or young adults. Your research is part of a broader project funded by the Research Foundation of Flanders (FWO) (More information on the project can be found here).

Through a comparative analysis of Payments for Ecosystem Services and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Nicaragua and Guatemala, you study how these policies become socially embedded, to what extent they succeed or fail to reshape nature-society relations, and how they change resource use behaviour in socially and culturally diverse contexts.

Job description

  • As part of this project, you undertake a PhD degree in the field of development studies at the Institute of Development Policy (IOB) of the University of Antwerp, under the supervision of Professors Gert Van Hecken (IOB) and Jennifer Casolo (Nitlapan-UCA, Nicaragua):
  • You publish scientific articles related to the research project of the assignment.
  • You contribute to research at the Institute of Development Policy (IOB).

Profile and requirements

  • You hold a master degree in development studies and/or in a related social science discipline.
  • You can submit outstanding academic results
  • You have experience and/or commitment to collaborative/action-research approaches
  • Students in the final year of their degree can also apply.
  • Foreign candidates are encouraged to apply.
  • Your academic qualities comply with the requirements stipulated in the university’s policy.
  • You are quality-oriented, conscientious, creative and cooperative.
  • Your research adopts a multidisciplinary methodological perspective, includes fieldwork and preferably uses a combination of qualitative (and, possibly, also quantitative) methods, in accordance with the IOB Research Strategy 2017-2022.
  • You are fluent in English and Spanish.
  • Previous experience with development and/or research processes in the South, and especially in Latin American contexts, is highly valued.
  • You are committed to conducting long-term field work in Guatemala and Nicaragua and are able to handle situations of high contingency where you may have to alter your research design to adjust to changing country conditions.

We offer

  • a doctoral scholarship for a period of four years;
  • the start date of scholarship will be between October 1st and December 1st 2020;
  • a gross monthly grant ranging from € 2.447,20 - € 2.596,27;
  • a dynamic and stimulating work environment.

How to apply?

  • Applications may only be submitted online until the closing date June 1st 2020 and should include a copy of your CV, a cover letter, and as a short statement (in English, max. 750 words) clarifying your proposed methodology for this research project (Make sure to submit all three documents!)
  • A pre-selection will be made from amongst the submitted applications.
  • The remainder of the selection procedure is specific to the position and will be determined by the selection panel.
  • The interviews of the candidates, preselected by a selection panel, will take place from June 18th until July 3rd 2020.
  • More information about the application form can be obtained from For questions about the profile and the description of duties, please contact Prof. Gert Van Hecken (

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