PhD position in Integrated Assessment of Drought Resilience and Alternative Futures in the Context of Climate Change

Research / Academic

The challenge

Freshwater is crucial to sustain life, development, and the environment and lies at the heart of multiple Sustainable Development Goals. All around the world, however, water systems are increasingly under pressure. This is also the case in the border region between the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony, Germany and the provinces of Overijssel, Drenthe and Gelderland, the Netherlands. In this region, an intricate mix of climate change (precipitation patterns), local geography, water systems characteristics, and socio-economic developments exacerbates drought risks. A key challenge for the region, therefore, is how to become more drought resilient – now and in the future. But what constitutes drought resilience in a complex transboundary context? And how can it be achieved? What effect do different pilot measures have to increase the entire region’s drought resilience? Are there tradeoffs between increasing drought resilience and other societal challenges? These and other questions are central in this PhD position.

The position
This PhD position aims to assess and improve drought resilience in abovementioned cross-border region. Together with stakeholders, you will co-develop an indicator framework to assess drought resilience, building on resilience and collaboration literature, as well as on prior knowledge developed by students and colleagues in our department working on related questions. You will use this framework to assess to what extent pilot measures currently implemented in the region are contributing to drought resilience. Next, you critically evaluate the pilot measures with a focus on trade-offs and synergies with other key sectoral challenges, developments and ambitions (such as flood defense, water quality, biodiversity, agriculture). Following these assessments, you facilitate the co-creation of alternative futures for the region, how these can be achieved and what role the upscaling of pilot measures can play. Throughout the PhD trajectory, a strong collaboration with regional partners, policymakers and other stakeholders is expected, not only to acquire qualitative and quantitative information and data but also to co-create the assessment framework, alternative futures and pathways.


  • We are looking for an enthusiastic, professional, and highly motivated candidate;
  • You hold a Master’s degree in a field relevant to the PhD topic, such as Civil Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Engineering, or any other interdisciplinary study connecting Environmental/Water Science, Social Sciences, and Engineering;
  • You are a strong conceptual thinker with outstanding analytical skills;
  • You have strong social skills and enjoy working with stakeholders;
  • A background in one or more of the following topics is an advantage: integrated assessments for sustainability, resilience assessments, scenario analysis, mixed-methods approaches, complex systems analysis, quantitative modelling;
  • You exhibit high levels of self-motivation while also being a team player;
  • You enjoy working in a multidisciplinary research setting with an international research team to achieve both scientific excellence and policy relevance;
  • You can prove your excellent command of the English language and strong (professional) communication skills;
  • Proficiency in German and/or Dutch (or willingness to learn) is a clear advantage.

Salary Benefits:

  • A full-time 4-year PhD-position, starting as soon as possible.
  • We provide excellent mentorship and a stimulating research environment with excellent facilities;
  • You are offered a professional and personal development program within the Twente Graduate School;
  • A starting salary of € 2.770 gross per month in the first year and a salary of € 3.539 in the fourth year gross per month;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • A solid pension scheme;
  • Minimum of 29 holidays per year in case of fulltime employment;
Work Hours:

40 hours per week


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