Post-doc researcher ‘Value pluralism and biodiversity assessment’

Research / Academic


The postdoctoral researcher will work on the integration of value pluralism into nature conservation initiatives, among others by investigating the functions of biodiversity assessment tools. This project will investigate how and why plural values of nature can be included into biodiversity assessments. Despite actions designed to curb and reverse biodiversity decline, overall progress towards resilient ecosystems and towards reaching biodiversity conservation goals is still weak. This project will zoom in on the plural values of nature (e.g. instrumental, intrinsic and relational values) and assess the (potential for) integration of these values in a range of assessment processes. The often essentially instrumental use of biodiversity assessments by policy-makers and private companies has too often turned these assessments into burdens and symbolic processes, which do not provide added value to decision-making. In order to increase the impact of biodiversity assessments nature valuation should be made (i) more inclusive (multiple knowledge sources, multiple disciplines and plural values) and (ii) more practical, i.e. integrated in biodiversity assessments tools in a way that makes these accessible and fosters learning effects. This debate on plural and inclusive nature valuation has gained momentum since the recent publication of the Values Assessment of IPBES. The researcher will contribute to a better understanding and implementation of the plural values of nature in practice.


The successful applicant will be joining the Department of Environmental Sciences at the Open University. His or her responsibilities include a contribution to the research line on inclusive nature governance. This will entail reviewing the recent literature on the topic, identifying gaps and ways forward in this debate, with regard to both policy and science and proposing novel analytical and practical approaches. Thereby, there will be a focus on existing biodiversity assessment tools and citizen science methods, and how these can be improved in order to incorporate both inclusiveness and impact conditions. The postdoc will take a lead role in dissemination of the results to an academic audience. The successful candidate will also be tasked to support teaching in the bachelor and master program Environmental Sciences.



  • Ph.D.-degree in a science discipline focusing on nature conservation, environmental governance, social environmental studies or environmental philosophy.
  • Proven interdisciplinary academic track record.
  • Knowledge of and experience in empirical research methods, for example surveys.
  • A record of relevant scientific publications including working papers.
  • Ability for and willingness to work in a multidisciplinary team.
  • Ability to teach, and willingness to think about new course material from the project.
  • Very good command of spoken and written English.
  • Excellent report writing and presentation skills. Good time management and organisational skills.

Salary Benefits:


Heerlen (the Netherlands). You are present in Heerlen (at least) two days a week, or will be expected to relocate to the region of Heerlen.


The salary will be determined on the basis of experience and qualifications but will be in accordance with the general salary scale 10 of the CAO-NU. An indication of the maximum gross salary is € 5090,-  per month, for a full-time appointment.

The Open Universiteit provides good secondary benefits such as training, mobility, part-time employment, hybrid work and paid parental leave.

Work Hours:

30.4 hours per week


Postbus 2960