Vacancy: PhD researcher (100%) Environment and Sustainable Development

The Institute for European Studies (IES), a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), is calling for one full-time doctoral researcher in Environment and Sustainable Development. Prospective PhD candidates are hereby invited to submit project proposals on the theme of governance of the environment in a multi-level context. The deadline for submitting applications is 30 April 2015.

Project description

The environment is governed by a number of overlapping international, EU, regional, national, and local policy measures, yet several aspects of environmental quality nevertheless remain at risk (such as air quality, water quality, soil, the climate, biodiversity, marine resources and many more). Given the many issues facing policymakers at all levels, keeping focus on the importance of protecting and improving the quality of the environment proves challenging, especially in a multi-level context.

Research proposals are invited that explore environmental governance in a multi-level context, with particular emphasis on the EU and international levels. Research should link to overarching themes pursued at the IES, while focusing on a substantive topic of environmental governance. Research proposals that aim to analyse the (democratic) governance of the environment (or one aspect of the environment) in a multi-level and comparative context, where a number of policy problems intersect, are especially welcome.

While the research should link to on-going research in the environment cluster, the proposal should relate to the overarching research themes of the Institute and may also link to topical research in other clusters of the IES. IES key research themes include: the EU in an international context; EU policy effects in external jurisdictions (and vice versa); and balancing values in policymaking and governance.


The successful candidate is required to:

  • Hold a Master’s degree, with excellent results, in a relevant field such as Political Science, European Studies, International Studies, International Relations, Law, Economics, other Social Sciences, Environmental Science.
  • Be fluent in English.
  • Be open to inter-disciplinary research and have excellent analytical skills.


We offer employment as a full time doctoral researcher. The PhD degree will be awarded in political science. For more information about facilities and benefits of employment at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, please visit under the heading ‘future employees’.

Contract: full-time research grant for one year, renewable on an annual basis for a maximum of four years. Extension of the contract is subject to the agreement of the doctoral committee. Remuneration is at the level of a full-time research assistant at a Flemish university (i.e. approximately €1,900 net per month) and includes contributions for social security. Secondary employment is not allowed.

The IES requires that at least a (co)promoter of the project be from the IES. Successful candidates are expected to work at the IES premises in Brussels. Office space and equipment will be provided along with a budget for travelling and other research-related expenses.

The PhD researcher will be expected to devote the majority of his/her time to research, with contribution expected for occasional teaching activities, to event organisation and to the overall development of the institute. The researcher will prepare papers, attend conferences and produce research publications as she/he carries out the PhD.

How to apply?

The PhD candidate will be selected on the basis of the quality of the project proposal, her/his expertise, work experience and qualifications. The following application documents are to be consolidated into a single PDF file sent by email to (subject heading: ‘ESD PhD call’):

  • A one-page motivation letter explaining the candidate’s interest in pursuing a PhD on the chosen topic.
  • A curriculum vitae listing all academic qualifications, relevant research experience and previous publications.
  • A project proposal featuring a literature review, a research question and proposed hypotheses, a methodological outline and an indicative planning, condensed into no more than 3,000 words.
  • A copy of the highest obtained diploma and transcript of academic grades.

Candidates must also provide two letters of recommendation written on their behalf. Referees are requested to send their signed letters directly to

The deadline for applications is 30 April 2015. Short-listed candidates will be informed by early June and interviews with top-listed candidates are expected to take place in the weeks thereafter. The successful candidate can start as of 1 October or as soon as possible thereafter.

Further information

Please visit for more information. Queries can be emailed to and

The IES is committed to creating and supporting a diverse work environment and is an equal opportunity employer.

Job Deadline: 
30 April 2015