PhD Candidate: Between Unity and Diversity: Local Implementation of EU Environment and Nature Policy

0.8 - 1.0 FTE
Gross monthly salary
€ 2,541 - € 3,247
Required background
Research University Degree
Organizational unit
Nijmegen School of Management
Application deadline
Are you an aspiring researcher with an interest in EU policy making and implementation as well as subnational governance and politics? And would you like to examine how subnational governments deal with the EU environment and nature policy implementation? Then join our green, modern campus and open, personal work environment as a PhD candidate, where we stimulate you to learn new things and develop your skills.

The uniform implementation of European Union (EU) environment and nature policies leads to increasing problems regarding effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy at the subnational level. In this project you will investigate how subnational governments in selected EU member states deal with problems related to the implementation of EU environment and nature policy.

EU environment and nature policies increasingly clash with physical conditions and policy preferences at the subnational (local and/or regional) level. Responses range from impressive efforts to deal with uniform requirements from 'Brussels' to pleas for more room for subnationally differentiated implementation.

In this project, you will study and analyse strategies of subnational authorities (municipalities, provinces, regions, etc.) to cope with EU requirements in the field of environment and nature. The project will follow a comparative approach, comparing different subfields (e.g. water, air, climate, nature, etc.) and/or different subnational authorities in one or more EU member states. Within this frame, you will be free to develop your own research focus and research design. Please include in your application a brief outline of your research idea.

During the project, your task will be to further elaborate the research plan, to set up and perform data collection, to conduct sound analyses, to write academic articles, and to complete your PhD thesis before the assigned deadline. In doing so, you will apply a variety of research methods, for example document analysis and expert interviews. Quantitative methods of data gathering such as surveys are an option as well. You are invited to disseminate your work to subnational authorities and other interested stakeholders. You will participate in conferences, organise academic and/or non-academic workshops/seminars, and contribute to teaching at the Nijmegen School of Management.


  • You have a Master's degree in Political Science, Public Administration, Environmental Studies or a related field, encompassing at least a basic understanding of European Union (EU) policy making and implementation and of subnational governance and politics.
  • You have excellent knowledge of advanced qualitative and/or quantitative research methods, and are keen to further develop this knowledge.
  • You have academic excellence, as demonstrated by grade transcripts and CV.
  • You have an excellent command of written and spoken English. A basic command of the language(s) of the country or countries in which your cases are situated will be an asset.
  • You have the willingness and capacity to conduct extensive fieldwork in the case study country or countries.
  • You are able to work independently as well as in close cooperation with the daily supervisor and other members of the research project or research group.
  • You are able to finish the PhD project before the assigned deadline: you have strong skills in project management, flexibility, a proactive approach, and excellent academic writing skills.
  • You have professional and scientific integrity and the necessary social skills required for fieldwork and interviews.

We are

Nijmegen School of Management enables students, institutions and companies, societal actors and governments to play their part in a transformation towards sustainable societies. In doing so, the faculty is committed to the mission of Radboud University as contributing to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. 

In the context of our mission 'Responsible governance for sustainable societies', we address scientific and societal challenges from a good governance perspective. Our work focuses on the topics Beyond economy, Climate, Inclusivity, Safety, and Democracy. By building, questioning and extending the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG's), we acknowledge their interrelatedness and focus on a number of grand challenges within society. On topics such as inequality, gender, decent work and poverty, we contribute to innovation and sustainable growth. Besides that, we address environmental and climate challenges, which we seek to contribute towards resolving.

At Nijmegen School of Management, academic research and teaching are carried out in challenging educational programmes. These programmes are offered in the areas of Business Administration, Economics and Business Economics, Geography, Planning and Environment, Political Science and Public Administration. Academic research takes place within the Institute for Management Research (IMR). Research is carried out within the above mentioned domains and in interdisciplinary research groups: the Hot Spots. Around 5,000 students study at the Nijmegen School of Management, and the faculty has around 400 FTE staff.

Both Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes are offered in the seven focus areas, which are organised in NSM's educational institute. The educational programme is characterised by small-scale teaching and provides a stimulating learning environment with an emphasis on the development of academic skills. NSM currently has approximately 5,000 students. NSM's research activities fall under the responsibility of the interdisciplinary Institute for Management Research (IMR). Under the motto 'Responsible Governance for Sustainable Societies', our researchers carry out state-of-the-art research into complex problems of governance and management, in order to explain the causes of these problems, and to use that knowledge to create potential solutions. They combine knowledge and expertise from multiple disciplines with collaboration with relevant societal actors.

You will be embedded within the department of Geography, Planning and Environment (GPE) and affiliated to the department of Public Administration. The two departments are leading centres of EU and environmental policy analysis, with a strong profile in teaching and developing advanced research methods. Research activities fall under the responsibility of the interdisciplinary Institute for Management Research (IMR). Under the motto 'Creating knowledge for society', IMR focuses on academic research into the development, design and effectiveness of the public and private structures that regulate, govern or manage human interactions. You will also be embedded in the multidisciplinary research group EUROPAL, which unites researchers working on matters of EU policy, administration and law, at both the Institute for Management Research and the Faculty of Law.

Radboud University

We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!

We offer

  • It concerns an employment for 0.8 (5 year contract) - 1.0 FTE (4 year contract).
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,541 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,247 from the fourth year onwards (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract) or 3.5 years (5 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.

Additional employment conditions

Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.

Would you like more information?

For questions about the position, please contact Duncan Liefferink, Associate Professor at +31 24 361 19 25 or duncan.liefferink [at] Alternatively, you can contact Ellen Mastenbroek, Professor at +31 24 361 30 22 or ellen.mastenbroek [at]

Practical information and applying

You can apply until 5 October 2022, exclusively using the button below. Kindly address your application to Duncan Liefferink. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:
  • A letter of motivation.
  • Your CV, including the contact details of at least two references.
  • A brief research idea (max. 500 words).
  • A transcript of grades.
  • A sample of academic writing skills, e.g. an MA thesis.
The first round of interviews will take place on Friday 4 November. The second round of interviews will take place on Tuesday 15 November. You would preferably begin employment on 1 January 2023.

We can imagine you're curious about our application procedure. It offers a rough outline of what you can expect during the application process, how we handle your personal data and how we deal with internal and external candidates.
Apply now Application deadline

We would like to recruit our new colleague ourselves. Acquisition in response to this vacancy will not be appreciated.

Dr Liefferink, J.D. (Duncan)

Associate Professor
+31 24 361 19 25

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