PhD Position – Ethics of Living with Large Predators; Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands)

PhD Position – Ethics of Living with Large Predators
Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Faculty of Science
Vacancy number: 62.75.12
Closing date: 11 November 2012 


The Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (ISIS) offers a PhD position within the VIDI project ‘Reading the Landscape. A Hermeneutic Approach to Environmental Ethics’, funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).
This overall project aims to develop a new approach to environmental ethics in order to deal with moral conflicts arising from ongoing, large-scale landscape changes directed towards ‘rewilding’. It builds on the idea that landscapes are interpreted in various ways, and that environmental narratives based on these readings play a key role in our moral relationships with the environment. Understanding the meaning of a landscape is part of an ongoing dialogue about who ‘we’ are and what the world is to ‘us’. By examining relevant ethical narratives at play in these conflicts, this project seeks to overcome the deadlock in moral debates on issues regarding landscape change and to help deepen moral debates on ecological restoration projects in cultural landscapes.
The sub-project ‘The Ethics of Living with Large Predators’ will examine normative motives at play in conflicts involving the reintroduction of live predators such as wolves and other ‘inconvenient’ species, which challenges our perceived notions of identity and our sense of place.
The PhD project will be carried out under the supervision of principal investigator Dr. Martin Drenthen and Prof. dr. Hub Zwart or Prof. dr. Jozef Keulartz.

As a PhD researcher you will have the following tasks: designing and conducting research, providing project-related training, and performing limited teaching duties. You will be expected to present your research results in renowned scientific journals and at international conferences. The research should lead to a PhD thesis.

Work environment

Radboud University Nijmegen is one of the leading academic communities in the Netherlands. Renowned for its leafy campus, modern buildings and state-of-the-art equipment, it has nine faculties and enrols over 17,500 students in approximately 90 study programmes. The university is located in Nijmegen, the oldest city in the Netherlands, close to the German border. Nijmegen has a rich history and one of the liveliest city centres in the Netherlands.

The Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (ISIS) is part of the Faculty of Sciences. Its mission is to analyse, assess and improve the societal embedding of science and technology through research, education and communication in close collaboration with other institutes of the Faculty of Science. ISIS conducts research into visions of nature, sustainable technologies and the role of scientific expertise in knowledge societies. ISIS also provides education to Master’s students of the Faculty of Science. It offers several courses in the fields of Sciences and Society, Philosophy, Water and Nature Management, Science Communication (C track) and Management and Technology (MT track).

The ISIS Centre for Nature and Society (CNS) combines research in the fields of environmental philosophy, social environmental science and environmental ethics with environmental science. It aims to expand our understanding of the relationship between humans and the natural world, and to contribute to a more sustainable society.

What we expect from you

You should have a Master’s degree in Philosophy or in another discipline relevant to the research project (or the date of obtaining the degree must have been officially set). You should have an interest in the ethical dimensions of contemporary nature conservation issues, and be familiar with the tradition of phenomenology and/or philosophical hermeneutics. Furthermore, you should have a talent for research and for communicating with various audiences (in writing and in person), and be willing to participate in an interdisciplinary research team. Finally, you should have the following competences: conceptual ability, presentation, planning and organization, and progress monitoring.

What we have to offer

We offer you:
– employment: 1,0 fte;
– in addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
– The gross starting salary amounts to €2,042 per month based on full-time employment, and will increase to €2,612 per month in the fourth year;
– duration of the contract: 4 years;
– you will be appointed 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;
– you will be classified as a PhD student (promovendus) in the Dutch university job-ranking system (UFO).

Are you interested in our excellent employment conditions?

Would you like to know more?
Further information on: ISIS
dr. Martin Drenthen
Telephone: +31 24 3652730


Are you interested?
Please include with your application a CV, a letter of motivation, a research statement explaining your research interests and how they relate to the project, a short summary of your Master’s thesis (2 pages max.), a list of all university courses taken, and the names and contact details of two referees.

It is Radboud University Nijmegen’s policy to only accept applications by e-mail. Please send your application, stating vacancy number 62.75.12, to, for the attention of Ms W. van der Pluijm, before 11 November 2012.
For more information on the application procedure: +31 24 3652131