Two PhD positions at the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences in the NWO VIDI Project “Nature’s Diplomats: Ecological Experts and the Conservation Policy of International Organizations, 1930-2000”

Job description

The PhD candidates will participate in a four-year research project that will explore the role ecological experts have played in international organizations for nature protection, from the 1930s to today. The overall aim of the study is twofold. Firstly, the project will investigate how ecologists have historically combined the role of (neutral) expert with the explicit advocacy of nature protection. Secondly, the project will assess how the local roots of the ecologists influenced the ideas, approaches and values they defended at the international level. The institutions concerned range from the Office Internationale pour la Protection de la Nature, over the World Wildlife Fund to the European Union.
The project will include archival research in several European countries, the setting up of a database and the interviewing of key witnesses.Next to the contribution to scholarly publications we expect from the candidates an active engagement in the preparation of conferences and workshops.


We seek candidates with strong academic abilities and the ambition to become excellent researchers. You have completed a research master (MSc, MPhil) in History, History of Science, Science and Technology Studies, or an equivalent 2-year degree in Ecology, Environmental Studies, or Political Science, in which a historical perspective played a role. Outstanding students with a 1-year regular master can be accepted in exceptional cases when they show a specific profile.

We are looking for a prospective PhD candidate with:

  • Background in History,  Science and Technology Studies, or Study of Nature Conservation;
  • Affinity with History of Science and/or Environmental History;
  • Strong analytical capacity and organisational skills;
  • Excellent writing skills in English;
  • Knowledge of (or a willingness to learn) Dutch;
  • Knowledge of German and (particularly) French are an asset;
  • Willingness and proven ability to work in a team.

The PhD-candidate will be enrolled in one of the Netherlands Graduate Research Schools as well as in the FASoS graduate school, and supervised by Dr. R. de Bont (Maastricht University) and Prof. Dr. E. Homburg.
The PhD student will be based at Maastricht University.

Conditions of employment

Wat we have to offer:
We offer a 4-year full-time PhD contract. (The first year will be a probation period, after a positive assessment the position will be extended with another three years.) You will be employed by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Compensation will be according to standard salary levels for PhD students starting with a salary of € 2042,- with a yearly growth to € 2612,- gross a month (based on a full-time appointment). The gross yearly salary, according to standard salary levels for PhD students, is about € 28.498,- during the first year, with a yearly growth to about € 36.453,- during the fourth year (based on a full-time appointment). If you do not already live in Maastricht (or its direct surroundings) you will be eligible for an allowance for removal costs.  
You will be provided with shared office space and a PC.

Contract type: Temporary, 4 years

See for further details and how to apply.