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Post-doctoral Researcher (fixed term, 2 years) in the field of Sustainable Development, Inequalities and Environmental Justice

Erasmus University Rotterdam - International Institute of Social Studies (ISS)

Vacancy for a post-doctoral researcher (fixed term, 2 years) in the field of Sustainable Development, Inequalities and Environmental Justice 

The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS)

The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) is a leading academic centre for international development studies. While based in The Hague, the ISS is part of Erasmus University Rotterdam. ISS was established in 1952 as a post-graduate institute of policy-oriented critical social science and development-oriented research. ISS offers a PhD in Development Studies, a 15,5 months MA in Development Studies, a joint MA in Public Policy (Mundus MAPP), a MPA in Governance delivered in Suriname, and post-graduate Diploma courses. 

ISS brings together a highly diverse international community of scholars and students from both the global South and the global North, on average originating from over 50 different countries. The Institute brings together people, ideas and insights in a multi-disciplinary setting which nurtures, fosters and promotes critical thinking and innovative research on fundamental social problems. The strong partnerships with organizations and individuals in developing countries make up a vibrant network where we co-create knowledge so that teaching and research remain socially relevant. Key to the ISS philosophy and practices is the wish to contribute to achieving social justice and equity on a global level. 

The ISS strategic plan 2019-22 focuses on further development into a research-intensive university institute in The Hague, focussing on academic excellence and high societal relevance of its research and teaching. ISS considers engagement, linking research and teaching to society, to be a –third- important task of the university.

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), named after the 15th century Rotterdam-born humanist and theologian Desiderius Erasmus, is a research university with a strong international orientation and a pronounced social focus, both in its education and research activities. The expertise of Erasmus University Rotterdam is concentrated in eight faculties or institutes focussing on Economics, Medicine and Health Sciences, Law, Social Sciences, History and Arts, Business Administration, Philosophy and Development Studies. In addition to initial degree programmes and scientific research, the University offers specific postgraduate study programmes and courses. Erasmus University has around 25,000 students and approximately 2,800 staff members of more than 100 nationalities. 

The vacancy

The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam is seeking to recruit a post-doctoral researcher to work alongside the holder of the Prince Claus Chair for Development and Equity 2019-2021. The Chair will be held from 1 September 2019 to 31 August 2021 by Professor Gustavo A García López, whose work will focus on sustainable development, inequalities and environmental justice. The post-doctoral research position is partly funded by WOTRO Science for Global Development, a cross-cutting division within the Dutch Research Council (NWO) that funds innovative research on global issues, with a focus on sustainable development and poverty reduction. 

Research domain

The objective of the Prince Claus Chair is to continue the work of Prince Claus (1926-2002) in development and equity. Utrecht University and the International Institute of Social Studies (part of Erasmus University Rotterdam) alternately appoint an outstanding academic from the Global South to the Prince Claus Chair, which was established in early 2003, for the advancement of research and teaching in the field of global development. 

Sustainable development has been placed at the heart of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030. Operationalised through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN’s agenda for sustainable development is strongly normative. One of its basic principles was formulated as follows, in the resolution adopted by the General Assembly in September 2015: “As we embark on this great collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind. Recognizing that the dignity of the human person is fundamental, we wish to see the Goals and targets met for all nations and peoples and for all segments of society. And we will endeavour to reach the furthest behind first.” The concern with global social justice is contained in goals 10 and 16, which respectively aim to:

“reduce inequality within and among countries” and “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” 

The Prince Claus Chairholder will focus on the relationship between sustainable development and notions of environmental justice in different local, national and transnational policy arenas. He will think through the implications of the focus on sustainability as a key element of the global development agenda, going beyond a narrow understanding of inequality and inclusiveness in terms of material wealth, and focusing on inequalities in access to, and use of, the global environment and resources, as well as unequal access to decision-making institutions. In doing this, he will focus on the relationships among sustainable development, environmental justice and transformative environmental governance. The Chairholder will, moreover, consider how the targets of sustainable development can be evaluated on the basis of principles of global social and environmental justice. For this, he will address the role of civil society organizations in advancing more just, inclusive, and sustainable outcomes in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Prof. García López and the post-doctoral researcher will be based at ISS in The Hague. Valorisation and societal relevance will be leading principles behind the research activities. The work of Prof. García López has a multidisciplinary focus and addresses the interface between development, sustainability and environmental studies. 

Task description

The main task of the post-doctoral researcher is to support the Prince Claus Chairholder in the research on sustainable development, inequalities and environmental justice. She/he is expected to carry out research (including fieldwork) related to the incorporation of equity and environmental justice concerns in the policies and programmes related to the implementation of the SDG agenda, and the role of civil society organisations in advancing these concerns. 

The specific research activities undertaken by the researcher will be specified in consultation with the Chairholder, while the researcher is also expected to build her/his own creative engagement with this endeavour. The successful candidate will be encouraged to use her/his past experience to contribute to the conceptual understanding of inequalities and environmental justice in its various dimensions. 


  • Awarded a PhD ideally within the last 4 years.
  • PhD or post-doctoral research experience in a relevant field of study (preferably with a focus on developing/emerging economies).
  • Knowledge about global development, sustainability issues and debates about global social and/or environmental justice.
  • Preferably experience with (field) research in the Global South.
  • Willingness to travel.

Terms and conditions

The successful candidate is expected to start as soon as possible and will be based at ISS in The Hague. A full-time, two year contract with Erasmus University Rotterdam will be offered. In accordance with the conditions applied at Erasmus University Rotterdam as indicated in the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO NU) of the Dutch universities, the salary is set at CAO NU scale 11.0 (€ 3,637 gross per month, on a fulltime basis). In addition, EUR pays an 8% holiday allowance and an end-of-year payment of 8.3% and offers excellent secondary benefits. 

The International Institute of Social Studies is committed to building and sustaining a community based on inclusiveness, equity and diversity and believes this will contribute to our mission and vision of being the best institute in our field. ISS is an equal opportunities employer and encourages applications from candidates of all genders, ethnicities and nationalities.


Additional information can be received by contacting Professor Wil Hout ( or Professor Gustavo García López (  


Please submit your application, including a motivation letter, a recent CV and a statement of purpose, not exceeding 500 words, elaborating on how you intend to contribute to this project by email to the Chair of the selection committee before 9 September 2019. 

Location: The Hague - Netherlands
Salary: €3,637
£3,234.75 converted salary* gross per month.
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 8th July 2019
Closes: 9th September 2019
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* Salary has been converted at the prevailing rate on the date placed
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