Are you looking for a challenging position in a dynamic setting? The Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies ( currently has a vacant PhD position as part of the LINKAGES project funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). LINKAGES addresses how value-chains of socio-biodiversity products, grounded in local knowledge and produced in forest, agroforestry, and floodplain-lakes, can support local economies and regional transformation towards inclusive and sustainable bioeconomies for the Brazilian Amazon. The project team at ARTES will be led by principal investigator dr. Fabio de Castro.

ARTES is one of the five Research Schools within the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research. ARTES is home to more than 50 scholars and 25 PhD candidates. ARTES research engages with political, intellectual and institutional cultures in their national as well as transnational dimensions.

As an interdisciplinary and transnational Research School, ARTES aims to go beyond traditional ‘area’ and ‘regional’ studies approaches, focusing also on the re-making and relations between world and regional orders, borders, and identities, historically and in today’s world.

What are you going to do?

From local to international markets, socio-biodiversity products represent the region’s largest and most inclusive bioeconomies in tropical regions, providing income and employment for a vast population in rural and urban areas. Yet, these value-chains tend to promote value-aggregation, proportionally to the distance these products travel from their place of origin and producers’ hands. Through a critical perspective to the bioeconomy agenda and practices in the Brazilian Amazon, the project aims to contribute to value-aggregation, benefit sharing, and multifunctional landscape outcomes for families, communities, and municipalities at the basis of these value-chains as a pathway to regional transformation.

The project will focus on two regions  – the Estuary/Acará Valley and the Lower Amazon/Santarem – characterised by mosaic, fast-changing landscapes – to co-produce applied knowledge on three major groups of socio-biodiversity products in forest, agroforestry, and floodplain-lakes systems. Through inter- and transdisciplinary knowledge co-production, involving small-scale producers, socioenvironmental NGOs, and sustainability-oriented businesses, the project will address 1) the economic and social contributions of socio-biodiverse products’ value-chains; 2) how these value-chains can promote sustainable multifunctional landscapes; and 3) how stakeholders can be engaged in knowledge co-production and exchange to strengthen place-based value-chains.

The project team is composed by eight partners, including universities, NGOs and one farmers’ cooperative and will be supported by four PhD students, two Post-docs and several Master students. The current PhD project will be carried out in collaboration with the project team, and must contribute to the regional analysis of the socio-biodiversity products value chains. The research is embedded in  an interdisciplinary approach and combines quantitative and qualitative methods. Questions to be addressed include:

  • What is the role of socio-biodiversity products in the local and regional economy?
  • How can socio-biodiversity products’ value chains reconcile goals of sustainability, inclusion and economic development for the region?
  • What is the role of small-scale producers in socio-biodiversity products value chains?
  • What are the innovative solutions emerging from these value chains and how can they be replicated?

Tasks and responsibilities:

  • Completion of a PhD thesis (articles-based or monograph) within the period of appointment;
  • Completion and submission of three article manuscripts to peer-reviewed journals within the period of appointment;
  • Complementary courses for preparation of the research
  • Participation in the project meetings and workshops
  • Support to Master research theses in the PhD research area
  • Regular participation in national and international academic events

What do you have to offer?

You are curious, independent and motivated with a background in Social Sciences and/or Environmental Sciences. You have a passion for social, political and cultural dimension of environmental change, fieldwork in remote areas, and interdisciplinary research. You have experience with research with small-scale producers, preferably in the Amazon, participatory methods, and familiarity with analysis of qualitative and quantitative data.   


The successful applicant must have:

  • A relevant Master’s degree in the Social Sciences or Environmental Sciences, preferably with a focus on socioenvironmental changes completed no later than 30 September 2022. You may apply if you have not yet completed your Master’s degree only if you provide a signed letter from your supervisor stating that you will graduate before 30 January 2023;
  • Outstanding academic skills manifested in high grades and written assignments;
  • Keen interest in interdisciplinary research methods and theoretical approaches to socioenvironmental change such as political ecology, socio-ecological systems, and transformation to sustainability;
  • Familiarity with qualitative and quantitative methods, research on small-scale production systems, and fieldwork in the Global South;
  • Demonstrable knowledge in theoretical perspectives relevant to the project themes;
  • Excellent spoken Portuguese, and language proficiency in English;
  • Strong analytical and organizational skills;
  • Team spirit and the ability to work in an inter- and trans-disciplinary environment;
  • Willingness to carry out long period of fieldwork, in remote areas at times;
  • Willingness to participate in conferences, workshops and project meetings

Please note that if you already hold a doctorate/PhD or are working towards obtaining a similar degree elsewhere, you will not be admitted to a doctoral programme at the UvA.

What can we offer you?

We offer a temporary full-time contract for the period of 48 months. The first contract will be for 16 months, with an extension for the following 32 months, contingent on a positive performance evaluation within the first 12 months. The starting date is 1 February 2023.

The gross monthly salary will be €2,541 during the first year to reach €3,247 during the fourth year, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants.

What else do we offer

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Humanities provides education and conducts research with a strong international profile in a large number of disciplines in de field of language and culture. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the faculty maintains close ties with many cultural institutes in the capital city. Research and teaching staff focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and are active in several teaching programmes.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Job application

If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the link below. The deadline for applying for this vacancy is 30 October 2022.

Applications should include the following information (submitted in one pdf):

  • A letter, motivating your reasons for applying, and detailing why you are an excellent candidate for the role (no more than 1,000 words);
  • Your curriculum vitae, listing at least: full address and contact details, education, professional employment and language proficiency. Also include grants/honours, conference presentations and publications, if applicable.
  • A writing sample, such as an essay, conference paper, or chapter from your Master’s thesis, 3,000-9,000 words.
  • A research statement of ca. 2,000 words in which you:
    • describe how your previous research (undertaken for completion of your Master’s or Research Master’s program) connects to the scope of this PhD project;
    • outline of your intended approach of this project;
    • suggest one socio-biodiversity product – e.g. forest (e.g., Brazil nuts), agroforestry (fruit pulp), or fishing (e.g., Arapaima fish) – which qualifies for inclusion into the corpus of this PhD project. Sketch the research problem, the main goal, explain how you would approach/analyze the problem, and specify the focus and methodology of your proposed analysis.
  • Transcripts of your Master’s (or equivalent) degree, and of your Bachelor’s degree.
  • The names and contact details of two referees familiar with your academic record and research skills.  

Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.

The interviews will be in early December, via Zoom or in person

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

If you encounter Error GBB451/ GBC451, please try using a VPN connection when outside of the European Union. You can reach out to our HR Department if the error continues. They will gladly help you with your application. 

No agencies please.

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