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+32 (0)2 229 38 69

Middaglijnstraat 10, 1210 Brussels


Doctoral fellow Geography

Job description

The Landscape Research Unit of the Department of Geography (Ghent University – Prof. Van Eetvelde) invites applications for a fully-funded PhD position (4 years). The PhD researcher will work in an interdisciplinary and international research project, funded by the FWO and led by Ghent University in collaboration with the University of Lisbon (Prof. Isabel Loupa-Ramos) and the University of Évora (Prof. Fátima Bernardo). The project aim is to analyse the impact of migration on landscape identity in an urban and rural context. The interactions with their surroundings play an important role in the construction of people’s identities. Feeling at home in our surroundings plays an important role in our quality of life. People sometimes struggle severely with being displaced when for example peoples’ landscape is being turned into a nature area or when people have to flee their home due to war. Even when people voluntarily migrate, it often proves a struggle to settle in their new surroundings. The places in which people have lived previously, shape how they are connected to the landscape they live in. Migrants often value features in the landscape which remind them of their home. Also, people’s cultural background and values shared with the local community have an impact on how they perceive and value their surroundings. Major differences between how migrants and natives view their landscape can contribute to segregation. This research will, therefore, address these issues, investigating differences in how migrants and natives identify with the local landscape and trying to uncover underlying factors that influence the effects of migration on people’s landscape identity.

We are looking for an excellent PhD candidate and offer an intellectually challenging environment, high-quality training to develop hard and soft skills, opportunities to participate in field work, research stays in Portugal and international scientific conferences. Ghent University is among the top global universities according to several international rankings. The PhD fellow will be able to design and develop his/her own research ideas within the general aim of the project and will collaborate with the other PhD fellow appointed in this project. The main job duties will be to perform scientific research, including writing of scientific publications, participating in international conferences as well as assisting in some practical courses and supervising BSc and MSc students in Geography. You will work together with the other colleagues in the Landscape Research Unit on mutual topics and duties.

What we can offer you?

  • You will be hired by Ghent University and your principal physical working place will be the Geography Department in Ghent.
  • We offer an initial contract of 1 year, which will be extended up to a maximum of 4 years after positive evaluation. For more about PhD studies at Ghent University, please see https://www.ugent.be/phd/en and https://www.ugent.be/en/work/phd/bursaryabc.htm.
  • Your appointment will have to start 1 March 2021.
  • You will receive a PhD scholarship according to the general conditions at Ghent University. The tax free scholarship includes full social security coverage.
  • You will work in a dynamic, international research group. All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as 37 days of paid leave, a wide range of training and education opportunities, bicycle commuting reimbursement, etc.
  • A complete overview of all our fringe benefits can be found on the UGent website.


Job profile

  • You hold a Master Degree in Social Sciences, or Master Degree in Psychology or Master Degree in Geography (with an explicit expertise in social sciences).
  • You obtained excellent grades in your BSc and MSc Degree.
  • You have a strong interest in the relation between people and their environment and are interested in and motivated by the research topic.
  • You have experience or affinity for skills in interviews and surveys (abilities in conducting online surveys, in participatory, interactive communication with people), expertise in data collection by surveys, interviews and face-to-face interviews.
  • You have social and good communication skills and have an excellent knowledge of written and spoken English. Knowledge of the Portuguese language (speaking) is a positive aspect however not required.
  • You are self-critical, you work with rigor and attention for detail, and you work accurately and critically in the data collection and statistical and qualitative analysis.
  • You combine being a team player with a strong sense of autonomy and responsibility, have an open mind and an interdisciplinary attitude.
  • You are willing to work and live in Belgium for 4 years, with intermediate research stays in Portugal.
  • You are willing to participate in short research stays abroad and apply for additional funding when eligible.


How to apply

All applications must be received no later than 15 January 2021 and sent via email to veerle.vaneetvelde@ugent.be with the following documents attached as a single file:

  • Short personal motivation letter mainly elaborating on your interest and experience in the specific domains mentioned above (max. 2 pages)
  • A curriculum vitae including your scientist resume and diplomas
  • Academic degree and transcripts (both bachelor and master)
  • Names and contact details of at least two reference persons

Attention: Late applications are not accepted. As Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position.

After the first screening, suitable candidates will be invited for an interview (also possible via Skype or MS Teams).

For more information about this vacancy please contact Prof. Veerle Van Eetvelde (veerle.vaneetvelde@ugent.be, +32 9 264 47 07) or Dr. Nathalie Van Nuffel (Nathalie.vannuffel@ugent.be, + 32 9 264 46 91).