Research assistant ‘Cultural heritage in Dutch wetland environments’

The Joint Programming Initiative for Cultural Heritage (JPI-CH) project Wetland Futures in Contested Environments: an inter- and transdisciplinary approach to wetland heritage in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Ireland (WETFUTURES) centres on the incredible richness and diversity of material and immaterial cultural heritage associated with Northwest European wetland environments. These dynamic areas are undergoing rapid change from climatic, demographic, economic and political influences, but there are no tailor-made or proactive studies to identify the impacts of change on their wide range of heritage values. Additionally, various stakeholders have different interests in these landscapes which are often difficult to reconcile. The WETFUTURES project, carried out by Wageningen University & Research in collaboration with the University of Bradford (United Kingdom) and University College Cork (Ireland), addresses these challenges and explores the ways in which wetland heritage can contribute to contemporary social challenges. The Dutch part of the project is carried out at the Cultural Geography Group and Soil Geography and Landscape Group of Wageningen University by dr. Roy van Beek (project leader), dr. Maarten Jacobs and post-doc dr. Rowin van Lanen.

This advertisement concerns the position of a research assistant within the project outlined above. Your work will focus on the former island of Schokland, Netherlands (Unesco World Heritage) and another, yet to be determined wetland area in the United Kingdom or Ireland (to be chosen from the Somerset Levels, Humber estuary or Irish Midlands). Your overarching task will be to contribute to the interdisciplinary project by examining how stakeholders feel about the wetland landscape they inhabit, it’s heritage and what this means for future prospects. This contribution includes refining the conceptual framework and methods of data collection and analysis as expressed in the project proposal, conducting semi-structured interviews, analysing the interviews, reporting the outcomes, involvement in outreach activities, and supporting the project’s post-doc.

We are looking for an enthusiastic and ambitious candidate with an MSc in a relevant social science. You must demonstrate an interest in, and knowledge of, cultural geography. You are able to work precisely, accurately and systematically, and have experience with qualitative data analysis, preferentially by using relevant software such as Atlas.ti or Nvivo. You have an affinity with landscapes, people and cultural history. You are proficient in Dutch and English, and are able to present research results in an appealing way. You are willing to spend some time in Ireland or the United Kingdom (with expense allowance) to conduct interviews, and have the ability to work efficiently alone as well as in a team. Relevant fieldwork experience would be considered an advantage.

Conditions of employment
Funding is available for an appointment of 1,0 fte for 12 months but we would prefer a part-time appointment (0,8 or 0,6 fte) for a longer duration. This can be discussed with the candidate. Depending on your expertise and experience, we offer a salary from a minimum of € 2835,- (gross) to a maximum of € 3895,- (gross) based on fulltime employment. The project will start in January 2020.

You will join the engaged Cultural Geography Group and be a full member of the interdisciplinary WETFUTURES project team. You will be able to gain experience in a professional academic environment. A clear plan for your contribution to the project is available.

In addition, we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • a flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave;
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented.

Wageningen University & Research
Delivering a substantial contribution to the quality of life. That’s our focus – each and every day. Within our domain of good and safe food & food production, food security and a healthy living environment, we search for answers to issues affecting society – such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Of course, we don’t do this alone. Every day, 5000 people work on ‘the quality of life’, turning ideas into reality, on a global scale.

The Cultural Geography group (GEO) is part of the Department of Environmental Sciences of Wageningen University. The department’s fundamental research and education concern our living environment: nature, landscape, land use, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, water management, and various competing claims on space. The GEO group is committed to social theory in all its spatial articulations. It aims to advance critical-constructive scholarship with special attention to questions of inequality, exclusion, mobility and plurality. It seeks to translate knowledge into practical action in four closely related fields of application: landscape, tourism, nature, health & care.

Additional information

More information
Additional information about this vacancy can be obtained from Dr. Maarten Jacobs:

Information about the employment conditions can be obtained from Ms. Patty van Beek, HRM-advisor, email:

Applications for this position should be submitted, at the latest, by 25 October 2019.

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