Applicants are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Environmental Science programme. The position is available from 01 June 2023 or later, Title: Farmers’ motivation for entering programs to improve environmental, climate and biodiversity outcomes

Research area and project description:
New farming practices promoted through agro-environmental regulation to achieve  climate, water quality and biodiversity policy objectives   imply that farmers’ use of the land for production of commodities changes to more passive land use,  which involves costs, lost flexibility and uncertainty.  The low uptake of many agri-environmental programs in Denmark and other places indicates that there are barriers to this type of regulations, and that all costs and barriers are not properly understood.  We therefore assume that voluntary contractual arrangements between farmers and the authorities can be developed and used more effectively to enhance climate change mitigation and water protection objectives simultaneously. Examples are the CAP subsidy schemes, including support to farmers as part of EUs Common Agricultural Policy (CAP): Greening and eco-schemes in Pillar I, and agri-environmental schemes as part of pillar II. 

The aim of this proposed PhD study is to reveal farmers’ preferences for entering into voluntary policy programs, with varying innovative instrument designs for the achievement of climate,  water quality and biodiversity policy objectives (or other scenario targets set). This will include investigation of how removal or reductions of barriers can enhance farmers’ adoption of the voluntary contracts and schemes directed at effective implementation of climate and water quality targets, and of different policy instrument design options, such as outcome versus management based support, collective incentive mechanisms or alternative mechanisms, including trade and carbon credit schemes.  Analysis and assessments of combinations of subsidy and tax schemes is also very relevant, including taking tradeoffs and synergies between  environmental objectives into account.

The PhD study will be part of the LandCraft center at Aarhus University (Center for Landscape Research in Sustainable Agricultural Futures (, and is funded by this center. Cooperation with the other researchers in LandCraft is highly encouraged to facilitate and develop an interdisciplinary understanding of the green transition in agriculture, and how to adapt landscape management to reduce the environmental footprint of agricultural production systems,  while increasing their resilience to climate change. 

LandCraft offers cooperation with leading scientists  within political science, environmental economics, interdisciplinary modelling and assessment, and natural scientists researching the processes that lead to greenhouse gas emissions and loss of nutrients to the environment.

Project description: For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. Applicants are strongly encouraged to add a brief project description (approx. 2 pages) describing own ideas and research plan for this specific project based on the project description outlined above. If you do not wish to make your own project description, please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application.

Qualifications and specific competences:
The position requires a 2-year Master’s degree, preferably with a specialization in political science or environmental economics or related disciplines, with good results. The candidate must have strong skills in quantitative methods and advanced statistical analysis. Experience with survey design, qualitative interviewing techniques and/or discrete choice experiments would also be beneficial, but is not required. If graduation is expected in the very near future, documentation for final thesis and date of examination must be enclosed in the application. Applicants demonstrating a good understanding of integrated, problem-oriented analysis is preferred.

Fluent English (written and spoken) is expected.

Place of employment and place of work:
The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is Land-CRAFT, Building 1120, C. F. Møllers Allé 4, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark. Furthermore, there is a possibility of being affiliated with Institute of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen.

Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

How to apply:
Please follow this link to submit your application. Application deadline is 28 February 2023 at 23:59 CET. Preferred starting date is 1 June 2023.

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.
  • Shortlisting will be used, which means that the evaluation committee only will evaluate the most relevant applications.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants. All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. Salary and terms of employment are in accordance with applicable collective agreement.   

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