Vacancies University of Twente

PhD position on Regional Economic Spatial Agent-Based Models

This 4-year fully-funded PhD position is part of the ERC Starting Grant project “Scaling up behavior and autonomous adaptation for macro models of climate change damage assessment (SCALAR)”. The SCALAR-research program is made possible thanks to a 1.5 million euro personal grant from the European Research Council.

Job description

The successful candidate will work within the SCALAR research team to explore how interactions between households and firms affect urbanization in the presence of climate-driven risks and how relocation affects regional economic resilience. A set of spatial agent-based models supported by theory and data will be developed on a range of scales. During this 4-year long project, the PhD student will build up on the latest progress in urban agent-based modeling and extend it further by introducing climate adaptation decisions of households and businesses. This modeling effort will benefit from the behavioral data elicited via tailored household surveys (carried out by another team member) and other data. Moreover, moving from urban to large-scale agent-based simulations is an important aspect of this sub-project. Scaling up of agent-based models requires alternative considerations and will benefit from the additional support of a programmer at the later stages of the project. We connect to the international efforts (GLP, CSDMS, AIMES and others) to build large-scale agent-based models representing socio-economic behavior over large geographical areas, which is essential when addressing global environmental change challenges.

Your profile

A candidate should ideally have:

  • a Master’s degree in Geography, Spatial Economics or Environmental Studies;
  • knowledge of a programming language, training in any of the simulation methods;
  • capacity to perform statistical data analysis;
  • previous experience with agent-based modeling or any type of spatial modeling is beneficial;
  • domain knowledge in the field of coupled social-environmental systems, climate change adaptation or global environmental change in general is an advantage;
  • fluent written and spoken English;
  • independent research and publication skills.


For more information on this position please contact
Prof. T.Filatova

To apply for this position, please fill in the online application form including (1) your motivation letter, (2) your CV (with the contact details of 2 referees) and (3) a list of publications (if applicable). Since only three documents can be uploaded per application, please combine documents if needed.

Our offer

As a PhD candidate you will be appointed on a full-time basis for a period of four years. The gross monthly salary for a PhD increases from € 2.266 per month in the first year to € 2.897 per month in the final year (in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). In addition to the attractive salary that comes with generous social security benefits, the position offers the tuition waiver and the conference travel budget. Our Graduate Research School provides a structured PhD program (clear planning, supervision agreements and career development and support). The successful candidate will work directly with Prof. Tatiana Filatova and will have a chance to collaborate with other PhDs and PostDocs within her ERC SCALAR project, the CSTM Department and the international colleagues leading in this domain.

Starting date: March 1st 2019. The position will remain open until filled.


Damage associated with climate change is a core benchmark in science and policy. Yet, global damage assessments are criticized for neglecting risk distribution, adaptation dynamics beyond top-down public protection, and resilience of communities, cities and regional economies. Micro-level social science studies contain substantial knowledge on individual behavior, decisions under risk and autonomous climate adaptation, and go beyond monetary losses by focusing on resilience. This knowledge can ameliorate theoretical and empirical flaws in current macro assessments, if adequate scaling up methods were to exist. SCALAR aims to connect micro and macro research traditions by modeling the behavioral aspects of autonomous adaptation processes of heterogeneous agents, and integrating them into macro level climate policy models. By focusing on floods, the project revisits the classic micro-macro aggregation problem in social sciences. The SCALAR research program consists of three phases. In the first phase we develop and run multi-wave surveys to unfold processes of decision-making of individual households that face flood risks and trace factors affecting their climate adaptation decisions to floods. The project covers 4 case-study coastal and delta cities around the world. The current PhD position falls under the second phase, which focuses on developing an urban spatial agent-based model, scaling it up to the regional level and introducing climate adaptation behavior of agents into this regional economy.

The organization

The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences
The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS) strives to play a pivotal role in understanding, co-engineering and evaluating innovation in society. Innovation is driven by advances in technology. Through 'social engineering' these technological advances are embedded in society befitting human needs and behaviour, within proper public and private management and business structures. For this the faculty of BMS upholds high quality disciplinary knowledge in psychology, business administration, public administration, communication science, philosophy, educational science and health sciences. All with a focus on the challenges in society. Research is strongly connected to our Institutes on Governance (IGS), ICT (CTIT), Health (MIRA) and Nanotechnology (MESA+).

PhD position on Regional Economic Spatial Agent-Based Models
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