Three PhD Positions as part of an ERC-funded project on Green Crimes and Green Criminology (1,0 FTE)

  • HOURS PER WEEK: 36 to 40
  • FACULTY: Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance
  • DEPARTMENT: Departement Rechtsgeleerdheid

Job description

Utrecht University is currently recruiting for three PhD positions as part of an ERC-funded 

external link GREENLAUND project “Green Crimes and Joint Crime Ventures: Laundering Natural Resources”, led by principal investigator Dr. Daan van Uhm external link.

The high value and scarcity of natural resources increasingly attracts criminal entrepreneurs operating in the legal economy. The laundering of natural resources is a prime example where illegally obtained natural resources are converted into legal products. Consequently, consumers buy products, such as a gold wedding ring, a hardwood floor, or an endangered species, as ‘legitimate’ on the international market and unknowingly become part of a trade with devastating environmental effects. To facilitate laundering, crime groups interact with corporations and state actors as joint crime ventures.

The proposed research aims to understand how and why joint crime ventures launder natural resources and what the environmental impact is. The research will be conducted by a combination of cluster analysis of environmental crime cases, multi-sited field research, and crime script analysis.  

As a PhD candidate in GREENLAUND, you will conduct one of three subprojects that aim to understand how and why joint crime ventures launder natural resources and what the environmental impact is.

In your application, please clearly indicate your preference for either Subproject 1, Subproject 2 or Subproject 3:

  • Subproject 1: Focuses on the laundering of illegal timber trade from Indonesian Borneo. This subproject involves ethnographic fieldwork in Indonesian Borneo.
  • Subproject 2: Focuses on the laundering of illegal gold in the Surinam Amazon. This subproject involves ethnographic fieldwork in the Surinam Amazon.
  • Subproject 3: Focuses on the laundering of illegal rhino horns from South Africa. This subproject involves ethnographic fieldwork in South Africa.

In addition, one of the PhD candidates will assist in conducting a cluster analysis on laundering cases at the beginning of GREENLAUND and the other two PhD candidates will conduct crime script analyses at the end of GREENLAUND.

The research will be organised in consultation with the principal investigator Dr. Daan van Uhm.

Over a period of four years, you will conduct independent research leading to a finalised dissertation. You will work with the principal investigator to develop the direction of GREENLAUND moving forward and you will collaborate with the other PhD-candidates related to the project. In addition, you will participate in other activities of GREENLAUND, such as public debates, organising outreach activities and internal and external research meetings. Furthermore, as a PhD candidate in Utrecht, you can participate in various training courses to develop yourself. A small percentage of your time will be allocated to gaining teaching experience.


As our ideal candidate:

  • You have earned a master’s degree in Criminology, Anthropology, Sociology, Human Geography, Conflict Studies, or another related discipline.
  • You have experience conducting ethnographic research and analysing related data, including interviews and participant-observation.
  • You have experience conducting statistical (cluster) analysis or crime script analysis, or you are prepared to learn this within the foreseeable future.
  • You have a proficient command of English external link.
  • You have the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
  • You have the ambition to conduct innovative and thorough research, and to earn a PhD based on that research within four years.
  • You have good verbal and written communication skills.


You will be offered a temporary position (1.0 fte), initially for one year with an extension to a total of four years upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The start date of these positions is 1 January 2024. You will be based at Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The gross salary starts with € 2.541 per month in the first year and increases to € 3.247 per month in the fourth year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities) for a full-time employment. 

In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions 

external link, including an attractive retirement scheme, professional development external link, (partly paid) parental leave, sports external link and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University external link.

About the organisation

Sharing science, shaping tomorrow 

external link. A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University external link, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes external link. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability. You can watch the Utrecht University Campus Tour external link to get an impression of our university.

The Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance 

external link is a faculty at the heart of society, with a strong focus on social issues. Our subjects of Law, Economics and Governance give us a strong mix of academic disciplines that complement and enhance each other. This is a unique combination and a mark of our faculty’s strength.

The Utrecht University School of Law 

external link is part of the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance. ‘Law in Utrecht’ stands for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research in and of the primary fields of law, and for an intensive and eclectic legal education in a small-scale academic community. The school’s education and research primarily focus on the core law fields and the relationships between them. The school aims to play an active and unique role through innovative legal research into socially and academically relevant issues, with a challenging education that trains students to become legal scholars who can lead social change.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact: Dr. Daan van Uhm 

external link (Associate Professor of Criminology) at external link

Candidates are selected on the basis of their CVs, motivation, and interview(s) with potential supervisors. During the procedure, you may be asked to provide the names, phone, and email addresses of two references. You are welcome to inquire via email to the PI, Dr. Daan van Uhm ( 

external link) if you have questions regarding GREENLAUND.


Everyone deserves to feel at home 

external link at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation via the ‘apply’ button.

The application deadline is 19 June 2023.