Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: ;

Are you an enthusiastic and ambitious researcher with an interest in complex societal problems and knowledge co-creation? Then apply for this Postdoc position at the Athena Institute of the VU University Amsterdam.

FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

Climate change and associated contemporary societal problems call for innovative and creative solutions that challenge dominant knowledge production practices and traditional role divisions on the science-policy-society interface. To develop the innovative and creative solutions required, new modes of transdisciplinary, action-oriented research are needed that can inform societal change and innovative governance, including new collaborations and cross-overs between currently divided policy domains. However, professionals working in research performing organizations often have difficulty in stepping away from existing routines and methodological preferences. What today’s problems need, is constructive and integrative action to instigate learning and transformation, fueled by the active creation of trust among a variety of actors, and actively engaging these in processes of knowledge co-production.

If this description stirs your curiosity and interest, please apply to join a vibrant and growing team of researchers within the Athena Institute that focuses on societal transformation processes and institutional innovation, and on suitable modes for knowledge production to inform such dynamics!

Organization of the research
The Athena Institute within the Faculty of Science at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is looking for a researcher interested in methodological innovation and knowledge co-creation in the fields of climate change governance, the physical environment and environmental policy. As a post-doctoral researcher, you will participate in research projects of the Athena Institute, especially those developed in close cooperation with the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency on the themes of climate policy and methodological innovation. You will work closely with a team of researchers with various disciplinary backgrounds, with a focus on academic exchanges and professional development.

Your duties

  • conducting scientific research on institutional innovation in view of the physical environment, that is methodologically innovative
  • building on and integrating insights from current projects in collaboration with the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency , contributing to the institutionalization of a new field of policyoriented research
  • designing and facilitating interactive methods, such as multistakeholder dialogue sessions aimed at problem articulation and the joint development of solutions, followed by concrete actions and their management
  • writing Englishlanguage research articles that will be submitted to international scientific journals for peer-review
  • writing Dutchlanguage, informative articles for policymakers on the results of the research
  • teaching on BSc. and MSc. level (50% of the appointment) in courses taught by the Athena Institute
  • contributing to the supervision of a PhD candidate working on similar projects as you will be working on

  • has a PhD in, for example, Science, Technology and Society, Innovation Studies, Public Administration, Sociology, Political Science, Organizational Science or one of the Life Sciences, preferably in an interdisciplinary subject with a focus on the role of knowledge in policy processes on complex social issues or knowledge cocreation. Candidates with experience in related fields integrating social sciences and natural sciences may also apply
  • has an affinity with action research and with the dynamics between civil society organizations, knowledge institutions and policy practice
  • has knowledge of qualitative research methods and is open to (or has experience with) transdisciplinary research
  • has a proven ability to work well in interdisciplinary teams (listening, flexible, adaptive, proactive)
  • has good organizational and communicative skills
  • has excellent verbal and writing skills in English and Dutch (mandatory)
  • has excellent teaching skills and you are an engaged and inspiring lecturer, as proven by student evaluations;
  • is well capable to supervise a thesis writing process, research projects and student internships.

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2.846 (scale 10)

and a maximum €4,490 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. The job profile Researcher 4 is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The appointment is initially for 12 months with the possibility of extension if the work is satisfactory. The maximum duration of the appointment is 4 years. It is possible to obtain the Basic Teaching Qualification (BKO).

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment,
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus,
  • solid pension scheme (ABP), possibility to save holiday hours,
  • for sabbatical leave,
  • child daycare facilities available on campus

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences
The position is offered within the Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences. The institute’s mission is to study and design interfaces between science and society to contribute both to a deeper understanding of innovation processes as well as a responsible implementation of research and innovation in society. Athena’s research program amongst other focuses on analysing complex global health challenges, designing interventions and conducting participatory monitoring and evaluation research. The section presently has a position vacant for a Postdoc/Lecturer.
For more information about the Athena Institute visit our website .


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until


Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Dr. Anne Loeber
Position: Associate Professor

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