Postdoctoral Fellow, Related to the Subject Sustainability Narratives

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 15 Oct 2021

About the position 

The Department of Design (ID) in Trondheim has a vacancy for a postdoctoral fellow. ID is part of the Faculty of Architecture and Design and consists of two groups, one in Trondheim and one in Gjøvik. The department offers study programmes in fields such as industrial design, graphic design, interaction design, service design and web development. The department’s strategic research areas include design for sustainability, digitalisation and health. The design for sustainability (DfS) group is involved in various international and national interdisciplinary projects and has a strong potential and wish to extend its activities. Its current research addresses behaviour and practices related to consumption and everyday life, design for sustainability transitions, socially sustainable innovation and implementation of design for sustainability in professional environments. Norm-critical design, speculative design, design futuring, participatory and democratic approaches are among the methodologies we are interested in.
The postdoctoral fellowship is connected to a joint project “Narrating Sustainability” in cooperation with the Department of Language and Literature and the Department of Psychology. The project funding, which comes from NTNU’s thematic strategic area Sustainability, will also cover two PhD positions at these two departments, supervised by Prof. Hanna Musiol and Prof. Christian Klöckner, in addition to this postdoc position at the Department of Design, which will be supervised by Prof. Casper Boks.

The joint project will address forms, functions, and uses of narratives of sustainability societal discourses in product, behaviour, lifestyle and societal contexts. It aims to research sustainability narratives across fields, and thereby increase understanding about how narratives and temporality affect engagement and participation of audiences/citizens in the socio-ecological crises debates and how that affects, and can be used to enable, facilitate, nudge, tempt and seduce towards desirable behavior.

The postdoctoral position will focus on the design element, by addressing how narratives can be used as both an element of the designer toolbox and/or as part of solution spaces. Through physical and digital experiments, informed by research in the joint project, the postdoc will research how narratives are, and can contribute to create awareness, reflection and action. The following research questions are guiding the postdoc project:

  • How can complex understandings of sustainability be made evident and inform the potential role of sustainability narratives in the designer’s toolbox?
  • How can linguistic elements and style figures (such as analogies, comparisons, metaphors, euphemisms, exaggerations, accusations) work as tools when narratives play a potentially important role in design interventions?
  • How can experience with various quantitative, qualitative, ethnographic, speculative, artistic and/or activist methods of inquiry from the fields of literature, psychology and design draw upon each other?
  • The candidate is expected to work from Gløshaugen campus in Trondheim, and formally reports to the Head of the Department of Design.

    Duties of the position

    • Desktop and field research that aims to answer the abovementioned research questions
    • Academic publication and dissemination
    • Contributions to supervising and/or mentoring the two PhD students in the project
    • Contributions to further developing the Design for Sustainability research group at ID
    • Contributions to developing cross-disciplinary research cooperation at NTNU and beyond

    Required selection criteria

    A postdoctoral research fellowship is a qualification position in which the main objective is qualification for work in academic positions. In order to qualify for the position you must have:

    • A Norwegian (or foreign equivalent) doctoral (PhD) degree in a relevant field such as design, anthropology, sociology, psychology, literature, film or media studies.
    • Strong theoretical and methodological skills
    • Experience with qualitative research
    • Experience from cross-disciplinary design research projects
    • Experience with Design for Sustainability research in the context of sustainable behaviour and/or sustainability transitions and/or sustainable consumption and/or norm-critical design and/or citizen engagement
    • A track record of publications within one or more of the above-mentioned research areas
    • Very good written and oral English language skills
    • The ability to work in interdisciplinary teams

    The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant   

    Preferred selection criteria

    • Experience with research related to the topic of sustainability narratives
    • Experience from supervision of master and/or PhD students
    • Experience with acquisition of research projects
    • A relevant, preferably international, professional network
    • A portfolio of non-traditional sustainability research outcomes such as curated work, exhibition contributions, installations or other design interventions related
    • Written and oral skills in Norwegian or another Scandinavian language is an advantage, but not essential

    Personal characteristics

    We are searching for candidates

    • with a strong interest in research on topics relevant for the position
    • who are able to work both independently and in interdisciplinary teams
    • with very good communication skills
    • with a desire to do awesome research that makes a difference

    We offer 

    • exciting and stimulating tasks in a strong international academic environment 
    • freedom to shape research activities and choose research methods within the project’s boundaries
    • an open and inclusive work environment with dedicated colleagues 
    • favourable terms in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund 
    • employee benefits 

    Salary and conditions

    As a Postdoctoral Fellow (code 1352) you are normally paid from gross NOK 545 300 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund. 

    The period of employment is two years. If relevant, the successful candidate may be given the option of a three-year contract with one year of required duties (e.g. acquisition of research projects, teaching and supervision). 

    The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work. 

    It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution on a daily basis. 

    About the application 

    The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

    Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above.  

    If, for any reason, you have taken a career break or have had an atypical career and wish to disclose this in your application, the selection committee will take this into account, recognizing that the quantity of your research may be reduced as a result.

    The application must include: 

    • CV, certificates and diplomas 
    • transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's-, master's- and PhD degrees.  
    • a cover letter stating the motivation for the application and explaining the suitability of the candidate
    • a publication list, including digital copies of up to five publications most central for the project.
    • and, if relevant, a portfolio of non-traditional research outputs.
    • Name and address of three referees 

    If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

    Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation. 

    In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

    NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA. 

    General information 

    Working at NTNU 

    A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background.  

    The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.  

    As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted. 

    Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants. 

    If you have any questions about the position or recruitment process, please contact Professor Casper Boks, e-mail: (telephone +47 73590102 or 41256938), Head of Department Sara Brinch e-mail: , or HR Astrid S. Lyngby, e-mail

    Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI) .  

    If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. 

    Application deadline: 15.10.21

    NTNU - knowledge for a better world

    The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

    Faculty of Architecture and Design

    The Faculty of Architecture and Design  conducts research and teaching in design, art, architecture, urban and regional planning, real estate development and facilities management, as well as traditional building crafts.The Faculty consists of four departments and a Faculty administration.

    Deadline 15th October 2021
    Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
    Municipality Trondheim
    Scope Fulltime
    Duration Temporary
    Place of service Trondheim Gløshaugen

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