3 PhD positions on social tipping dynamics in sustainability transitions

Updated: 28 days ago
Deadline: 02 Jun 2022


Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences

Reference number


Job description

Would you like to do research that helps accelerate the energy transition? We offer 3 fully funded 4-year PhD positions on the research team of the ERC project FAST: Fostering social tipping dynamics to accelerate sustainability transitions.

The FAST project aims to explain and model social tipping dynamics and interventions in energy transitions. Existing models that form the basis for energy transition scenarios typically do not include the positive feedbacks resulting from the interactions between civil society and energy transitions. Yet these interactions have been identified as important drivers and barriers of energy transitions and as crucial in triggering the social tipping dynamics that can accelerate the energy transition. Social tipping dynamics in energy transitions occur when a small change or intervention has a large effect on emission reductions.

As a PhD student, you will do empirical research into social tipping dynamics using discourse analysis and data analysis techniques, looking into solar, wind and nuclear energy in different countries. You will use this data to create simulation models of social tipping dynamics. The project combines quantitative and qualitative research approaches, and you will be part of a multidisciplinary team working on accelerating sustainability transitions. You will also participate in PhD training and project workshops and be part of a larger group of PhD students that work on similar topics (have a look at the NEON project and the TIS website for an impression).

The positions will be embedded in the TIS group (Technology, Innovation and Society) of the department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences and the Eindhoven Institute for Renewable Energy Systems (EIRES). The PhD students will be supervised by prof. Floor Alkemade. The TU/e mission is to educate students and advance knowledge in science and technology for the benefit of humanity. We are a young university at the center of one of the most powerful technology hubs in the world; Brainport Eindhoven. Inclusive transitions towards sustainability is a key research theme of our department.

Job requirements

We look for highly motivated candidates that

  • hold (or are close to obtaining) a very good Master’s degree in the social sciences ( Innovation Sciences, Transition studies, Sustainable Energy Technologies, quantitative and computational social sciences and related fields).
  • have expertise in qualitative or quantitative research methods.
  • are fluent in spoken and written English.
  • have excellent scientific writing and planning skills. 
  • have programming skills or are willing to learn programming
  • country expertise on energy transition pathways in the UK, Germany or the Netherlands is a plus

Conditions of employment
  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time PhD position, initially for one year. Upon good performance, the contract will be extended for three more years.
  • To develop your teaching skills, you will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will make a Training and Supervision plan and you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program ).
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
  • Should you come from abroad and comply with certain conditions, you can make use of the so-called ‘30% facility’, which permits you not to pay tax on 30% of your salary.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.

Information and application

More information

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact
prof. Floor Alkemade, f.alkemade[at]tue.nl. 

For information about terms of employment, click here or contact Kim Spinder van Puijenbroek, HRServices.IEIS[at]tue.nl.

Please visit www.tue.nl/jobs to find out more about working at TU/e!


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'apply now'-button on this page.
The application should include a:

  • Cover letter (1-page max) which includes motivation for your interest in the position, and an explanation of why your profile would be a good fit for the proposed project.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) including name and contact information of two references
  • List of courses, with grades, in Master and Bachelor programs
  • Results of a recent English language test, or other evidence of your English language capabilities.
  • A pdf copy of your Master thesis (if available). 

Deadline for application is 2 June 2022. First-round interviews will be done 13-15 June 2022. The envisioned starting date is September-November 2022.

We do not respond to applications that are sent to us in a different way.

Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary please combine files.

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