PhD candidate Deep transdisciplinary learning for sustainable transitions

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 28 Aug 2020

'Stepping Out: Accelerating deep transdisciplinary and interprofessional learning for innovative actions, interventions and strategies of deep sustainable transitions in port area development' is an NWO funded project, a collaboration between the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of TU-Delft, the Centre for Urban Studies (CUS) of the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR), the Hogeschool Rotterdam and a wider range of public and private partners in the Rotterdam and Amsterdam harbour areas.

In this research project two PhD researchers (one based in Delft and one based in Amsterdam) and a postdoctoral researcher (based in Delft for the first two years and in Amsterdam for the latter two years) will be appointed. This call is specifically opened for a PhD candidate to be based in Amsterdam. We are looking for candidates with strong affinity with transdisciplinary research, who have proven academic skills to combine theoretical innovation and scientific rigour with interactive research practice aiming at societal change. All team members will work partly embedded in ongoing planning processes in the case-study areas.

What will you be doing?

Institutional learning experiences can address sustainable transitions by enabling deep learning practices between public and private sector actors and urban communities, which we define as Interprofessional Learning. These transdisciplinary approaches transcend current knowledge domains and co-create novel actions, interventions and strategies as transformative governance practices. The aim of this project is to put science at the service of the coalitions formed in the Rotterdam Makers District and Koppelkansen Havenstad (Amsterdam) respectively, and support and systematize the ongoing processes of knowledge co-creation. Both case-study areas have to integrate multiple sustainability transitions simultaneously, i.e. energy transition, climate change, circularity, mobility.

The project therefore, addresses two interrelated questions on institutional learning for deep sustainable transitions:

  • How do professionals, sector-based organisations and place-based actor networks drive deep transdisciplinary and interprofessional learning to co-create innovative solutions for deep sustainable transitions? and
  • How do these actors overcome emergent paradoxes in such learning in transformative governance?
  • Key responsibilities of the PhD candidate:

    • conduct transdisciplinary research that contributes to the project deliverables and the writing of a PhD thesis;
    • engage effectively with key stakeholders on the project and support their work;
    • be an active member of the Knowledge Action Network Kennisactiewater;
    • undertake relevant coursework and other training;
    • contribute to the writing of high-quality, high-impact academic publications;
    • participate in the general intellectual life of the programme group Governance and Inclusive Development and the department Geography, Planning and International Development Studies.

    What do we require of you?

    We are looking for a candidate who has excellent and proven academic skills of interactive research and writing. Moreover, we expect the candidates to have proven interest in and ability to frame their PhD work within an ongoing research project, by fulfilling the expectations of the research project in combination with their PhD research. Finally, the candidate should be able to bridge the boundaries between science and practice, in a broad transdisciplinary team. We expect the candidate to fulfil the following expectations:

    • a Master’s degree in a relevant cognate discipline (e.g. organisational and management studies, urban governance studies, transformative governance, institutional learning, urban planning and geography, and public administration studies) with an evident interest in theories of institutional learning, transformative governance, and/or sustainable transitions;
    • familiarity with qualitative research methods or a strong desire to learn advanced qualitative methods that support engaged scholarship;
    • a substantive interest in working with stakeholders in practice to drive behavioural change in sustainable transitions;
    • native (or close to native) Dutch speaker with an excellent command of the English language;
    • excellent study results and academic skills, visible in the Bachelors and Masters course transcripts;
    • strong critical thinking and academic writing skills (both in Dutch and English), visible in the writing sample;
    • affinity with science communication and popular communication;
    • the ability to work independently, and as part of a team.

    Our offer 

    The position concerns a temporary employment contract of 38 hours per week for a maximum term of 4 years. The initial employment contract is for one year. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of 3 years, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. We will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events. You will also be tasked with teaching Bachelor's students.

    Your salary will be €2.395 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3.061 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the  Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities . We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

    About the faculty

    The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG) is the largest social-science educational and research institution in the Netherlands. The Faculty serves around 9,000 students in numerous Bachelor's and Master's programs in Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Communication Science, Psychology, Human Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, International Development Studies and Educational Sciences. The academic staff is employed in education as well as research. There are over 1,200 employees at the Faculty, located in a number of buildings in the center of Amsterdam. The Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies is one of the six Departments in the FMG. Research and education are carried out by special institutes. The Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) is responsible for research in the social sciences. The College of Social Sciences (CSS) and the Graduate School of Social Sciences (GSSS) are responsible for undergraduate and graduate teaching programs in the social sciences. Research and teaching in the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies is organized in four thematic programme groups: Governance and Inclusive Development (GID), Geographies of Globalizations (GOG), Urban Geographies (UG) and Urban Planning (UP). This vacancy will be partly at the programme group Governance and Inclusive Development.


    Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

    Would you like to learn more about working at the University of Amsterdam? Visit our website .

    Job application

    The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

    Does this profile sound like you? If so, we are eager to receive your application.

    Please submit the following documents, in a single pdf attachment:

    • a letter of application;
    • a CV;
    • a list of publications;
    • details of two referees; and
    • a 1,500-word position paper (excluding the list of references). The position paper should provide a clear explanation and reasoning for your position on ‘Transdisciplinary and interprofessional learning and collaboration to achieve deep sustainable transitions’. This PhD position will focus on analysing meso/macro-level transformation, so the position paper should clearly explain how you see institutional learning in transformative governance practices. The position paper should be written in English and contain a list of key references (max. 25) that informs your position.

    A presentation of the research plan and an interview are part of the selection procedure. The interviews will take place on 15 September 2020.

    You may apply online by clicking on the link below.

    The deadline for applications is 28 August 2020.

    No agencies please

    View or Apply

    Similar Positions