Postdoc position in ERC Project: Collaborative Planning in China (0.9 FTE)

Updated: 2 months ago

Postdoc position in ERC Project: Collaborative Planning in China (0.9 FTE)

The postdoctoral researcher will work on the ERC Starting Grant project CoChina “Collaborative Planning in China: Authoritarian Institutions, New Media, Power Relations, and Public Spheres”. The CoChina project is a 5-year research project funded by European Research Council (ERC), and directed by Dr. Yanliu Lin at the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Utrecht University. The project team is part of Spatial Planning Group within the Urban Futures program in the department.
Collaborative planning has recently emerged in China to address conflicts of interest in urban renewal and environmental management. The internet is an influential platform that provides opportunities for the interactions between government and citizens. However, the egalitarian principles that ground collaborative planning theory call into question its validity in China. The aim of this project is to examine collaborative planning practices in China and identify the challenges to the assumptions of the theory about institutions, power relations, and public spheres. This ERC project will lead to a new understanding of collaborative planning in China, and a reconceptualization of collaborative planning theory to fit authoritarian contexts.
This postdoctoral project focuses on public spheres. It will differentiate forms of online public spheres through the platform of the internet and social media, and analyze how they interact with offline public spheres to affect collaborative planning.
The postdoctoral researcher will conduct both theoretical and empirical research, and closely collaborate with two PhD students and the PI within the ERC project.
Main Tasks (but not limited to):
  • Conceptualize public spheres in collaborative planning in China;
  • apply computer-assisted content analysis to analyze data collected from online platforms (social media, websites, etc.);
  • conduct questionnaire surveys in Chinese cities and statistical analysis to understand citizens’ motivation and participation;
  • work with the PI for the reconceptualization of collaborative planning theory;
  • publish results in scientific journals and present at international conferences;
  • contribute to the organization of workshops, a conference and other activities of the project;
  • teaching duties within the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning (0.1 FTE/year).

  • A PhD’s degree in media studies, urban planning, public administration, geography or a related field, and international experience is a plus;
  • knowledge of the impact of new media (e.g. social media, online forums, participatory tools) on public spheres and/or urban planning;
  • research experience in computer-assisted content analysis, statistical analysis and questionnaire surveys;
  • experience in project acquisition and proposal writing;
  • an interest in academic theory development and theory application;
  • a strong research profile documented through high-quality publications;
  • an excellent command of written and spoken English and Mandarin;
  • the ability to work autonomously, and to develop, implement and complete plans within the framework of the project and the given time frame;
  • a team player, collaboration with other team members and external partners in the project;
  • an open mind, a proactive attitude and the ability to think critically;
  • strong social and communicative skills.

Aanbod We offer a temporary position (0.9 FTE), initially for two years, with the possibility of an extension to a total of four years upon successful assessment. The gross salary ranges between €3,217 and €4,012 (depending on experience) per month for a full-time employment (scale 10 of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities). 
Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions  (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.

Over de organisatie
A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University , the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.
Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.
The Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning has its focus on the enhancement of long-term economic developments of cities, how to cope with social inequalities, and how to accelerate sustainability transitions of cities and infrastructures. Research on these topics takes place within our research programme “Urban Futures: Transitions Towards Economic and Social Sustainability for Cities”. Within the department, the Spatial Planning Group addresses the increasingly complex governance challenges in planning, developing and operating urban systems in line with sustainability goals in an international context. Specific attention is giving to the role of technical infrastructures in urban/regional governance and urban planning.
Our research programme is closely related with our Research Masters in Urban and Economic Geography and in Geographical Information Management and Applications and with the Professional Masters in Spatial Planning, Human Geography and International Development Studies. The Department also runs a large and highly appreciated Bachelor's programme and is part of the Netherlands Graduate School of Urban and Regional Research for PhD candidates. Unique characteristics of the department are a special team focusing on innovations within teaching methods, its strong involvement in the transdisciplinary sustainability research theme and professional consultancy for public partners.

Aanvullende informatie For more information about this position, please contact:
Dr. Yanliu Lin (Assistant Professor), via

Solliciteren Everyone deserves to feel at home 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, a research statement, digital copies of university degrees, and additional documents (two key publications) via the ‘apply’ button below.
The application deadline is 31 January 2021.
You will start to work on the project as soon as possible.
Please note: Due to the current situation regarding the Corona virus (COVID-19) the process of selection and interviews may be subject to change.

Reageren uiterlijk 31/01/2021
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