Postdoctoral Position Pathways to Sustainability & Urban Futures Studio (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 5 days ago

Postdoctoral Position Pathways to Sustainability & Urban Futures Studio (1.0 FTE)

Job description In this two-year postdoc, you will work for the Pathways to Sustainability (PtS) Core Team. As one of the four strategic themes of Utrecht University, Pathways to Sustainability wants to help Utrecht University to be in the forefront of innovative sustainability research. You are well versed in the sustainability debates and have a PhD on a subject matter relevant to PtS. Your core task will be to investigate innovative institutional models on sustainability research, education, and outreach globally. Based on your work, we will try to enhance the innovative strength of the university on issues pertaining to sustainability. You are interested in contributing to the (development of) various educational components of PtS and have a good sense of the impact of organizational form on the quality of the interaction. You are a team player that likes to connect to others and is able to enthuse them. You will also be part of the team of Urban Futures Studio which is devoted to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary innovation. You are expected to report your findings in ways both appealing to a wider audience (e.g. short videos, blog posts, presentations, one-pagers) and academic contributions (e.g. peer-reviewed articles). Additionally, candidates are expected to play an active role in the further development of 'Futuring' education at Utrecht University. Teaching will be part of the portfolio (but not more than 25%).
  • investigate institutional formats in sustainability research & education and report on this (both for the PtS community and by means of peer reviewed publications).
  • spur the radical innovation PtS proclaims;
  • help develop the intellectual debate on sustainability and create the narrative of UU PtS sustainability research and education;
  • help set up transdisciplinary projects.

Qualifications The candidate is expected to have: 
  • a PhD in a relevant discipline, with proven expertise in sustainability concerns. Natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities will be given equal consideration;
  • experience in working in interdisciplinary contexts;
  • a proven track record of research skills (relative to experience);
  • academic writing and presentation skills; 
  • shown ability to contribute to international academic debates through written contributions (peer-reviewed articles, conference papers, books, etc.);
  • the ability to work both independently as well as part of a team;
  • an interest in setting up organizational experiments;
  • proficiency in English & Dutch;
  • an experimental and pro-active attitude as well as excellent communication and collaborative skills.


We offer a temporary position (0.8 FTE) for one year in an international working environment. Upon good performance, the contract will be extended for another 12 months (two years in total).The gross salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience - ranges between €2,790 and €3,746 (scale 10/4 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. 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). Here you'll find more information about working at Utrecht University .

About the organization 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. Utrecht University has a strong commitment to community outreach and contributes to answering the social questions of today and tomorrow. Utrecht University strives for excellence in teaching and study performance. This also holds for the clearly defined research profiles with respect to four core themes: Dynamics of Youth, Life Sciences, Institutions for Open Societies and Pathways to Sustainability. Spanning different faculties and institutes, these four themes direct Utrecht University on important contributions to societal issues such as health, governance, climate, environment, and upbringing.
You will be working with the theme Pathways to Sustainability , which focuses on tackling open questions related to exploring and validating pathways to just and sustainable futures for all. It has a transdisciplinary approach, involving scholars from different disciplines and societal stakeholders from outside the university. The theme draws on the reputation of Utrecht University as a world-leading university in sustainability research to bring together scholars, students, practitioners, and policymakers. Combining top-notch fundamental research and modelling with innovation and transition studies, law, governance and sustainable finance, as well as the environmental humanities and social sciences, Utrecht University is well positioned to be at the forefront of innovation in sustainability research and education. The Faculty of Geosciences of Utrecht University offers a unique environment to study this challenge as it combines knowledge on energy efficiency, economics, energy policy, behavioral sciences, innovation systems, as well as knowledge on (sustainable) urban development.
The Urban Futures Studio is a small research group at Utrecht University. We critically study how images of the future, positive and negative, become embedded in our collective imagination. We conduct empirical research on existing practices, but also help to initiate experiments. We aim to shed light on how imagination and re-imagination can contribute to finding roads to sustainable futures. Our interest in sustainability animates investigations of the neighbourhoods of the future, climate change and climate modelling, biobased building and nature-based solutions, the future of energy systems, futures literacy, the social theory of the collective imagination, and climate engineering.

Additional information For more information about this position, please contact: Emmy Ruiter (Managing Director Pathways to Sustainability), via or +31 612767069
Please ‘apply’ via the button below and send us:
  • your letter of motivation (max. 2 pages) together with a statement of future research plans (max. 2 pages);
  • a curriculum vitae including a list of publications; two references;
  • two published samples of academic writing (journal articles, book chapter, etc.);
  • one published sample of writing for a broader audience (blog post, op/ed article, etc.).
Interviews will be scheduled on 27 September 2021. Employment will become effective on a date negotiable with the director – ideally before the end of 2021.
The application deadline is 14/09/2021
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