Postdoc in Sustainable Societal Transformation and Industrial Change

Karlstad University


June 5, 2022


Karlstad University / Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences / The department

of Political, Historical, Religious and Cultural Studies

Sapere Aude – dare to be wise – is out motto. Our students and colleagues develop knowledge and expertise that enrich both people and the world around us. Our academic excellence is characterised by curiosity, courage and perseverance, and our organisation rests on a foundation of gender equality, diversity and democracy. We are based in a dynamic region that is always close to nature, and we promote and encourage sustainable development in close collaboration with the surrounding society.

Karlstad University has a total of approximately 1,400 employees and 19,000 students spread across two inspiring campus environments in Karlstad and Arvika.

More information about us at:


The postdoctoral researcher will be working on the project ‘Changing Places of Work'. Working alongside geographers and historians in Sweden and England, you will investigate how green (low-carbon) transitions in the steel industry interact with worker- and place-based identities in industrial communities, and how these interactions affect possibilities for successful and just low- carbon transitions.

You will be based in the Department of Political, Historical, Religious and Cultural Studies at Karlstad University and your formal title will be Postdoctoral Researcher in History (please note, this title refers to the departmental home of the post rather than the nature of the role, which has a contemporary social science focus). Many members of our staff are involved in different research groups and you will have the opportunity to connect with them, and academic staff from other departments, through interdisciplinary centres such as the Centre for Research on Sustainable Societal Change (CRS). CRS conducts multidisciplinary research on current and historical trends as well as future challenges, developing insights into societal relations and processes that enable or constrain sustainable development. More information about the department and affiliated research centres can be found here.

What we offer

  • The opportunity to work in a department that emphasises multidisciplinary learning and collaboration.
  • A research team that values a healthy work-life balance and supports flexible working where possible.
  • Support in developing your intellectual interests and the opportunity to work creatively across disciplines to produce research that is of both high academic quality and societal relevance.
  • The possibility to spend time as a visiting researcher at one of our partner universities in England (subject to final approval).
  • Duties

    The postdoctoral researcher will be responsible for planning and conducting qualitative research as part of the Changing Places of Work project. Using document analysis and interviews, you will develop new insights into how current and future sites of industrial activity in Sweden shape the places and social identities in which workers and industries are situated. Building on this, you will help organise a range of workshops to bridge between practical suggestions and critical perspectives on working lives that develop new understandings of what ‘desirable work' in low-carbon industries of the future might look like, and how such work can contribute to the wider aims of reducing socio-economic inequalities and achieving thriving communities. As part of your role you will be expected to travel regularly within Sweden and, occasionally, internationally.

    Aside from planning and conducting research, you will also play a leading role in writing scientific articles. You work to ensure that the knowledge and skills available at the university benefit society, through collaborating with stakeholders throughout the project and sharing the project results with wider society. Finally, you will contribute to the local research environment by active participation in both departmental and cross-departmental activities, such as research seminars and workshops.

    Qualification requirements

    To be eligible for the postdoctoral appointment, applicants are required to hold a PhD, or have equivalent qualifications from abroad that are considered equivalent to a PhD. As the project adopts an interdisciplinary approach, we are open to applicants with a PhD in a range of social science disciplines, such as geography, sociology, science and technology studies, regional studies, or another related subject.

    The PhD must be completed before a decision to appoint an applicant is made. The appointment is primarily intended for applicants who have completed their PhD or acquired equivalent qualifications no longer than five years before the application deadline. Qualifications obtained earlier may be considered if there are special grounds, such as sick leave, parental leave, clinical service, service as a union representative, military service or similar, or service/assignment of relevance to the appointment.

    Assessment criteria

    Applicants are assessed on the basis of academic qualifications and suitability for the role, as set out in the covering letter and CV.

    Special weight will be given to candidates with experience in researching processes of societal change, using qualitative fieldwork such as interviews or workshops. Of equal importance are the proven ability to work independently, take responsibility, and manage one's time effectively. We also place special weight on the ability to work collaboratively with other disciplines.

    Considerable weight will be given to candidates who can demonstrate expertise or proven interest in one or more of the following: social aspects of industrial/technological change; feminist social theories; participatory qualitative research methods. The ability to work effectively with stakeholders from a range of backgrounds and organisations is also strongly valued.

    Finally, special weight will be given to the ability to communicate effectively in English, while considerable weight will be given to the ability to communicate in Swedish or another Scandinavian language.


    This is a 2-year appointment, on a full-time basis. The appointment may be extended under special circumstances, but no longer than three years.


    Submit the application via the university's web-based recruitment tool, Varbi. The application should be in English. Applicants are responsible for submitting a complete application in accordance with the advertisement, for providing translations of any documents written in a language other than English, and for ensuring that the documentation allows for objective and qualitative assessments.

    The application should consist of the following documents:

  • Cover letter describing the applicant's experience in relation to the duties of the position and the assessment criteria.
  • CV, including list of publications.
  • A writing sample, such as a published article or thesis chapter.
  • Contact information for two references (we will seek approval from candidates prior to contacting references).
  • Attach these documents to the electronic application (do not just provide links). Name each uploaded document to clearly indicate its content.

    Ref no: REK2022/128

    Application deadline: 5 June 2022

    We look forward to your application!

    Karlstad University has chosen advertising channels for this recruitment and firmly declines any contact with advertising or recruitment agencies.

    HR Excellence in Research Karlstad University received the European Commission's HR Excellence in Research award September 2020. The award is issued to employers with a stimulating work environment and good conditions for researchers and its continuous improvement. The award also conveys the university's commitment to fair and transparent recruitment as well as favorable professional development for researchers. Read more:

    Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months

    Contract type Full time First day of employment By agreement Salary Monthly Number of positions 1 Working hours 100% City Karlstad County Värmlands län Country Sweden Reference number REK2022/128 Contact

  • Stefan Backius, Lektor, 054-7002084
  • Union representative

  • Thomas Bragefors, SACO, 054-7001714
  • Tony Ingemarsson, OFR , 054-7001404
  • Denita Gustavsson, OFR, 054-7001434
  • Published 12.May.2022 Last application date 05.Jun.2022 11:59 PM CEST

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