Postdoctoral Researcher (Postdoc) At Urban Futures Studio & Utrecht University Pathways To Sustainability (1.0 Fte)

Utrecht University

Netherlands

September 14, 2021

Description

Postdoctoral researcher (Postdoc) at Urban Futures Studio & Utrecht

University Pathways to Sustainability (1.0 FTE)

Job description At the UFS you will actively contribute to the further development of the Urban Futures Studio into an academically innovative and societally relevant institute. You work to deliver innovative insights, intertwined with collaborating in new transformative policy practices. In conversation with the UFS Team, you study existing ways in which futures are performed, for instance by policy makers or in society. You investigate the techniques of futuring in use and report on your findings, both in peer-reviewed articles and via media that can reach selected target audiences. Within the established UFS interest in futuring, you are welcome to suggest and contribute to new lines of inquiry – we are always happy to hear new ideas. We are looking to strengthen our understanding of our four core topical interests:

Qualifications

In this three-year postdoc, you will be working in the Urban Futures Studio in close collaboration with its director prof. dr. Maarten Hajer. You are interested in exploring themes related to futuring, ranging from issues how we imagine the future, to the mobilization of scientific knowledge or rethinking decision making and citizen engagement. You have an understanding of the role of experts, the science-policy interface and its dilemma's and are interested in collaborating with policy makers and societal groups (transdisciplinarity). The UFS welcome candidates from a wide variety of disciplines from the social sciences of humanities, bringing relevant disciplinary knowledge and look forward to operating in a creative and interdisciplinary climate. Successful candidates understand not only how imagined futures weigh on action in the present, but also how action in the present simultaneously creates such imagined and path-dependent futures. Moreover, we encourage candidates to reflect on the ways in which we know about and interact with the future. At the UFS, you will combine an understanding of environmental issues and politics with insights from fields like Science and technology Studies (STS), public policy, discourse analysis, human geography or governance, and/or with artistic insights. 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%). Given the fact that the UFS reaches out to Dutch policymakers and societal groups, good communicative skills and fluency in Dutch are appreciated. Given the fact that the UFS reaches out to policymakers and societal groups, good communicative skills are crucial and fluency in Dutch (or a willingness to quickly develop this) is appreciated.

The candidate is expected to have:

  • a PhD in a relevant social science or humanities discipline, such as political science, sociology, urban studies, science & technology studies, anthropology, history, or the environmental humanities. Or a design discipline such as architecture or urban design;
  • a proven track record of research skills (relative to experience);
  • academic writing and presentation skills;
  • shown an ability to contribute to international academic debates through written contributions (peer-reviewed articles, conference papers, books, etc.);
  • the ability to work both independently and as part of a team;
  • an interest in setting up organizational experiments;
  • proficiency in English & Dutch is required;
  • an experimental attitude and excellent communication and collaborative skills;
  • experience in interdisciplinary work, design thinking and societal challenges, which is considered an advantage.
  • Offer

    You will be offered a Postdoc position (1.0 FTE), initially for a period of 12 months. Upon good performance, the contract will be extended for another 24 months (three years in total). The gross starting salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience - ranges between €2,790 and €3,746 (scale 10 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). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.

    About the organization

    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.

    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 initiate experiments. We aim to shed light on how imagination and re-imagination can contribute to finding roads to sustainable futures.

    At the Urban Futures Studio we focus on futuring, turning our engagement with the future into a (diverse) set of activities. Our goal is to understand current ‘techniques of futuring', and, in doing so, to shed light on the politics of the future. We always think about futuring in direct relationship to deepening our democratic practice.

    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.

    Convinced that new thinking starts in crossovers and ‘soft spaces', we actively initiate experiments with carefully staged meet-ups and exhibitions. Our aim: to understand the dynamics of change and expand the reflexivity on our repertoire of action.

    Additional information

    For further information about this position, please contact dr. Jeroen Oomen (j.j.oomen@uu.nl), researcher at the Urban Futures Studio.

    Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To apply, please click the button below. Applications should include:

  • a letter of motivation (max. 2 pages);
  • statement with future research plans (max. 2 pages);
  • a curriculum vitae including a list of publications;
  • two references;
  • two samples of academic writing (journal articles, book chapter etc.);
  • one sample of writing for a broader audience (blog post, op/ed article etc.).
  • The application deadline is 14/09/2021

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