Postdoc position on Justice, Power and Transformative Action in Sustainability (0.8 FTE)

Utrecht University

18 Oct 2023
Job Information

Utrecht University
Research Field
Researcher Profile
Recognised Researcher (R2)
First Stage Researcher (R1)
Application Deadline
31 Oct 2023 – 23:00 (UTC)
Type of Contract
Job Status
Not Applicable
Hours Per Week
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

Just sustainability transitions refer to processes of change that aim to create more sustainable societies by improving the quality of life of present and future species within ecological limits. They have the explicit goal of (a) improving the quality of life of current and future species within ecological boundaries and (b) addressing injustices that are triggered or exacerbated by unsustainability and its underlying causes. Ongoing discussions on (un)sustainability often focus on ecological, technological and economic dimensions and top-down government policies. While those dimensions are all crucial for understanding and tackling (un)sustainabilities, so is the role of social and political change, which is considerably less well understood.

There are several scholars, research initiatives, networks and educational programmes across Utrecht University (UU) and beyond that touch directly or indirectly on topics of justice, power and/or transformative action in sustainability. However, debates and initiatives remain disconnected and scattered across themes, disciplines, or epistemological lenses. To unfold the full transformative potential of scholarship on these topics, we see the need to connect these debates and initiatives, to learn from and with each other, and to collectively engage in reflection and action.

For this position, we are looking for an inter- or transdisciplinary researcher with a background and interest in justice, power and transformative action in sustainability. You have explicit expertise on sustainability, transformation, environmental justice and/or just transitions. You are eager to engage deeply with different literatures from different disciplines and different epistemological bases. You also are interested in understanding how we can bring these different engagements together, for shaping research agendas and engaging with policy makers. In addition, you also consider yourself an engaged, transformative scholar, who wants to have impact by connecting the academic community at Utrecht University and beyond.

You will work on:

  • Co-developing a shared, inter- and transdisciplinary research and teaching agenda on just sustainability transitions, which requires a deep engagement with different literatures from different disciplines and different epistemological bases;
  • Mapping, connecting and shaping research and teaching at the intersection of justice and sustainability at Utrecht University and beyond (e.g. mapping teams, topics and impact journeys, connecting with other platforms and initiatives, organising special sessions at conferences, mapping how/to what extent power, justice & transformative action are addressed in education, exploring how to integrate justice and sustainability topics into existing courses and/or develop new modules and courses);
  • Exploring funding & acquisition opportunities at the intersection of justice, sustainability, and transformation ;
  • Engage in and organise community activities within and beyond UU and societal engagement activities with societal stakeholders, in diverse forms (e.g. public debates, movie nights, etc.)

Specific Requirements

  • You have or very soon will have an interdisciplinary PhD in which you have researched questions of justice, power and/or transformative action in sustainability;
  • You like to engage with different disciplines and can understand historical and disciplinary roots of justice and sustainability debates and, at the same time, are willing and able to bring unconnected debates together;
  • You combine a deep academic curiosity with an intrinsic motivation for organising spaces where people can meet to discuss and connect on topics of justice, power and/or transformative action in sustainability
  • You are a team player interested in close collaboration with your colleagues;
  • You are a respectful communicator who is interested in using language in an inclusive way;
  • You can work independently and have a proactive attitude;
  • You are experienced in organising and facilitating transdisciplinary settings (projects, workshops etc.);
  • You are analytically strong: you view questions from various sides and are able to prioritise;
  • You have a strong command of the English language, both spoken and written;
  • You can be present at the university at least three days a week (Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, depending on the tasks, sometimes more often);
  • As mapping activities are part of the activities of what is going on at UU, knowledge of and experience with these initiatives around JUPITA topics (e.g. Pathways to Sustainability, Institutions for Open Societies, etc.) is an advantage.

Additional Information

We offer:

  • a position (0.8 FTE) for 1 year, until project end;
  • a full-time gross salary between €2,770 in the first year and €3,530 in the fourth year of employment in scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities;
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions from the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development , leave arrangements, sports and cultural schemes and you get discounts on software and other IT products. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow.

For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University .

Selection process

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 via the ‘apply’ button.

Additional comments

For more information about this position, please contact Kristina Bogner (Researcher) at [email protected] or +31 30 253 76 00.

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
Utrecht University
Postal Code
3584 CB
Princetonlaan 8a

Where to apply



Domplein 29
Postal Code
3512 JE


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