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  3. Postdoctoral researcher (Postdoc) at Urban Futures Studio & Utrecht University Pathways to Sustainability (1.0 FTE)

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Postdoctoral researcher (Postdoc) at Urban Futures Studio & Utrecht University Pathways to Sustainability (1.0 FTE)

Are you interested in exploring themes related to futuring?

2 maanden geleden


Domplein, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
36 - 40 uur
€ 2790 - € 3746 per maand


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 will in explore 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 are expected to have an understanding of the role of experts, the science-policy interface and its dilemmas 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 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. This means reporting 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, books). 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:

  • the relationship between democracy and the sustainability transition;
  • the collective imagination and its change;
  • reimagining the relationship between science and policy; and,
  • recombining techniques of futuring for sustainability transitions.

Possible lines of inquiry include:

  • How do imagined futures travel from presentation and performance to policy?
  • How can we (empirically/conceptually) enrich our understanding of the performance of futures and techniques of futuring?
  • How can we further connect our work to work on authority, legitimacy, justice, and democracy?
  • How can we further develop an interdisciplinary futuring agenda, including art, education, literature, and policy?
  • How can we connect our work on futuring to a new pedagogy oriented towards interventions in societal processes?

Additionally, candidates are expected to play an active role in the further development of ‘Futuring’ education at Utrecht University. In addition to regular courses, we are in the process of setting up a new experimental form of education: the Academy of Hope. This will be a novel programme in which professionals and Master's students work together on the active engagement with the future. You are also interested in collaborating with academics, policymakers, and other parts of society. Teaching will be part of the portfolio (but not more than 25%).

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.


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.

Additional information

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