Appointment of Chair in Transformative Sustainability Governance (1.0 FTE)

Do you have an ambitious research agenda that will generate new insights into how fundamental and transformative changes in orders/structures can be achieved?
  • WO
  • Tijdelijk
Universiteit Utrecht


The Faculty of Geosciences is seeking to appoint a new Chair in Transformative Sustainability Governance. The chair will provide Utrecht University with the opportunity to strengthen its research leadership by shaping a new research agenda that focuses on cutting-edge social science research on the conditions for transformative change in sustainability governance. This will be achieved by providing inspiring leadership and drawing on the existing work of colleagues in the Department of Sustainable Development (Copernicus Institute) and beyond. This chair is embedded in the university-wide strategic themes ‘Pathways to Sustainability’ and ‘Institutions for Open Societies’. The faculty seeks candidates with an ambitious research agenda that will generate new insights into how fundamental and transformative changes in social, economic and political orders and structures can be achieved, while also seeking to empower individuals and communities to take action on their own behalf. Such transformative change may include, for instance, new understandings and practices of national and global economic systems, new understandings of democracy, or new policies towards more sustainable consumption and production.


The appointed professor should meet the general requirements for professors set out by Utrecht University and the Faculty of Geosciences, The following MERIT requirements relevant for this position are:

  • Excellent social, organisational and management skills in teaching and research;
  • Experienced in fostering a culture of mutual respect, collegiality and care in which principles of diversity and inclusion are respected. Education;
  • A vision for and experience with innovation in teaching at BSc and MSc levels (e.g. challenge-based learning);
  • A preparedness for, and possibly experience with, co-developing lifelong learning programmes;
  • Excellent experience in teaching at different levels (undergraduate, graduate and PhD programmes); making a significant contribution to the development and delivery of high-quality teaching at an internationally competitive level;
  • Teaching leadership and management skills required to organise, provide and develop teaching programmes that enable students to achieve their potential.

  • Having a PhD and proven excellent research expertise, with a disciplinary background in Political Science, Public Administration, Sociology, or Sustainability Science more broadly;
  • Outstanding problem- and theory-guided research achievements demonstrated by an excellent publication record and evidence of research outputs which are consistently recognised as internationally excellent;
  • Strong reputation in the international scientific community as evidenced by successful engagement with international networks and projects, and a recognised contribution to the development of the research field;
  • An inspiring research vision including future collaborations with adjacent fields and groups;
  • Research leadership as evidenced by significant contributions to establishing and leading research groups and engagement in mentoring of early career researchers;
  • Proven experience in the successful recruitment and excellent supervision of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers;
  • Strong expertise in quantitative and/or qualitative research methodology;
  • Significant contributions to the development of research proposals and successful acquisition of (inter)national research grants.

  • Interest in societal challenges related to sustainable development, and the ambition to engage in interactions related to these topics;
  • Experience with research or teaching with stakeholders from government or civil society;
  • Experience with the development and implementation of research impact strategies for different stakeholder groups;
  • Strong and proven ability to effectively communicate with the non-academic world;
  • A preparedness to generate impact in the Netherlands at national or local levels.

Team spirit
  • Team player, bringing out the best in other people;
  • Experience in and inspired to function in and lead academic teams;
  • Given the existing global and urban research agendas at the Environmental Governance Section, candidates who bring a complementary research focus (e.g. European or national levels) are welcomed.


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.


The chairholder will be appointed for 0.8-1.0 FTE full-time equivalent. The appointee will be expected to spend 50% of their time on research activities, 30% on teaching and 20% on management; the exact percentages may change depending on specific responsibilities and management tasks. Additionally, societal impact and team spirit are important elements of recognition and rewards of Utrecht University and parts of the Faculty of Geosciences MERIT appointment and promotion scheme, focussing on management, education, research, impact, and team spirit. It is envisaged that the Chair in Transformative Sustainability Governance may take over formal leadership of the Environmental Governance section after 2026.
The salary – depending on previous qualifications and experience – ranges from €6,099 to €8,881 gross per month for full-time employment (scale H2 according to the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities). The salary is supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% per year.

In addition, Utrecht University offers an excellent pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions. For more information on terms of employment at Utrecht University please visit working at Utrecht University.

Meer informatie

An executive search exercise is being undertaken by Perrett Laver to support the university in identifying the widest possible field of qualified candidates and assisting in the assessment of candidates against the requirements for the role.

Informal enquiries and questions can be directed to Tiziano Sartor on +31 20 240 4370 or by emailing tiziano.sartor@perrettlaver.com.