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Postdoctoral Researcher And Lecturer In Inclusive Sustainability Transformations And Reflexive Governance

Are you an enthusiastic and creative researcher, working from a transdisciplinary and action-research perspective, with an interest in institutional renewal and sustainability transformations? Then the Athena Institute of the VU University would like to invite you to apply for the following position:

2 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
32 - 32 uur
€ 2790 - € 4402 per maand


Contemporary problems are often the unintended result of past choices in the way society is organised, socially and administratively. Solutions therefore suppose a breach in path-dependency: sustainable developments require a transformation of relevant institutions in addition to reflexive practice and governance. In order to make this work, and move towards practical problem resolution, professionals will have to let go of existing routines and re-define their actions in the light of complexity, uncertainty, distributed control and shared responsibility. The question is how institutional transformation on the level of society ‘writ large’ relates to the (joint and accumulated) actions of professionals on an individual and practice level, e.g. to their experimentation with multi-stakeholder processes, integrated knowledge production, and responsive and adaptive planning.

To contribute to expanding this area of research, we offer this post doctoral position. The successful candidate has a demonstrable interest in transdisciplinary research into adaptive organization and reflective practice, and feels at home in an institute devoted to research and teaching that seeks to actively contribute to dynamics that facilitate transformational change.

As postdoctoral researcher, your research will involve the simultaneous investigation and facilitation of processes of change within (public) organisations (including knowledge institutions, governmental organisations, agricultural collectives and health & welfare organisations). Your research focus will be on what is needed for enhancing the reflexive capacity of organisations, teams and professionals. As researcher at the Athena Institute, you will study this by using interactive and interventionist methodologies for monitoring, evaluation and co-design. Theoretically informed reflection on the ways in which such methodologies simultaneously facilitate the development of new knowledge and help revise practices is much welcomed, especially if the candidate is capable of translating these reflections into theoretical and methodological innovation.

By studying and designing inclusive, multi-stakeholder, social innovation processes, this research contributes to the expanding body of knowledge on societal transformation and reflexive governance.

Your duties

The position involves contributing to this research area for 50% of the time, and teaching in various courses offered by the Athena Institute for the other 50%.

Research tasks include, but are not limited to, further conceptualising this area of research from the perspective of public policy and governance, Science and Technology Studies and/ or innovation studies, operationalising the research for and in collaboration with specific organisations, designing and facilitating multi-actor processes, and contributing to research acquisition in this area.

Teaching tasks include lecturing, course coordination, workgroup coaching as well as supervising Master students during their internships and literature reviews on various topics in the Institute’s educational programmes.


You are expected to

  • have a PhD degree, preferably in the field of science & technology studies, public policy and governance, organizational change (incl. knowledge on communities of practice, reflective practitioners), knowledge cocreation, system innovation, public sector transformation or other discipline(s) that show(s) an integrated social sciences and natural sciences background
  • work as a team player, willing to integrate the characteristics and requirements of your object of research (enhancing the reflexive capacity of teams and professionals) into your own professional way of operating as a researcher, and as a member of a transdisciplinary research team
  • have experience with designing and facilitating focus group discussions and reflection sessions as part of change processes. You also have experience or affinity with participatory research methodologies such as reflexive monitoring in action, learning histories, most significant change techniques
  • have potential for, or experience with, obtaining research grants
  • hold a network of relevant (inter)national contacts
  • have excellent teaching skills as an engaged and inspiring lecturer, as proven by student-evaluations; have published in refereed international journals or books
  • write and speak Dutch and English fluently


A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,790 (scale 10)
and a maximum €4,402 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 0.8 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for a period of one year with a possible extension conditional upon assessment of adequate functioning. The maximum duration of the appointment is 4 years.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • possibility to save holiday hours, for sabbatical leave
  • child daycare facilities available on campus

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 28 Oktober 2021.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Dr. A. Loeber
Position: Associate professor of governance and sustainability
E-mail: a.m.c.loeber@vu.nl

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