Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam VU, The Netherlands

PhD in Climate Change & Institutional Innovation at Vrije, Netherlands, June 2022

The Netherlands

PhD in Climate Change & Institutional Innovation with graduate in Science, Technology and Society, Innovation Studies, Public Administration, Sociology, Political Science, Organizational Science or one of the Life Sciences is available at Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 2022

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General Info

Position: PhD
No. of Positions: 1
Research Field: , , , ,
Deadline to Apply: Expired
Joining Date: ASAP
Contract Period: 6 years
Salary: €2.443 to €3.122

Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), the Netherlands


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Qualification Details

  • is a graduate in, for example, Science, Technology and Society, Innovation Studies, Public Administration, Sociology, Political Science, Organizational Science or one of the Life Sciences, preferably in an interdisciplinary subject with a focus on the role of knowledge in policy processes on complex social issues or knowledge cocreation. Candidates with experience in related fields integrating social sciences and natural sciences may also apply
  • has an affinity with action research and with the dynamics between civil society organizations, knowledge institutions and policy practice
  • has knowledge of qualitative research methods and is open to (or has experience with) transdisciplinary research
  • has a proven ability to work well in interdisciplinary teams (listening, flexible, adaptive, proactive)
  • has good organizational and communicative skills
  • excellent verbal and writing skills in English and an excellent command of the Dutch language (mandatory)

Responsibilities/Job Description

Climate change and associated contemporary societal problems call for innovative and creative solutions on a scale that may be at odds with existing administrative divisions in governmental arrangements. Likewise, such solutions may challenge standing divisions between scientific disciplines and proven methodological traditions. To develop the innovative and creative solutions required, new modes of collaborative governance and transdisciplinary, action-oriented research are needed. However, professionals working in governments and research performing organizations often have difficulty in stepping away from existing routines and task perceptions. What today’s problems need, is constructive and integrative action to instigate learning and transformation, fueled by the active creation of trust among actors, and actively engaging these in the process (think for instance of policy makers, researchers, farmers, and citizens).

If this description stirs your curiosity and interest, please apply to join a vibrant and growing team of researchers within the Athena Institute that focuses on societal transformation processes and institutional innovation!

Organization of the research trajectory

The Athena Institute within the Faculty of Science at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is looking for a researcher interested in governance, institutional and methodological innovation in the fields of climate change governance, the physical environment and environmental policy to develop their own research which will result in a scientific dissertation. As a PhD student, you will participate in research projects of the Athena Institute, especially ones developed in close cooperation with the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency around the themes of climate policy and region-based innovative policy. You will work closely with other PhD students, as well as junior and senior researchers. During the PhD program, you will be offered opportunities for professional development.

Your duties

  • Conducting methodologically innovative, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary scientific research on institutional innovation in view of complex social issues in the physical environment
  • Designing a research proposal that builds on and fits with current policyoriented projects in collaboration with your VU supervisors and commissioning organizations
  • Designing and facilitating interactive methods, such as multistakeholder dialogue sessions aimed at problem articulation and the joint development of solutions, followed by concrete actions and their management
  • Writing Englishlanguage research articles that will be submitted to international scientific journals for peer-review and will culminate in a scientific dissertation
  • Writing Dutchlanguage, informative articles for policymakers on the results of the research;
  • Teaching (up to 40% of the appointment) in the courses provided by the Athena Institute.

How to Apply?

Application Method: Online Application
Ref. No.: -

Application Procedure

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 20/06/2022.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

About the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.


We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences

The position is offered within the Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences. The institute’s mission is to study and design interfaces between science and society to contribute both to a deeper understanding of innovation processes as well as a responsible implementation of research and innovation in society. Athena’s research program amongst other focuses on analysing complex global health challenges, designing interventions and conducting participatory monitoring and evaluation research. The section presently has a position vacant for a Postdoc/Lecturer.For more information about the Athena Institute visit our website.

About the Employer:



A challenging position at a socially involved organization. The salary during the first year is €2.443 (PhD) rising to €3.122 ( PhD) gross per month.The appointment is initially for 18 months with the possibility of extension if the work is satisfactory. The maximum duration of the appointment is 6 years. It is possible to obtain the Basic Teaching Qualification (BKO).

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

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Contact details

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

Name: Dr. Anne Loeber

Position: Associate Professor

E-mail: [email protected]

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