Ph.D. Researcher Vacancy: Governing transitions to a Circular Economy – Fulfilled

28 March, 2018

We are seeking a driven, motivated and outstanding PhD researcher interested in sustainability, sustainability transitions and the circular economy with a passion in linking scientific understanding and insights to policy. The doctoral researcher will be part of a fast-track doctoral stream (3-years) connected to an international research project on accelerating the transition to a circular economy at the food-energy-water nexus (FEW).
Update: we found ourselves a new colleague. Thanks for your interest!
The research will consider the processes and strategies to accelerate a transition towards a circular economy on a regional scale. The international research project aims at mapping and substantially reducing resource inefficiencies at the food-energy-water (FEW) nexus in city-regions across three continents: Europe, Africa and South America. In order to test new circular economy models and to learn about their potential uptake, the project builds on four Urban Living Labs (ULL) made up of key stakeholders who together will undertake collaborative research to map resource flows; identify critical dysfunctional pathways at the FEW nexus; assess the socio-environmental and economic impacts of alternative closed-loop (circular) models, and develop strategies to govern the further diffusion of these circular alternatives most appropriate to the local and regional context (e.g. policy interventions, evolving actor networks).
The focal aim of this doctoral research position is to develop and test a new methodological framework for mapping the acceleration potential of circularity within a region. With your research, a relevant gap within transition studies will be addressed. Local niche experimentation (for example in ULL) and regional sustainability governance often remain disconnected. This gap impedes the further uptake and diffusion of promising sustainability solutions. The research will be guided by the following overarching research questions: How do systemic analyses of resource flows, actor networks, co-creative envisioning and backcasting play out in a structured procedure to identify the acceleration potential and diffusion pathways of closed loop commodity models for a region? How do actors (i.e. transition initiatives, business, and policy actors) navigate through these pathways when being confronted with trade-offs between the socio-environmental and economic impacts of alternative closed loop models at the food-energy-water nexus? What is the particular role of the ULL setting as a site for learning, co-creation and governance for circular niche models?

Candidate Requirements

The successful applicants will have an excellent academic track record, a completed Master of Science degree, and demonstrated capacity for interdisciplinary science research. We encourage candidates with a multi-disciplinary background in Innovation studies, Policy Studies, Urban Planning, Geography, Industrial ecology, Science and Technology Studies, Environmental science, Sociology, Environmental Sociology or Governance studies to apply.
An affinity with sustainability transitions, the concept of the circular economy, and/or innovation and governance studies is highly desirable. Ideally, the candidate has first-hand experiences with theories of innovation diffusion and/or assessment methods for circularity (e.g. MFA, LCA), Scenario & backcasting techniques, as well as transdisciplinary research approaches. The project requires intense collaborations with international practice partners. Candidates should be proficient in English (both writing and speaking), willing to collaborate and travel internationally, .
The Supervisory Team
The research will be supervised by an experienced and collaborative team comprising:

Conditions of employment
In accordance with our employment policies, you will be offered a temporary contract for one year (starting June 1st 2018), with conditions for extension to two further years depending on performance. You will be employed by the ESSB faculty of Erasmus University and placed on secondment to the DRIFT institute.
Salary is subject to salary grades P0 to P2 (€ 2.083 to € 2.542 brutto amounts). On inception of the employment contract, you will be placed in salary grade P0 (€ 2.083) for a period of 12 months. Salary grades correspond to the Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch universities (CAO), a 40 hour-workweek, with generous amount of leave days. In addition to the monthly salary, an end-of-year payment of 8,3% and a holiday allowance of 8% will be paid. We offer a dynamic and challenging environment and good working conditions as well as a flexible pension plan and various collective insurances. Employees can use the sport accommodation and the university library. The initial period is one year. At the end of the first year, performance will be evaluated, and if progress towards a PhD is satisfactory, the employment will be prolonged for another two years.
Job application
Deadline for applications is the 15th of April 2018. Applicants are invited to send their application consisting of the following to Maryce Koedood:

  1. A full CV, including an overview of academic credits, and prior project or research activities (if applicable);
  2. A motivation letter, specifying the candidate’s experiences and motivations for this position (in English); including a second page stating two references (names + contact details). It is recommended to include a short explanation of the relationship between the candidate and the suggested referee (i.e. supervisor, work together, acted as teaching assistant);
  3. An executive summary of the candidate’s Master of science thesis also highlighting key insights from the thesis work (maximum length 1 page A4).

Important note: Documents 1, 2 and 3 should be sent as one PDF file entitled: LAST-NAME-OF-APPLICANT_Waste_FEW.pdf (e.g. SMITH_Waste_FEW.pdf) in one email. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Important Dates

  • Application submission deadline is on the 15th of April 2018 at 12:00 CET.
  • A first round of interviews will be held on the 23rd of April 2018. For applicants who live outside the Netherlands we will conduct the interview via Skype.
  • Appointment will start no later than the 1st of June 2018.
  • Scholarship tenure: 3 years full-time (fast-track PhD)