Vacancy: Postdoctoral Researcher Transitioning of Urban Food Systems (fulfilled)

28 February, 2019

We are looking for a driven, socially engaged and outstanding researcher interested in sustainability transitions in general and in urban food systems in particular. Are you our new colleague? 

DRIFT is seeking to expand its team with a new researcher to support on-going and new research projects and to support bringing science to practice in consultancy and education. We are seeking a driven, socially engaged and outstanding researcher interested in sustainability transitions in general and in urban food systems with a passion for linking scientific rigor with relevance for practice in European and Chinese city regions in particular.

The researcher will spend the majority of her/his time working on the JPI Europe funded project SIRIUS as a postdoctoral researcher and as part of an international research team. Besides SIRIUS, the researcher will support acquisition of research proposals, bridge science to practice in consultancy projects and support education within DRIFT’s Transition Academy.

The SIRIUS project
The project SIRIUS will address conceptual, methodological and empirical challenges of sustainable pathways in ‘glocal’ food production and consumption. Identifying and assessing transition pathways of future urban food systems often remains a neglected topic in studies on urban sustainability. Yet, local planners and policy-makers seek scientific guidance and learning opportunities about mechanisms to navigate towards sustainable urban food systems.

The role of new business models, social entrepreneurship, and transformative innovations evolving locally in the urban food sector, while being connected within global networks of learning, will be unpacked in the project. The expected research outcomes will enhance the governance capacity in transitioning urban food systems and establish learning arenas that illuminate similarities and differences of urban planning and decision-making on urban food system governance in China and Europe. The main objectives of the postdoctoral research position are:

  • Considering the social innovations and local diffusion pathways towards insights about a governance of trans-local food systems in transition. With the lens of transition theory, you will examine front-running urban food innovators in production, distribution, and consumption (e.g. vertical farming, food sharing, food delivery, circular approaches to reuse food waste) with a particular focus on social innovation. Your research aims at understanding their urban innovation habitat and identifying their diffusion potential to become scaled and replicated in other contexts (EU < – > China).
  • Comparing how Chinese and European cities govern transformations in the urban food system from a trans-local (‘glocal’) perspective. A particular focus is given to understanding transformative mechanisms and practices (e.g. leapfrogging, experimental governance) by which cities intend to effect urban food strategies and their implementation (e.g. cross-jurisdiction planning; certification of organic food; using citizen involvement and local grassroots initiatives to shorten food supply chains).
  • Contributing to establish and facilitate a learning arena for knowledge exchange, experimental governance and mutual learning between key stakeholders from urban food systems in China and Europe, following the principles of transdisciplinary process design.
  • Publishing research findings in high-ranked scientific journals, presenting the project at international conferences, cross-fertilizing the results with local and international scholars and practitioners.

The candidate should have:
The successful applicant will have an excellent academic track record, a completed PhD degree, and demonstrated capacities for inter- and transdisciplinary scientific research, preferably in an international context.

We encourage candidates with a multi-disciplinary background in Human Geography, Sustainability science, Policy Studies, Innovation studies, Science and Technology Studies, Environmental science, Environmental Sociology or Governance studies to apply.

An affinity with sustainability transitions, the concept of urban food systems, local to global food production and consumption patterns, and experiences with conducting research in transdisciplinary projects is highly desirable.

Ideally, the candidate has first-hand experiences with urban food systems. Previous working experiences with Chinese research partners would be an additional asset. Candidates should be proficient in English (both writing and speaking) and willing to collaborate and travel internationally. The project requires frequent traveling to the Chinese and European case study regions. Candidates should as well be able to communicate in Dutch or be willing to learn Dutch in due time.

Conditions of employment
DRIFT offers a dynamic and challenging environment and has attractive employment conditions, which include a holiday allowance of 8 %, a good leave arrangement, a flexible pension plan and various collective insurances. Employees can use the sport accommodation and the university library.

The salary for this contract is subject to salary scale 10 CAO-NU (currently €2,709 to €4,274 gross) depending on experience. The Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) is explicitly not applicable.

Duration of the contract: one year (with the intention to prolong) and 1,0 FTE. Prolongation of the contract is possible under the same operating conditions and on good performance. This is for assessment by the employer.

Please note that only EU citizens, or others already in the possession of a Dutch resident permit and a work permit (that is not employer-based) are eligible. If you have any doubt, please check with us before applying.

Job application
Deadline for applications is the 24th of March 2019 at 18:00 CET. Applicants are invited to send their application consisting of the following to Ms. Maryce Koedood:

  • A full resume, including a list of publications and (if applicable) of acquired research grants (in English);
  • 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);
  • An executive summary of the candidate’s PhD thesis also highlighting key insights from the thesis work (maximum length 1 page A4) and (if applicable) the approach and impacts of science-practice collaborations (in English).
  • A link to the published full PhD thesis and a scanned copy of your PhD certificate; if the thesis has not yet been defended, a valid proof of acceptance by the committee (or equivalent final approval) and proof of a set defense date before July 1st
  • If available: a proof of CEFR level C1 or C2 or equivalent level certified by other widely recognised English language test method. If this is not supplied, we may require you to take an assessment later on.

Important note: Documents 1, 2, 3, and 4 should be sent as one PDF file entitled: LAST-NAME-OF-APPLICANT_SIRIUS.pdf (e.g. SMITH_SIRIUS.pdf) in one email (to be send to: Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Important Dates

  • Application submission deadline is on the 24th of March 2019 at 18:00 CET.
  • A first round of interviews will be held on the 9th of April 2019. For applicants who live outside the Netherlands, interview via Skype/ZOOM can be discussed.
  • Appointment will ideally start on June 1st 2019 (but no later than July 1st)

The Dutch Research Institute for Transitions is an action research institute located at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Founded in 2004, Drift evolved from a Dutch based research institute to an internationally oriented institute with worldwide networks, projects and contributions in the field of sustainability transitions.

We are a young, ambitious and interdisciplinary group of researchers, trainers and consultants that combine academia with reflexive activism. Our backgrounds range from innovation studies and environmental science, to sociology, political science, policy analysis, geography, anthropology, engineering, history, as well as economics and philosophy. Drift aims to understand, facilitate and accelerate sustainability transitions, by putting scientific theory into practice and by implementing and developing innovative governance approaches, such as Transition Management.

Next to research, Drift advises governments and companies within the Netherlands, Europe and non-European countries. Furthermore, Drift is actively involved in university education and through multiple courses, coaching trajectories, workshops, in-company trainings and creative educational experiments. Read more about our organisation.

Acquisition as a result of this vacancy is not appreciated.