Postdoctoral researcher (Postdoc) Academy of Hope (0,8 - 1,0 FTE)

Postdoctoral researcher (Postdoc) Academy of Hope (0,8 - 1,0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
22 Jul 14 Sep Utrecht
You will be working in the Urban Futures Studio in active collaboration with the departments of Sustainable Development and Human Geography and Spatial Planning

Job description

At the UFS, you will actively contribute to the further development of the Urban Futures Studio into an academically innovative and societally relevant institute. You work to deliver innovative insights, intertwined with collaborating in new transformative policy practices. In conversation with the UFS Team, you study existing ways in which futures are performed, for instance by policy makers or in society. You investigate the techniques of futuring in use and report on your findings, both in peer-reviewed articles and via media that can reach selected target audiences. Within the established UFS interest in futuring, you are welcome to suggest and contribute to new lines of inquiry – we are always happy to hear new ideas. We are looking to strengthen our understanding of our four core topical interests: the relationship between democracy and the sustainability transition; the collective imagination and its change; reimagining the relationship between science and policy; and, recombining techniques of futuring for sustainability transition. You contribute will to our teaching portfolio on futuring. In addition to regular courses, we are in the process of setting up a new experimental form of education: the Academy of Hope. This will be novel program in which professionals and master students work with each other about the active engagement with the future. You are also interested to work in collaboration with academics, policymakers, and other parts of society.

Possible lines of inquiry include:

  • How do imagined futures travel from presentation and performance to policy?
  • How can we (empirically/conceptually) enrich our understanding of the performance of futures and techniques of futuring?
  • How can we further connect our work to work on authority, legitimacy, justice, and democracy?
  • How can we further develop an interdisciplinary futuring agenda, including art, education, literature, and policy?
  • How can we connect our work on futuring to a new pedagogy oriented towards interventions in societal processes?

Specifications

Utrecht University

Requirements

In this four-year Postdoc position you will be working in the Urban Futures Studio in active collaboration with the departments of Sustainable Development and Human Geography and Spatial Planning. You will intellectually and practically build the ‘Academy of Hope’.

In 2021 the educational team of the Urban Futures Studio won the second prize of the Higher Educational Premium for education based on a ‘Mixed Classroom’ concept, in which teachers, students and policymakers learned together. With the awarded grant, the next step will be to develop an innovative curriculum in which students and agents of change, such as policymakers, activists, artists, and others, learn with and from each other by exploring and engaging with both imagined futures ‘in use’ and radically different imagined futures. A central notion in this initiative is hope, which we see as a generative concept beyond naive optimism and fatalism. We position ‘hope’ against a looming ecological crisis, which urges us to re-imagine the world we live in and how, where and with whom we organize learning.

For this Academy of Hope, we are looking for a Postdoc. Beyond simply implementing a programme, developing the Academy of Hope means engaging with action research, studying practices from around the world, working on an educational and pedagogical philosophy, and experimenting with new forms. You will do so in a small and vibrant team of Researchers and Teachers. In addition to scoping and building the Academy of Hope, you will work for approximately one day a week on other projects in the Urban Futures Studio. These tasks will be discussed during the application process.


For this position, we are looking for a colleague with a strong interest in practice- and intervention-oriented education, as well as an interest in the active engagement with the future. Ideally, you intuitively combine knowing and acting. You can stage a workshop with participants from different backgrounds, but you can also analyse that same workshop conceptually. Given these broad demands, we are open to applications from candidates with a completed PhD in all fields related to the social sciences or humanities, including (but certainly not limited to): planning and geography, inquiry and action research, futures studies, and educational studies. In the Academy of Hope, the Urban Futures Studio collaborates with the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning and the Copernicus institute of Sustainable Development, both at the Faculty of Geosciences. The Faculty of Geosciences of Utrecht University offers a unique environment to study this challenge as it combines knowledge on energy efficiency, economics, energy policy, behavioural sciences, innovation systems, as well as knowledge on (sustainable) urban development.


The selected candidate will be the driving force of the Academy of Hope team, so we look for someone who likes organizing as well as reflecting. Moreover, what the Academy of Hope exactly will become as an ‘institute’ has deliberately been left open. We seek someone who feels comfortable with this uncertainty and who would like to join us on our journey of reinventing learning in the 21st century. The candidate is expected to mostly work in a small and informal team (4-6 team members). The ideal candidate can communicate fluently in both Dutch and English.

Conditions of employment

You will be offered a Postdoc position (0.8-1.0 FTE, depending on applicant preference), initially for a period of 12 months. Upon good performance, the contract will be extended for another 30-36 months (three and a half to four years in total, depending on the size of employment). The maximum size is: 48 months for 0.9 FTE. The gross starting salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience  - ranges between €2,790 and €3,746 (scale 10 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.

Employer

Utrecht University strives for excellence in teaching and study performance. This also holds for the clearly defined research profiles with respect to four core themes: Dynamics of Youth, Life Sciences, Institutions for Open Societies and Pathways to Sustainability. Utrecht University has a strong commitment to community outreach and contributes to answering the social questions of today and tomorrow. The Faculty of Geosciences of Utrecht University offers a unique environment to study this challenge as it combines knowledge on energy efficiency, economics, energy policy, behavioural sciences, innovation systems, as well as knowledge on (sustainable) urban development.

The Urban Futures Studio is a small research group at Utrecht University. We critically study how images of the future, positive and negative, become embedded in our collective imagination. We conduct empirical research on existing practices, but also help initiate experiments. We aim to shed light on how imagination and re-imagination can contribute to finding roads to sustainable futures.


At the Urban Futures Studio, we focus on futuring, turning our engagement with the future into a (diverse) set of activities. Our goal is to understand current ‘techniques of futuring’, and, in doing so, to shed light on the politics of the future. We always think about futuring in direct relationship to deepening our democratic practice.


Our interest in sustainability animates investigations of the neighbourhoods of the future, climate change and climate modelling, biobased building and nature-based solutions, the future of energy systems, futures literacy, the social theory of the collective imagination, and climate engineering.


Convinced that new thinking starts in crossovers and ‘soft spaces’, we actively initiate experiments with carefully staged meet-ups and exhibitions. Our aim: to understand the dynamics of change and expand the reflexivity on our repertoire of action.

Additional information

For further information about the vacancy, please contact Dr. Jesse Hoffman (j.g.hoffman@uu.nl) or Dr. Peter Pelzer (p.pelzer@uu.nl).

Specifications

  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society; Natural sciences
  • 28—40 hours per week
  • €2790—€3746 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 1161930

Employer

Location

Domplein 29, 3512 JE, Utrecht

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Interesting for you

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Application procedure

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To apply, please click the button below. Applications should include:

  • a letter of motivation (max. 2 pages). This letter should include:
    a) an example you find inspiring for the Academy of Hope. This can be a similar initiative, a book, or something else;
    b) an explanation of why this is an inspiring example, and
    c) one characteristic that the Academy of Hope in 2024 might have – this could be a conceptual focus, a course that is being taught, or a specific way in which the Academy’s team operates;
  • a curriculum vitae including a list of publications and your educational experience;
  • two references;
  • one sample of academic writing (journal articles, book chapter etc.); 
  • one sample of a transdisciplinary or educational achievement, you are proud of.

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To apply, please click the button below. Applications should include:

  • a letter of motivation (max. 2 pages). This letter should include:
    a) an example you find inspiring for the Academy of Hope. This can be a similar initiative, a book, or something else;
    b) an explanation of why this is an inspiring example, and
    c) one characteristic that the Academy of Hope in 2024 might have – this could be a conceptual focus, a course that is being taught, or a specific way in which the Academy’s team operates;
  • a curriculum vitae including a list of publications and your educational experience;
  • two references;
  • one sample of academic writing (journal articles, book chapter etc.); 
  • one sample of a transdisciplinary or educational achievement, you are proud of.

Make sure to apply no later than 14 Sep 2021 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).