Post-Doctoral Researcher at UNU-MERIT

Post-Doctoral Researcher at UNU-MERIT

Published Deadline Location
5 Aug 6 Sep Maastricht

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UNU-MERIT is seeking to appoint a part-time Research Fellow to work on a new EU funded Horizon2020 project on Pathways to Inclusive Labour markets (PILLARS).

Job description

Project background:

The PILLARS project (2021-2023), funded by the European H2020 research programme, studies how changes in emerging automation technologies, their adoption along GVCs, and related industrial transformations, affect the future of work through the reconfiguration of the demand for skills. The main objective of PILLARS is to provide policy makers and the public with information about what kind of skills will be in demand and how to revise education and training systems to create the opportunities to acquire them.
The PILLARS project consists of ten partners, eight EU partners and one partner in China and in Latin America. You can find further details on the project here, or by contacting the project members (below).

Job description:

The main goal of this position is to support the design, analysis and administration of a large real-time Delphi survey to gauge the development and adoption potential of automation technologies in the near future (i.e. a decade) across industries. It will complement results from the analysis of unstructured (big) data on science and technology and innovation that is running in parallel.

The Research Fellow will primarily focus on conducting a large-scale global online Delphi survey to gather intelligence on which automation technologies are likely to advance in the near future, in which industries they will be adopted, and to conduct which tasks.

The Research Fellow will:

  • use Delphi techniques to design the survey, together with a team at UNU-MERIT and Technopolis Group, and in collaboration with all other project partners;
  • use standard statistical analysis methods to parse and analyse the data, as well as text and sentiment analysis to analyse the discussion within the responses;
  • support the organisation of workshops in five different countries to conduct focus groups with a selected group of experts, to discuss results from the Delphi survey and data analysis;
  • work alongside the project team in UNU-MERIT, SPRU (University of Sussex) (and in collaboration with other partners) that are using data mining, machine learning, and text analysis methods to analyse unstructured data on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to identify emerge technologies, and estimate the industry exposure to these.

The Research Fellow will work in collaboration with a team of top innovation scholars, economists, and job market data scientists in UNU-MERIT, SPRU and partner organisations, and two Research Fellows on data science. The Research Fellow will participate in several projects meetings and workshops to refine survey design, as well as external conferences and workshops.


Maastricht University (UM)


The ideal candidate will have a PhD (or be close to completion) in economics, future studies, science and technology studies or equivalent disciplines.


  • experience with Delphi survey methods, and/or foresight analysis in general;
  • expertise in studying emerging technologies (Future Technology Analysis), particularly automation technologies, and a background on economics of innovation theories, especially in relation to employment and the organization of work and industries;
  • experience with conducting large surveys;
  • good statistical skills and knowledge of semantic analysis;
  • excellent knowledge of the theory of technological change and future technology analysis;
  • good knowledge of the literature on employment and technological change;
  • evidence of engagement in high-quality research activity;
  • excellent presentation skills, with the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with students, colleagues and external audiences;
  • willingness to work in an interdisciplinary, collaborative, and stimulating team and project;
  • ability to work individually on own initiative and without close supervision, and as part of a team;
  • ability to exercise a degree of innovation and creative problem-solving;
  • excellent organisational and administrative skills;
  • ability to manage multiple, concurrent tasks;
  • ability to prioritise and meet deadlines;
  • strong attention to detail;
  • excellent IT skills;
  • excellent speaking and writing in English


  • ability to think about new ways of interrogating experts about the trajectories of future technologies;
  • emerging track record of high-quality publications in reputable journals and other appropriate media of similar standing;
  • ability to work with an interdisciplinary team;
  • willingness to lean emerging methods to broaden our ability to understand social and technological evolution;
  • experience with large scale research projects.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: We offer a part-time employment contract as a Post-Doctoral Researcher for a period of 1 year.

Remuneration will be according to standard salary levels, depending on education and relevant work experience. This implies a gross monthly salary in scale 10 or 11 of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (gross salary between € 2.790,- and € 5.127,- per month on a fulltime basis). Each year, the standard salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.

The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website > About UM > Working at UM

You have to be willing to move to (the vicinity of) Maastricht. 


Maastricht University

Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 20,000 students and 4,700 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.


UNU-MERIT / Maastricht Graduate School of Governance

UNU-MERIT is a research and training institute of United Nations University (UNU) based in the south of the Netherlands, which collaborates closely with Maastricht University. The institute’s research mission is to provide new insights into the economic, social and political aspects of growth and development in local and international contexts. Its research and training programmes address a broad range of questions including the economics of technology and innovation, multi-level governance, intellectual property protection, social protection policy, knowledge creation and diffusion, and migration.

Researchers at UNU-MERIT are internationally recognized for their contributions to the understanding of the economic, political, social and philosophical foundations of the processes of technical change. The institute also has a history of project implementation for international institutions such as the World Bank, UNICEF, UNDP, IOM, ILO and national governments.


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society; Economics
  • max. 15.2 hours per week
  • €2790—€5127 per month
  • Doctorate
  • AT2021.313


Maastricht University (UM)

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