PhD Scholarship on how language shapes the spread of sustainable innovations

PhD Scholarship on how language shapes the spread of sustainable innovations

Published Deadline Location
11 Jul 14 Aug Groningen
The Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Business and Economics (both at the University of Groningen, NL) offer a four year studentship to complete a PhD within a joint interdisciplinary project led by Dr Jan Willem Bolderdijk, (https:// https://www.rug.nl/staff/j.w.bolderdijk/) Dr

Job description

The Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Business and Economics (both at the University of Groningen, NL) offer a four year studentship to complete a PhD within a joint interdisciplinary project led by Dr Jan Willem Bolderdijk, (https:// https://www.rug.nl/staff/j.w.bolderdijk/) Dr Saskia Peels (https://www.rug.nl/staff/s.peels/), Dr Manjunath Padigar (https://www.rug.nl/staff/m.r.padigar/) and Prof. Gerry Wakker (https://www.rug.nl/staff/g.c.wakker/).

The proposed PhD research project will be embedded in the department of the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Economics and Business, and will be located at the crossroads of linguistics, psychology and sociology.

Research topic
In order to avert more extreme climatic changes, societies worldwide need to rapidly adopt sustainable inventions, including carbon-neutral mobility and plant-based diets. But in the adoption of such change, the human factor is all-important. Relevant social groups must be able to understand and desire the change, and it must fit their world-views and convictions. Public discourse (‘labels’, ‘frames’ and ‘stories’ referring to an invention) may determine whether an invention spreads, and will turn into an ‘anchored innovation’ (Sluiter 2017).

The emergence of neologisms like ‘flightshame’ and ‘plofkip’ (overfed chicken) may for instance have helped to facilitate public awareness about the ethics of flight travel and industrial meat production, thus paving the way for sustainable innovations (high-speed trains, plant-based protein). In other words, how people ‘talk’ about change (the labels they use, the connotations and emotions that specific labels elicit) may determine whether innovations diffuse, or remain minority practices instead. As yet, there is little systematic empirical research on how social change and public discourse affect each other (Kurz & Prosser, 2021).

We invite proposals for a PhD project on the role of language in the successful integration of sustainable innovations. Potential research topics may include, but are not limited to the:

- the importance of neologisms in driving societal norms change: when and how do they become "contagious"?
- the role of activist brands (e.g. Tony’s Chocolonely) in pushing for sustainability practices in mainstream brands, through the use of neologisms (e.g. ‘slave-free chocolate’). When and how can such strategies help vs. backfire?

We welcome a wide range of approaches, such as linguistic approaches (philological, discourse-analytic), or projects starting from a sociological or psychological viewpoint, that aim at better understanding how innovations may become anchored in society and how societies can move towards sustainable choices. We also welcome projects with an interdisciplinary character, combining methods from various disciplines (computational linguistics, lab experiments).

The PhD project fits within the topic “sustainable society”, a university-wide cornerstone of the University of Groningen’s Strategic Plan. It also fits into the national research program Anchoring Innovation (https://anchoringinnovation.nl/).

Tasks of the PhD candidate will include:

- completion of a PhD thesis within four years
- presentations of intermediate research results at workshops and conferences; submitting these papers to journals
- participation in various PhD training programs
- participation in staff meetings and the intellectual life of the departments and the institutes involved.

Specifications

University of Groningen

Requirements

- a Research MA, MA or MPhil degree related to one of the areas mentioned above, held by time of appointment, with an MA thesis of high quality with a grade of at least 8.0 on a ten-point scale, or comparable assessment. That is, we are looking for someone with a degree in social psychology or sociology (or a related field) with a demonstrable affinity with linguistic analysis, or a someone with a degree in a language or linguistics, with a demonstrable interest in sociology or psychology;
- a special interest in interdisciplinarity and willingness to bridge the gap between linguistic approaches and sociology/psychology, including the willingness to learn
- well-developed research and writing skills, independent thinker
- excellent competence in English (both oral and written)
- ability to work in an organized manner, respecting deadlines; team player.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 48 months.

The successful candidate will receive a scholarship € 2,249 gross per month. You will be required to be resident in Groningen.

General information about the University of Groningen’s PhD scholarship programme can be found here: https://www.rug.nl/education/phd-programmes/phd-scholarship-programme/conditions-application/

The preferred starting date between 1 October and 1 November 2022. The latest possible starting date is 1 November 2022.

Department

Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Business and Economics

Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative center of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 36,000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

Additional information

Saskia Peels
s.peels@rug.nl

Jan Willem Bolderdijk
j.w.bolderdijk@rug.nl

Specifications

  • PhD scholarship; PhD scholarship
  • Language and culture; Economics
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €2249 per month
  • University graduate
  • B040222

Employer

University of Groningen

Learn more about this employer

Location

Broerstraat 5, 9712 CP, Groningen

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Application procedure

Your application (uploaded in one pdf as your ('Letter of motivation') should include:

• a brief letter of motivation
• a CV, including contact details of two academic referees
• a research proposal of up to 5-6 double spaced pages (between 500-1500 words, we encourage the use of visuals), covering (a) a specific research question and outlining its societal relevance, (b) the proposed (methodological) approach, and (c) the proposed timetable for the writing of your thesis. This proposal should correspond to the project description above.
• a writing sample of no more than 5,000 words, such as an essay or part of a Master’s thesis
• certified official transcripts of your academic degrees.

Official documents must be in the English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or Dutch language. Any translation of originals not in these languages must be authenticated.

You may apply for this position until 14 August 11:59 pm / before 15 August 2022 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

We recommend you contact either Saskia Peels or Jan Willem Bolderdijk before applying for the scholarship.

Note that the procedure will include interviews. Selected candidates will be invited for an interview via online conferencing. Interviews are scheduled to take place in week 35, 2022.

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage: https://www.rug.nl/about-ug/policy-and-strategy/diversity-and-inclusion/

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): https://www.nvp-hrnetwerk.nl/sollicitatiecode/ and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers: https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/charter/code

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Application procedure

Application procedure

Your application (uploaded in one pdf as your ('Letter of motivation') should include:

• a brief letter of motivation
• a CV, including contact details of two academic referees
• a research proposal of up to 5-6 double spaced pages (between 500-1500 words, we encourage the use of visuals), covering (a) a specific research question and outlining its societal relevance, (b) the proposed (methodological) approach, and (c) the proposed timetable for the writing of your thesis. This proposal should correspond to the project description above.
• a writing sample of no more than 5,000 words, such as an essay or part of a Master’s thesis
• certified official transcripts of your academic degrees.

Official documents must be in the English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or Dutch language. Any translation of originals not in these languages must be authenticated.

You may apply for this position until 14 August 11:59 pm / before 15 August 2022 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

We recommend you contact either Saskia Peels or Jan Willem Bolderdijk before applying for the scholarship.

Note that the procedure will include interviews. Selected candidates will be invited for an interview via online conferencing. Interviews are scheduled to take place in week 35, 2022.

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage: https://www.rug.nl/about-ug/policy-and-strategy/diversity-and-inclusion/

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): https://www.nvp-hrnetwerk.nl/sollicitatiecode/ and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers: https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/charter/code

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Make sure to apply no later than 14 Aug 2022 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).