Post-doc on International Waste Streams and Their Impact on the (De)growth of City-Regions

Post-doc on International Waste Streams and Their Impact on the (De)growth of City-Regions

Published Deadline Location
18 Oct 15 Dec Amsterdam

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Job description

We are looking for post-doctoral researcher able to investigate the role of (inter)national flows of construction waste in the (de)growth of city-regions. The post-doc will critically analyze the regulations that organize these flows, and conceptualize the relation between circular economy and degrowth in the socio-economic transformation of cities. The overall aim of the post-doc is to develop a framework that explains if and how circular economy and degrowth agendas can be combined in the sustainability strategies of cities. The focus of the analysis is European flows of construction materials and their impact on the development industry in The Netherlands.

If you are a skilled scholar, with a strong sensitivity to the political ecology of city-regions, a clear knowledge of the degrowth framework, and experience in international research, then you are our ideal candidate.

As post-doc you will be working in the research team of the DECYCLE project, funded by the ERC starting grant framework and led by the PI, Dr. Federico Savini. The project is starting in December 2022, and the team is composed of 2 PhD researchers, the PI and one research assistant. As post-doc you will also help the PI setting up the research practice within the team. The post-doc will be positioned in the Urban Planning Research Group of the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies at the University of Amsterdam.

What are you going to do

The post-doc will work on a specific subproject within the DECYCLE project. The research focuses on the regulatory frameworks that organize international streams of construction and demolition waste. Theoretically, the research aims to build a critique of mainstream circular economy research while advancing degrowth research. To do so, you will focus on city-regions and their urban development, and how they are embedded in international material flows.

In specific, the subproject studies how international regulations allow to valorize city-regional waste materials. It focuses on construction waste because this stream includes multiple materials and because construction waste is the urban sector with the largest environmental impact. The Netherlands is taken as the point of origin and destination for the tracing of construction waste streams in Europe. This country is the first in the EU for 'backfilling', and it is a leading advocate of the circular economy while it invests largely in waste incineration and exports. This subproject identifies nodes within the construction waste geography in Europe, examining the impact of public regulations at national and regional levels. In so doing, it aims to develop theoretical insights on the regulations that shape urban degrowth and circular economy. For this project, the post-doc will use both (secondary) quantitative and (primary) qualitative data. These include EU regulations on waste and building materials, material prices, and semi-structured interviews with corporations and EU regulators.

You will
  • Collect data on regulations and legal frameworks that apply to construction and demolition waste in the Netherlands and those that apply internationally. To collect this information, you will conduct interviews with policy makers, EU experts in waste, representatives of companies in the business of waste management, both in The Netherlands and internationally.
  • Analyse how these regulations have been reformed in the last years, focusing on the power relations that shape these regulatory frameworks. You will need carry out archival research and interviews, looking at professional publications in different fields. To carry out the research you will zoom into specific projects of circular waste reuse in the built environment (to be defined together with the PI), so to grasp how regulations are protected, contested and reformed.
  • Conceptualize the relation between circular economy and degrowth in city-regions. The empirical work will be integrated in the developing debate on circular practices in the built environment and on the necessary reduction of material demands.
  • Publish in top-ranked journals both independently and in collaboration with the PI.
  • Help with the dissemination of results, assisting the PI with the scientific activities of the DECYCLE project.
  • Help tutoring the DECYELE PhDs in collective reading groups.
  • Assist the PI and the research assistant in the organization of workshops.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


Your experience and profile:

Successful candidates for this position are those that combine expertise on degrowth and circular economy practices/policies at an international level, with analytical skills for the study of urban development.

Required skills
  • A PhD degree in urban planning, social geography, environmental studies, environmental geography, environmental sociology or planning law. Other disciplines are also suitable, but candidates need to show a clear socio-spatial dimension in their previous work.
  • A research interest in political ecology and the critique of the ecological impact of urban development.
  • Excellent writing skills in English
  • Basic knowledge of Dutch language, sufficient to understand written materials.
  • Experience in publishing in peer-reviewed academic journal, and/or other relevel academic publication (edited books)
Desirable skills.
  • Abilities to understand a set of (secondary) data on material stocks, waste, building and environmental requirements, environmental zoning.
  • Ability to carry out trans-disciplinary research.
  • Experience in teamwork and collaborative research.
  • Capacities to organize dissemination activities (eg. seminars, webinars, workshops)
  • Research experience in policy analysis and/or policy design.

Conditions of employment

The position concerns an employment contract of 38 hours per week for a maximum term of 2 years. After 6 months we will assess your performance and, upon positive assessment, extend your contract till a maximum of 2 years. For this position the University Job Classification profile Researcher 3 applies.

Depending on your experience, the minimum salary is €3,974 and the maximum salary is €5,439 gross per month based on a 38-hour working week, in keeping with salary scale 11, as per the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities.

We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

What else do we offer

As a post-doc at the department of geography, planning and international development studies, you will enjoy a range of educational and research activities. We will offer:
  • A highly collaborative environment, both within the DECYCLE project and within the Urban Planning Research Group.
  • Support in preparing the next steps of your career after the post-doc.
  • Support in improving your publications record as well as in developing your own research profile.
  • The possibility to develop your experience in international research settings. You will be fully integrated in the international research of the DECYCLE project, which takes place in The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Austria.
  • An enthusiastic and engaged research environment both within and outside the University. You will be invited to be involved in policy debates on circular economy and degrowth both in The Netherlands and in the city of Amsterdam


Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. The social and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €3974—€5439 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 10658


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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