Postdoc position on The Origins of Breakthrough Inventions (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
19 May 20 Jun Utrecht

Postdoc position on The Origins of Breakthrough Inventions (1.0 FTE)

Job description

The Postdoc position is part of the NWO-VICI project “The Genealogy of Novelty: An evolutionary explanation of breakthrough inventions in science, technology, and the arts” and aims to analyze the personal, institutional and geographical conditions supportive of breakthrough inventions. The project will investigate breakthroughs in science, technology and the arts. Currently, four PhD students are employed on the grant.

One of the key questions in the project is whether people with a variety of knowledge and experiences, are also the most creative and successful. A second question is what geographical and personal conditions favor breakthrough innovation and the institutional change processes prompted by it. These questions will be addressed using databases (on documents, inventors, artefacts), agent-based modelling and/or detailed case studies. The candidate is also encouraged to support and collaborate the PhD students currently working on sub-projects.

Candidates will become part of the Innovation Studies group of the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University. Professor Koen Frenken will act as supervisor.


We seek highly motivated candidates with a PhD degree in innovation studies, economics, management, geography, history, sociology, political science, science & technologies studies, or a related discipline. We are looking for candidates who:

  • have knowledge about theories of innovation;
  • have affinity with, or willingness to learn about theories from evolutionary economics, complexity theory and/or institutional sociology;
  • have a strong background in quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies;
  • are proficient in English;
  • have excellent scientific writing and planning skills.


A postdoc can spend the vast majority of their time on the research project; only 10% of their time will be spent on teaching, and supervision of (under)graduate research projects. The preferred starting data is between 1 September 2017 and 1 January 2018.

Conditions of employment

The successful candidate will be offered a full-time Postdoc for two years. Based on the experience and qualifications of the candidate, the gross monthly salary is between €2.552,- and €4.028,- (scale 10 Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) gross per month for a full-time employment. The salary is supplemented by a holiday allowance of 8% per year and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.

We offer a pension scheme, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). Facilities for sports and child care are available on our campus, which is only 15 minutes away from the historical city center of Utrecht. More information is available at: working at Utrecht University.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Geosciences offers education and research concerning the geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and anthroposphere. With a population of 2,600 students (BSc and MSc) and 600 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organization. The Faculty is organized in four Departments: Innovation, Environmental and Energy Sciences, Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, and Human Geography and Urban and Regional Planning.

The Department of Innovation, Environment and Energy Sciences is responsible for the education of approximately 1,000 students enrolled in the Department’s three Bachelor programmes and four Master programmes. The research component of the Department is organized within the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. Research is organized in four main themes: energy & resources, environmental science, environmental governance and innovation studies. The Copernicus Institute includes some thirty-five faculty members, fifteen postdocs and sixty PhD students.


  • Postdoc positions
  • Natural Sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week, permanent
  • €2552—€4028 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 909937



Domplein 29, 3512 JE, Utrecht

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