Full Professor in Sustainable Business (F/M) (1.0 FTE)

Full Professor in Sustainable Business (F/M) (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
18 Apr 24 May Utrecht

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Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences is looking for a Full Professor in Sustainable Business. Interested? Read more and apply here.

Job description

The Faculty of Geosciences has a position for a Professor in Sustainable Business. It will be a full-time Professorship within the Department of Sustainable Development also known as the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, a leading institute in the field of Sustainability research. The chair is embedded in the Innovation Studies group that focusses on innovation and sustainability transitions. This chair is also embedded in the strategic themes Institutions for Open Societies and Pathways to Sustainability of Utrecht University, thereby strengthening the profile of Utrecht University in these two themes.

The Innovation Studies Group predominantly studies change processes at the meso-level and at the professor level a focus on business is missing. By means of installing this chair the Innovation Studies Group broadens its focus by better positioning itself in the field of management studies as well. The aim of this chair is to study business strategies that go beyond incremental and adaptive change strategies. Instead the chairholder should focus on businesses that radically change their business models in order to align them with the transformative changes that are needed in society. The chair also focuses on new businesses that have adopted a sustainable business model from the start.

The chair is a full-time appointment, including a management component. The appointee will be expected to spend 50% of time on research activities, 40% on teaching and 10% on management. The general tasks of the professor are:

Research tasks (50%)

  • The chairholder should contribute to the excellent international scientific profile of the Department. The chairholder is expected to develop and execute research in the field of Sustainable Business, to contribute to theory development in the fields of sustainability research and organization / management studies and with this research to further strengthen the profile of the Copernicus Institute. We strive for a blend of publication output in interdisciplinary and business journals.
  • We expect the chairholder to guide and supervise a small team of Assistant Professors active in the field of sustainable business.
  • Obtaining external research funds for PhDs, Postdocs and other projects is part of the tasks of the professor (resulting from successful grant applications in various national and international funding programmes, such as Horizon 2020, ERC, Belmont, NWO, etc.), as is the coaching of junior and senior staff. This includes training through coaching, and transfer of knowledge.
  • The Professor is expected to be active in societal outreach, communicate academic insights, network with societal organizations and to become a visible authority for non-academics in this field. This requires a deep interest in the real challenges that organizations are confronted with and to develop joint research projects with societal partners and firms. An impact-oriented research strategy fits with the rise of transdisciplinary research at Utrecht University.
  • Working from an transdisciplinary perspective the professor needs to be creative and able to work outside her / his comfort zone.
  • The Professor is expected to initiate and stimulate research collaboration within the Copernicus Institute as well with other groups outside the institute. The large body of researchers on circular economy is a very good starting point for cooperation. Also the existing strong ties with the scientific research themes of Utrecht University, in particular Institutions for Open Societies and Pathways to Sustainability are good starting points for cooperation and collaboration. 

Teaching tasks (40%)

  • The chairholder will strategically contribute to teaching programmes, especially to the master programmes "Sustainable Business and Innovation" and "Global Sustainability Science". It is expected that the chairholder plays an important role in the alignment between the teaching programmes and societal demand.
  • Coordinate and teach courses in the BA and/or MA programmes and contribute to curriculum development, especially to the master programmes "Sustainable Business and Innovation" and "Global Sustainability Science". Education tasks include the responsibility for full courses, lecturing, supervising master students with their thesis and contributions to specific programmes such as summer and winter schools. Several courses are offered at the moment where business and sustainability is the core theme (e.g., "Business and Sustainability Challenges", "Governance and Change Management for Sustainability", "Business, Sustainability and Innovation"). It is expected that the newly appointed professor especially participates in these courses and defines interesting research topics for MSc theses in this field.
  • Preferably, the candidate should function as figure head of the programme Sustainable Business and Innovation. This includes managing the contacts with a wide range of businesses that are interested in the programme and its students.

Management tasks (10%)
During the first 3 years typical professor duties are expected like becoming primary advisor of tenure track Assistant Professors, taking part in PhD committees and smaller faculty duties like membership of education committee. After three years the chairholder is expected to be open to taking up significant management tasks within the Copernicus Institute and the Faculty, e.g. research director or section head. When increased management tasks are taken up, this will come at the expense of teaching and research.


Utrecht University


The appointed Professor should meet the general requirements of professors set out by Utrecht University and the Faculty of Geosciences. Particular requirements for this position are:

  • we require that the candidate has a PhD and proven strong relevant expertise, like Organization Studies, Transition Studies, Innovation Studies, Management Science, Sociology.
  • outstanding problem- and theory-guided research achievements demonstrated by an excellent publication record and evidence of research outputs which are consistently recognized as internationally excellent.
  • strong reputation in the international scientific community in the field of research as evidenced by successful engagement with international networks and projects and a recognized contribution to the development of the research field.
  • good relations with businesses and empirical knowledge about business strategy.
  • an inspiring research vision including future collaboration with adjacent fields and groups.
  • research leadership as evidenced by significant contributions to establishing and leading research groups and engagement in mentoring of early career researchers.
  • proven experience in successful recruitment and excellent supervision of PhD candidates and Postdocs.
  • strong expertise in quantitative and/or qualitative research methodology.
  • significant contributions to the development of research proposals and successful experiences in acquisition of (inter)national research grants.
  • excellent experience in teaching at different levels (undergraduate, graduate and PhD programmes); making a significant contribution to the development and delivery of high-quality teaching at an internationally competitive level.
  • teaching leadership and management skills required to organise, to provide and to develop teaching programmes that enable students to achieve their potential.
  • interest in societal challenges related to sustainable development, and the ambition to engage in interactions related to these topics. Strong and proven ability to communicate with the non-academic world.

Last but not least: excellent leadership skills with a focus on team performance, support and help people to develop, bringing out the best in people by inspiring them and management by example.

Utrecht University employs a system of quality assessment for teaching and research, with consequences for career development. This system implies that, in addition to having a PhD in a relevant field of research, an eligible candidate also possesses appropriate senior level academic teaching and research qualifications; the Faculty may use an assessment as an instrument in the selection procedure.

Utrecht University specifically encourages female candidates to apply.

Conditions of employment

The salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience - ranges from €5,582 to €8,127 gross per month for a full-time employment (scale H2 according to the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities). The salary is supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition we offer an excellent pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions. Here you'll find more information about 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, colleagues from various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Sustainability, Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, and Life Sciences.

Utrecht University has been ranked in the 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities as the best university in the Netherlands, and as one of the leading research universities in Europe. Utrecht University's sustainability research has the greatest citation impact worldwide according to a study conducted by Times Higher Education (2016). The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old centre and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht has been consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the Netherlands.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth, always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development. The research of this Department is organized in the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development.  

The Copernicus Institute is part of the Faculty of Geosciences. The Copernicus Institute has been evaluated in a 2014 international review as the highest ranked research institute in environmental sciences in the Netherlands. Since then, the institute has intensified its efforts in maintaining its leading position, among others by investing in several new international faculty appointments and by developing new, internationally oriented teaching programmes. The Innovation Studies Group studies innovation processes related to societal challenges like sustainable energy innovations, affordable and responsible healthcare practices, sustainable mobility systems, sharing economy, and sustainable entrepreneurship.


  • Policy and staff; Management; Professor; Associate professor; Assistant professor; Lecturer
  • Natural sciences
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €5582—€8127 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 1040765



Domplein 29, 3512 JE, Utrecht

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