Postdoctoral researcher, “Managing Scarcity” at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, History Department, Maastricht University 1 fte, 48 Months

Postdoctoral researcher, “Managing Scarcity” at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, History Department, Maastricht University 1 fte, 48 Months

Published Deadline Location
9 Mar 6 Apr Maastricht

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You are invited to apply for a 4-year postdoctoral position within the project “Managing Scarcity and Sustainability: The Oil Industry, Environmentalism, and Alternative Energy in the Age of Scarcity.” The project is funded by a NWO Vici grant awarded to the principal investigator, Cyrus Mody.

Job description

Research project
The project ‘Managing Scarcity’ will study the oil industry’s involvement in the resource scarcity debate of the 1970s. Through channels such as the 1972 Limits to Growth report and UN Conference on the Human Environment, current and former oil executives helped focus global attention on the scarcity of clean air and water, food, electricity, and of course oil. Through external collaborations and in-house projects in solar and nuclear energy, computing, biotechnology, and other technologies, oil firms explored ways of addressing scarcity. Yet in the 1980s the urgency of scarcity diminished and oil firms withdrew from association with environmentalism and alternative energy.

‘Managing Scarcity’ will combine perspectives from the history of science and technology, business history, and environmental history. The project will consist of four interlinked subprojects – focusing respectively on: solar and nuclear power; oil firms’ involvement with computing and biotechnology; and the resource scarcity debate and resource forecasting. The post-doctoral project, dealing with the latter topic, will analyze the networks in which oil firms and oil actors participated (e.g. the Club of Rome and the International Institute for Environment and Development) and the technologies they developed for forecasting future resource use and availability. You are expected to collaborate closely with the researchers in the other sub-projects. 

Job description
This is an exciting opportunity to join a research team working on the history of the oil industry, environmentalism, and resource scarcity, particularly (but not limited to) the period 1968-1986.

You will:

  • Develop a line of historical research that studies the forecasting technologies, communications channels, and global networks that oil actors and their associates constructed to steer the resource scarcity debate in the 1970s.
  • Carry out archival and oral history research in several countries.
  • Play a crucial role in the conceptual and methodological innovations required by the project, in collaboration with the other researchers on team.
  • Help to co-ordinate and administer the overall project, including the organization of workshops, conferences and public outreach events.
  • Dedicate some of your time to teaching and supervision in the Faculty’s BA and MA programs.
  •  Write and co-author academic publications together with other members of the team.
  • Plan and participate in team meetings.


Maastricht University (UM)


You have:

  • A completed PhD in History, or another field relevant to the project, such as Science and Technology Studies, Geography, or Environmental Humanities.
  • Methodological experience in archival research.
  • Experience with organizing workshops, lecture series, and/or similar events.
  • Excellent written and spoken command of English (Cambridge English Proficiency, level C2, oral and written), as demonstrated by academic publications and presentations at international conferences.
  • A willingness to contribute proactively to the development of the Managing Scarcity project.
  • Good organizational skills.
  • Experience in teaching at the BA or MA level.

Because of the transnational nature of the oil industry, sources will be written in several different languages. At least one member of the project should be able to read French and/or Italian. At least one member of the project should be able to write in Dutch for wider audiences. Knowledge of other languages (e.g., Norwegian, Spanish, Portuguese, or Arabic) is a plus: please indicate your ability in any languages and the possible relevance of those languages to the project.

Conditions of employment

We offer a dynamic and challenging job in an internationally-oriented organisation where young people receive an advanced education and scholars conduct exciting research. You will have the unique opportunity to carry out research within one or more of the four themes within the research programme. You will be part of an international network of top universities and renowned scholars within the field.

We offer a 4-year full-time appointment as Post-Doctoral Researcher (Onderzoeker 3). The first year will be a probation period, after a positive assessment the position will be extended for the remaining 3 years.

Remuneration will be according to standard salary levels, depending on education and relevant work experience. This implies a gross monthly salary of about € 3.255,00 per month, scale level 10 (based on a full-time appointment). Controleren door HR assistent
After a positive assessment a promotion to scale 11 is possible in the 2nd year.
Each year the standard salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.

You have to be willing to move to (the vicinity of) Maastricht. If you do not already live in Maastricht (or its direct surroundings) you will be eligible for an allowance for moving costs. If you do not already live in Maastricht (or its direct surroundings) you might be eligible for an allowance for alternative housing.

Other secondary conditions include e.g. a pension scheme and partially paid parental leave.

You will be provided with shared office space and a PC.

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 > Support > UM employees.

Starting date: 15 August 2020


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 18,000 students and 4,300 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.


Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS) has about 250 staff members, and about 1,600 students. More than 76% of the students are non-Dutch (64 different nationalities). All programmes are offered in English and some are also offered in Dutch. FASoS offers three 3-year bachelor’s programmes: Arts and Culture, European Studies and Digital Society. It also offers eight different 1-year master’s programmes and two 2-year research master’s programmes. Research is organised around four programmes: Politics and Culture in Europe; Science, Technology and Society Studies; Arts, Media and Culture; and Globalisation, Transnationalism and Development. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is housed in the historic city centre of Maastricht.


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society
  • AT2020.89


Maastricht University (UM)

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