Combined PhD-teaching position methods in interdisciplinary sustainability education (1.0 FTE)

Combined PhD-teaching position methods in interdisciplinary sustainability education (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
14 Nov 15 Dec Utrecht

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Are you interested in combining research on interdisciplinary sustainability education with teaching? Then do not hesitate to apply for this role!

Job description

Today’s complex sustainability challenges like climate change, feeding the world’s population, and biodiversity loss surpass single academic disciplines and require interdisciplinary approaches. The Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development of Utrecht University (UU) and University College Utrecht (UCU) therefore consider interdisciplinarity a crucial aspect in our education programmes.

To inform our interdisciplinary methods in education, the Copernicus Institute and UCU are looking for a combined teacher-PhD with an interest in education and sustainability science. In this position you will combine research on interdisciplinary sustainability education at the Copernicus Institute with teaching at UCU. As a combined teacher-PhD you have a 6-year contract to complete your PhD research and obtain a University Teaching Qualification (UTQ/BKO) in combination with teaching and education development. Research and teaching tasks are divided equally over this 6-year period. Your research and teaching will have an impact on education at UCU, the Copernicus Institute, and beyond.

Research towards the PhD is focused on interdisciplinary sustainability education in the context of broad bachelor programmes. Our team is interested in research questions on:

  1. the relation between disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge and methods;
  2. incorporation of transformative components, e.g. in co-creation between students, teachers, and stakeholders;
  3. how knowledge on education can impact research and teachers in the workplace.  

Teaching is primarily based at UCU and includes courses on Earth sciences, environment sciences and sustainability. University College Utrecht (UCU) is the international (English language) Honours College of Utrecht University in Liberal Arts and Sciences. It offers students an academic and residential setting to provide foundations for their academic and/or professional careers. Among the special characteristics of the college are its small classes and individual attention. It provides an environment that encourages intellectual exchange among students and teachers in a friendly and informal atmosphere. 

Your time between research and teaching is split equally. In addition, you have approximately 10% of your time for professional and academic development, for instance to obtain a University Teaching Qualification (UTQ/BKO) and follow PhD courses. You will also join the Geosciences Graduate School for PhDs. Guidance and supervision of your research and teaching is shared by the Copernicus Institute and UCU.


Utrecht University


We are looking for a candidate with a proven passion for education and interest in sustainability who would like to prepare students for the great challenges of the coming decades by their teaching and by their research. As an ideal candidate you have:

  • a Master’s degree (or you graduate before February 2024) in environmental sciences, sustainability sciences, Earth sciences, biology, or related field;
  • ability to combine and collaborate on the different tasks associated with research and teaching;
  • affinity with the societal context of sustainability challenges;
  • interest in and a positive experience with teaching (e.g. teaching assistant, junior teacher, lecturer at the University of applied sciences);
  • motivation to further develop your teaching skills and acquire the University Teaching Qualification (UTQ/BKO);
  • enthusiastic to combine teaching and research over a 6-year period;
  • excellent communication and academic writing skills in English (equivalent to B2).

Conditions of employment

We offer:

  • a position (1.0 FTE) for 1 year, with an extension to a total of six years upon successful assessment;
  • a full-time gross salary between € 2,770 in the first year and € 3,539 in the fourth year of employment in scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities;
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions from the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development, leave arrangements, sports and cultural schemes and you get discounts on software and other IT products. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow.

For more information, please visit 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 strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow.

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 Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development wants to have a positive impact on the transition to a sustainable society, which includes strengthening risk regulation regimes for chemicals and pharmaceuticals and reducing the need for the use of laboratory animals. We do this by developing excellent and relevant knowledge in interdisciplinary teams and by educating the change agents of the future. The Copernicus Institute has had an excellent research evaluation in 2021 and the institute takes pride in maintaining its leading position in national and international sustainability research, and by developing new, internationally oriented teaching programmes.


  • Education; Research, development, innovation; PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1216274



Princetonlaan 8a, 3584 CB, Utrecht

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