Post-doc researcher Climate adaptation policy ‘lock-ins’ (1,0 fte)

Post-doc researcher Climate adaptation policy ‘lock-ins’ (1,0 fte)

Published Deadline Location
7 Jan 15 Feb Heerlen

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Job description

The postdoctoral researcher will play an important role in a new international research project on climate change adaptation (ADAPT-LOCKIN). ADAPT-LOCKIN is a three-year collaboration between the University of East Anglia (UK), the University of Oldenburg (Germany), and the Open University of the Netherlands (OU). Each partner is funded by its home country research council, under the Open Research Area in the Social Sciences programme. The project will investigate why societies are currently finding it hard to adapt to climate change. Although adapting to worsening impacts of climate change is one of the biggest global challenges, limited action on the part of public authorities still prevails; institutions, infrastructures, technologies and societal behaviours appear resistant to change. Understanding this gap requires better knowledge of the way societies are governed, going further than current literature’s focus on ‘barriers to change’.
Better explaining what we term ‘lock-ins’ requires uncovering the dynamics that create and sustain them. That is the aim of this cross-disciplinary study. Taking an empirical, but theoretically reflective, approach, it examines three policy sectors central to climate adaptation - water management, health care, and biodiversity and nature conservation – in three countries: Germany, Netherlands and the UK. Although in principle all three are well equipped to deal with climate adaptation, each is subject to lock-in. The project will use a mixed methods approach to understand why lock-ins arise and persist in each instance, and will employ Qualitative Comparative Analysis to better understand the dynamics of lock-ins as they affect climate adaptation. It will confront observed (in)action with different approaches for explaining lock-ins, advance conceptual and empirical understanding of how lock-ins emerge and endure, and use the findings to provide informed recommendations for the design of more effective adaptation policies.

The successful applicant will be joining the Department of Science in the Faculty of Management, Science & Technology at the Open University. Within the project, his or her responsibilities include creating a conceptual framework for analysing organizational-behavioural aspects of climate change adaptation (routines, action orientations, etc.), selecting case studies, empirical data gathering for the Dutch cases across water management, health care, and biodiversity and nature conservation sectors, data management and preparation for data sharing, synthesising empirical results, and contributing to communication, dissemination and a transdisciplinary conference. The successful candidate will also be asked to explore possibilities to translate the project outcomes into teaching material for the Open University.


The Open Universiteit (OU)



  • Ph.D.-degree in a social science discipline, including public administration, policy analysis and social environmental sciences
  • Knowledge of and experience in empirical research methods, for example case study analysis and/or Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)
  • A record of relevant scientific publications including working papers
  • Ability for and willingness to work in a multidisciplinary, international team and to communicate with external partners
  • Very good command of spoken and written English
  • Excellent report writing and presentation skills
  • Good time management and organisational skills
  • Preferably: expertise is one of the sectors under investigation, expertise climate change issues, and Dutch language skills or a willingness to learn them

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: temporary, for the duration of 3 years (start mid 2019).

The salary level will be determined on the basis of your education, experience and qualifications but will be in accordance with the general salary scales 10/11 of the CLA-NU. An indication of the maximum gross salary is € 4.978,=  per month based on a full-time tenure.

The employment is temporary, for the duration of 3 years (start mid 2019)


Open Universiteit

Studying online anywhere in the Netherlands and Belgium (Flanders)
The Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL) is the university in the Netherlands where students study part-time and follow online and activating education in bachelor and master degree programmes in seven fields of study. Characteristics of the education are openness, flexibility and quality. Enhancing the study success of students is an important point of focus. More than 14.000 students are studying at the OUNL and it has 655 employees. The OUNL has a network of regional study centres in the Netherlands and in Belgium (Flanders) ( The head office is situated in Heerlen.

The most modern technologies and educational insights are applied in bachelor and master programmes and courses and also in projects and programmes with partners. Nationally and internationally the OUNL plays a key role in the innovation of higher education. Education and research are closely interrelated which guarantees that the current state of science is applied. The OUNL not only invests in research in the various academic disciplines, but also in research in the field of learning, teaching and technology.

Satisfied students
For several consecutive years, the OUNL has achieved a top position among the fourteen Dutch universities in the National Students Survey, the Dutch university guide ‘Keuzegids Universiteiten’ (in which the ratings by students and experts of the bachelor studies of the fourteen universities are compared), and the Dutch university guide ‘Keuzegids Masters’. In addition all studies score high in the rankings of the universities for these studies. All ratings are available on the website (


Faculty of Management, Science & Technology

The faculty of Management, Science & Technology (MST) is one of the three faculties of the Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL). Education, research and valorisation are the main tasks of the faculty. MST offers academic bachelor and master programmes in the fields of management, environmental science and computer science. Additionally the faculty offers a Liberal Arts & Sciences bachelor program as well as short programmes for professionals (certified professional programs), who aim at gaining more in-depth knowledge. The research program centers on Learning and Innovation in Resilient Systems and is characterized by its multidisciplinary approach. The faculty has a large number of PhD-students who conduct research on various current topics within this research program. In addition, as a faculty of the OUNL, MST is partner in the Business Intelligence & Smart Services (BISS) Institute, which is part of the Brightlands Smart Services Campus http:/
As a result of the interdisciplinary focus on education and research, as well as the close link with practice, work at our faculty provides many innovative and challenging opportunities.

Department of Science
The Department of Science at the Open University of the Netherlands is an ambitious interdisciplinary group focused on sustainability issues. The group wants to contribute to the resolution of societal problems through excellent research and teaching programs, and one of its focal areas is environmental governance (Chair prof. Dave Huitema).The educational programs of this Department have received the highest accolades in the country in this domain for years. The Department has similarly high ambitions in the realm of research, as witnessed by its research program on “Resilience, Learning and Innovation”. We are looking for candidates who can contribute to the national and international profile of the OU, and who have the qualities to contribute new energy and ideas to our teaching and research.


  • Postdoc; Research, development, innovation; Education
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • AT/FAC/MST/19001


The Open Universiteit (OU)

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