PhD vacancy: University of Groningen, The Netherlands *Collective governance, innovation and creativity in the face of climate change*

*PhD Researcher*

*Collective governance, innovation and creativity in the face of climate
change* *(1,0 fte)*

*Job description*

This PhD is part of the JPI/ NWO SELFCITY project that explores the
processes of self-organisation that underpin community-led, project-based
initiatives to address climate change in three countries across Europe.

Self-organising is one of the three inter-linked processes (along with
market-led and state-led mechanisms) that will underpin any pragmatic and
innovative transition to an adapted urban environment that is closer to
being carbon neutral and that may be resilient in the face of changing
(climate-induced) weather patterns. Whereas there has been work on
market-led and on state-led initiatives, we understand less well the ways
in which civil society constructs sometimes alternative and sometimes
complementary ways of addressing climate change. Building on existing
research on adapting the built environment, urban neighbourhoods and
facilitating energy transition, the project combines social researcher-led
work with participant action research to explore, record and enhance the
ways community leaders are organizing innovative, creative and pragmatic
climate change initiatives in their communities.

The project sets out how the problems of climate change are conceptualized
both by these activists/ practitioners and by the community members they
work with. The project creates space for activists to identify
capacity-building needs and for the research team to work with activists to
fill these needs. Through these reflexive activities both academic and
practitioners team will tease out the tensions and potentials of the
inter-relation of everyday societal knowledge and technical knowledge on
climate challenge responses. Not only does this project analyse the
tensions in these forms of knowledge creation within a given national
context. It uses the device of cross-national comparison to help
participants and other urban stakeholders create awareness of both their
distinct cultural, technical and institutional routines within which they
operate regarding climate change policies and how to break free from them.

The successful candidate will investigate politics of urban sustainability
transitions with reference to newly forming coalitions of actors that are
challenging the hitherto dominant technological and economic paradigm of
energy governance in The Netherlands. A crucial element will be critical
engagement with processes of self-organisation that underpin these
transitions, as well as social and spatial justice dimensions of the
changes and comparative work in the UK and Germany.

The individually written PhD thesis will consist of several international
scientific journal articles, and will be written in English. Presentations
at (inter)national conferences and assistance in organizing workshops with
the (inter)national collaborators and stakeholders are part of the
requirement as well. Some teaching will be involved.


– a research masters (or equivalent qualification or expertise) in a
field of study relevant to this research project (e.g. human geography,
urban planning, social sciences) or cognate area or discipline
– transcript of grades from research masters (or equivalent) level
– knowledge and clear interest in the fields of urban governance and
planning, climate change, sustainability, self organisation and
participatory research
– Enthusiasm for research at the interface of science and activism/
practitioner networks, alongside experience with qualitative and
participatory research methods
– good academic writing skills and fluency in English (and preferably
some competence in Dutch)
– willingness to travel and to conduct research in The Netherlands, the
UK and Germany
– keen interest in teaching.


– conceptual capacity and abstract reasoning
– strategic thinking, communicative (presenting) and organizational
skills and the capacity for working independently
– strong social skills to work in interdisciplinary teams and
comfortable to engage with networks outside the academy
– affinity with multidisciplinary cooperation and being able to work in
an international team of young researchers
– planning and organising
– drive, enthusiasm and creativity.

*Conditions of employment*

The University of Groningen offers a salary of ? 2,427 gross per month
(salary scales Dutch Universities) in the first year of the appointment,
rising to ? 2,664 gross per month in the third year of a full-time
position. The conditions of employment comply with the Collective Labour
Agreement for the Dutch Universities. This full-time appointment as a PhD
researcher (AIO) is temporary for three years, for students who have
completed their research masters (or equivalent). You will first be
appointed for a period of 12 months. After a positive evaluation, the
contract will be extended for the remaining part of the project. The
appointment of the PhD researcher is with the Faculty of Spatial Sciences
at the University of Groningen. As such, the PhD researcher will be
admitted to the Graduate School of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences.

We expect the successful candidate to start January 2015 or as soon as
possible thereafter.

The closing date for applications is *Friday 17 October, 2014, 17:00* Dutch
local time. You should submit applications by means of the application form
(click on “Apply” on the advertisement on the university’s website below).

We kindly invite applications for this exciting new position and request
the following:

– a curriculum vitae, including the research you have carried out for
obtaining your research masters (or equivalent) and a list of 3 persons as
academic references
– motivation letter: why you think you are the best match for this
position and explaining why you want to do research with us in this
particular field
– proof of English proficiency
– scientific text you have written within the last year.

Interviews will take place in October 2014. Unsolicited marketing will not
be permitted.


Please contact Dr. Justin Beaumont ( for further
information or to address any questions you may have. *DO NOT SEND


Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an
international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher
education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and
career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 28,000 students
and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the
best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious
partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an
international place of knowledge.

The PhD researchers will be based in the Department of Spatial Planning &
Environment in the Faculty of Spatial Sciences at the University of
Groningen, The Netherlands. The research will be part of the JPI SELFCITY
project (incl. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, NWO)
on *Collective governance, innovation and creativity in the face of climate

The project lasts for 3 years and starts in January 2015 and will be
supervised by Prof. dr. Johan Woltjer (promotor), Dr. Justin Beaumont
(co-promoter) and Dr. Chris Zuidema (co-promoter) from the Faculty of
Spatial Sciences. The PhD researcher will be embedded in a team of young
researchers and will collaborate closely with fellow PhD researchers and
post-doc researchers in the UK and Germany.

*The Faculty of Spatial Sciences*: information regarding the Faculty
Research Mission and the various research clusters and departments within
the Faculty of Spatial Sciences is available at:*.*

*Justin Beaumont* | Spatial Planning & Environment | University of
Groningen | The Netherlands | Website/ Blog <>