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Post-doctoral Job offering on transformative innovation policy

Two Postdoctoral Researchers at the Centre for Global Challenges (1.0 FTE)

Job description
Utrecht University is looking for two Postdoctoral Researchers: one Postdoc on ‘Transformative Innovation Policy in a Global Comparative Perspective’ and one Postdoc on ‘Using impact evaluations to understanding drivers of poverty and inclusion’.

Global challenges, like climate change, increasing inequality, poverty, conflicts, breaches of human rights and citizens’ concerns about identity, cannot be solved from the perspective of just one discipline. The Centre for Global Challenges brings together people from different backgrounds and disciplines to explore and study these challenges and to contribute to innovative solutions. The Centre is a joint initiative of the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance.

The formulation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is not only an expression of a desire for a better future, but also a reflection of the need for transformation, as expressed in the subtitle of the UN Agenda 2030 – ‘Transforming our World’. The implementation of SDGs into policy and action remains a challenge for all countries.

The Postdoc working on Transformative Innovation Policy will take as a starting point that a transformative innovation policy will be a key success factor for implementing the SDGs, precisely because it opens up the possibility for the State to address Agenda 2030 from a transformations perspective and achieve the SDGs in an integrated way. The UN Agenda on Transforming our World will be interpreted in this project as a call for new form of innovation, which is socio-technical system change. Such innovations provoke a broader system change not only in the technology used, but also in consumer practices and needs, skills and capabilities of all actors involved, infrastructures, governance, regulation, industry structure and cultural meanings of the system. Each economy has a large number of socio-technical systems in place that fulfil important societal functions in application areas such as energy, food, healthcare, mobility, communication. Transformative innovation policies aim to enable a change of these socio-technical systems into more sustainable directions.

The aim of the research is to look at the role of the state in transformative innovation policy at local, national and as well international level. A main research question is how this role should evolve for enabling transformations of socio-technical systems. In particular various forms of experimental governance will be explored. The research will seek to compare experiences in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europa. It will be a combination of historical research and action research. The former is looking at the role of the State in innovation policy over the last 50 years. The action-research component aims at participating in policy programmes in which various governments are experimenting with new roles (policy labs, but also more broadly societal experimentation by cities for example).

The research will draw on and connected to the work of the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium which is led by Johan Schot, Chair in Comparative Global History at the Centre for Global Challenges (as of January 1st 2019), who will be the supervisor and co-worker of the Postdoc project. The Postdoc will be based in the Department of History and Art History (Faculty of Humanities).

The other Postdoc, who will be working on Drivers of Poverty and Inclusion Using Impact Evaluations, will take as its starting point that achieving the SDGs, decision makers design a range of policies, but intention and action are not always aligned in a world where human behavior is complex and can be at odds with full information rational choice theory. Therefore economists, in collaboration with policymakers, are increasingly using impact evaluations, including field experiments and quasi experimental evaluations, to test what works in practice and better understand human behavior in the process.

The Postdoc is expected to have a broad interest in using impact evaluations to better understand drivers of poverty and inclusion, with a focus on low- and middle income countries. In doing so, the Postdoc is expected to participate in one of two (or both) areas of investigation. The first area is education, including early childhood education, as a force for inclusion and prosperity of poor and/or vulnerable children. The second area is climate change as a driver for vulnerability, including conflict, and ways of using smart policy and programme design to promote mitigation and resilience among vulnerable communities. The Postdoc will work closely with Joost de Laat, professor of Economics, in particular Global Economic Challenges and will be based at Utrecht University School of Economics (U.S.E.), part of the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance.

We are looking for enthusiastic scholars who match the set-up and substance of these themes and use of impact evaluation methods. We expect her/him to not only do research in one or both programmes but also to contribute to the overall coordination and direction of the research programme.
We expect both Postdocs to be active in developing an external network of professionals and academics. This includes responsibility for organisation of research activities and events, such as conferences, workshops and joint publications, presenting results at (inter)national workshops and conferences and publish them in proceedings and leading journals. In addition, we expect that both Postdocs work on external and internal communication (website, blogs, briefs) activities, projects and research, working with each other and professional support staff reporting on activities, projects and research. Both Postdocs should also take a keen interest in the Utrecht Centre for Global Challenges, including participating in Centre activities, as well as interest in connecting his/her research to the Center’s other cross-cutting domains, including ethics, human rights, and identity.

Job specific requirements for the Postdoc on Transformative Innovation Policy:
· completed dissertation in sustainability research, in particular Sustainability Transitions Studies with an interest in innovation and public policy, or in any other discipline with relevant Postdoc experience;
· experience with interdisciplinary research;
· interest in taking a global and historical perspective;
· proven ability to work in teams, and with policy-makers;
· fluent in English and a good understanding of Spanish (desirable).

Job specific requirements for the Postdoc on Impact Evaluations:
· complete dissertation in Applied Economics and/or another programme from a relevant disciplinary field;
· experience with multi-disciplinary research;
· experience with research in one or both specific research areas mentioned above;
· experience with impact evaluation methods;
· keen interest in low- and middle income countries;
· international academic orientation;
· creative thinker and prolific writer;
· team player and has good communication skills;
· excellent command of English.

We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for the duration of 3 years starting on 1 January 2019 or soon after. The salary – depending on previous qualifications and experience – ranges between €3,545 and €4,852 (scale 11 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) gross per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 % per year. We offer a pension scheme, (partly paid) parental leave, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information is available at: working at Utrecht University.

About the organization
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 societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance is a Faculty at the heart of society, with a strong focus on social issues. Our subjects of Law, Economics and Governance give us a strong mix of academic disciplines that complement and enhance each other. This is a unique combination and a mark of our Faculty’s strength. The Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance includes three Departments: the Utrecht School of Governance (USG), the Utrecht University School of Economics (U.S.E.) and the Utrecht University School of Law (USL).

The Faculty of Humanities aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe within a fast changing social and cultural context. The Faculty encompasses four areas of inquiry: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Cultural Studies and Languages, Literature and Communication.

Additional information
Candidates are encouraged to request for additional information before considering their application. Please contact Prof. Dr. Johan Schot for ‘Transformative Innovation Policy in a Global Comparative Perspective’ via You can contact Prof. Dr. Joost de Laat for ‘Using Impact Evaluations to understanding Drivers of Poverty and Inclusion’ via

Applications are accepted until 19 October 2018.
The application should include:
· a motivation letter, indicating the potential contribution of the candidate to one of research projects;
· a complete and up-to-date curriculum vitae, giving evidence of multidisciplinary research experience and an international orientation;
· the names and contact details of two references.
Please indicate in your application to which one of the vacancies you are applying. You can apply until 19 October 2018, by pressing here.

The application deadline is

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