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The University of Amsterdam’s Centre for Urban Studies is inviting applications for a postdoctoral research fellow in the field of the Urban Commons. The position is aimed at researching the threats and opportunities that major socio-cultural, economic, political, environmental and technological changes pose to the maintenance and enhancement of the urban commons. The successful candidate will be positioned at the Centre for Urban Studies and will be embedded in the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), and one of the departments at the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (Anthropology, Geography/Planning/International Development Studies, Political Science or Sociology, depending on the candidate’s profile).

Publication date 2 December 2020
Closing date 25 January 2021
Level of education PhD
Hours 30.4 hours per week
Salary indication €3,746 to €5,127 gross per month, based on 38 hours per week
Vacancy number 20-735

Project description

Broadly understood, the term ‘urban commons’ points to the practices for the collective development, ownership, management and access to resources and artifacts (social, cultural, economic, political, environmental, and technological). Strengthening ‘the urban commons’ is seen by many scholars and activists as a crucial means of achieving a more sustainable use of environmental resources, and a more equitable future for human and more than human habitats and settlements. However, transformations in the economic, social, cultural and political spheres shape dramatically new conditions for the viability of the urban commons.

These transformations include:
• socio-cultural transformations related to multi-dimensional diversity along intersecting lines of class, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, cultural and political attitude;
• mounting inequality and intensifying mobility (from migration to tourism), and related conflict and power struggles;
• economic-political transformations related to the financialization of the global economy, and knowledge-intensification; but also related to the emergence of alternative urban economic models, (e.g. non-commercial sharing and circularity), and the interactions of these economic models with changing welfare state regimes;
• environmental threats related to climate change;
• technological and governance transformations responding to climate change (e.g. mitigation and adaptation measures, sustainability transitions in energy, food production and consumption, water management and urban transportation;
• the rapid digitalization and automatization of social and economic interactions.

What will you be doing?

The Centre for Urban Studies Postdoctoral Fellow in the Urban Commons will research the threats and opportunities that major socio-cultural, economic, political, environmental and technological changes pose to the maintenance and enhancement of the urban commons.
The postdoctoral researcher is expected to:
• live and work in Amsterdam;
• assist in strengthening an Urban Commons agenda for the Centre for Urban Studies;
• develop research proposals for national and international collaboration through national (Dutch) and international funding bodies; these external funding applications for long-term research projects will fit in the Centre for Urban Studies’ members’ commons research agenda;
• research and develop academic scholarship on the urban commons and publish relevant scholarly articles in international peer reviewed journals;
• network with local, national and international stakeholders and actors to develop impactful research paths strongly connected to societal developments;
• closely collaborate with researchers within the Centre for Urban Studies (CUS) and the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR);
• enhance interdisciplinarity and strengthen the Centre for Urban Studies’ national and international research profile through pursuing new research collaborations;
• develop a Massive Open Online Course on the Urban Commons that will bring together UVA and international expertise;
• organize an international conference and a summer/winter school on the Urban Commons.

What do we require?

You have:
• demonstrable ability in developing and conducting high quality research in the field of the commons;
• demonstrable ability to publish in international peer-reviewed journals;
• good and up to date knowledge of academic literature and national and international socio-cultural and economic commoning practices;
• the ability to contribute to further developing the field through scholarly publications and participation in national and international research networks;
• demonstrated ability to work in interdisciplinary environments and network at a national and international level;
• proven ability to prepare applications for external funding for long term research projects (whether these have been successful or not) to fit the Centre for Urban Studies commons agenda;
• an excellent command of the English language;
• a doctoral degree (awarded) in a relevant discipline (e.g. urban studies, geography, planning, sociology, political science, anthropology, international development studies, or other relevant cognate field). The doctoral degree should be awarded by end of February 2021.

Additional desirable (but not necessary) skills:
• working knowledge of the Dutch language;
• experience with the use of social media, blogging, and other online research dissemination practises.

Our offer

The position initially concerns a temporary employment of 30.4 hours a week (0.8 FTE), for a term of 2 years, with the possibility of extending it to a temporary employment of 38 hours a week (1 FTE) if teaching commitments are also undertaken by the successful candidate.
Salary depends on past education and relevant work experience, with a minimum salary of €3,746 and a maximum salary of €5,127 gross per month based on a full-time employment for a 38-hour working week (in keeping with scale 11, as per the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary employee benefits, including a generous holiday scheme and year-end bonus. Because we value your continued personal development and professionalisation, we also offer excellent opportunities for study and development.


Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:
Jules Klinkhamer, coordinator of the Centre for Urban Studies

Would you like to learn more about the members and work of the Centre for Urban Studies? Visit our website.
Would you like to learn more about working at the University of Amsterdam? Visit the website.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.
Does this profile sound like you? If so, we are eager to receive your CV and covering letter by 25 January 2021.

Applications collected in a single .pdf document should include:
• a motivation letter;
• an up to date academic CV;
• a list of publications, with clear indication of publishing state (e.g. submitted, under review, published, in print); no ‘forthcoming’ indications please;
• one pdf of a publication, preferrably a single authored publication;
• a list of funding applications pursued in the past and your specific role in these (e.g. coordinator, research assistant, etc.)
• a ‘mock’ funding research proposal for a commons related research topic of your choice (national or international in scope). This should be of a strict max. 1,000 words, and should include:
o state of the art and limitations of the field of the urban commons,
o proposal’s aims and objectives,
o research questions,
o contribution to the academic field and innovation,
o methods,
o social impact.

The deadline for applications is 25 January 2021. Interviews will take place on 3 February 2021.