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Post-doc on Water Governance for Upscaling Floating Structures (V23.0739)

Job description

The Faculty of Spatial Sciences (FSS) at the University of Groningen (RUG) is looking for an enthusiastic Postdoctoral Researcher on water governance for upscaling floating structures.

The FSS consists of approximately 110 members of staff, 120 PhD researchers, and around 1100 students. We focus on high quality teaching and research in the fields of social and economic geography, demography, and spatial planning. With a Faculty slogan of ‘making places better together’ and an overarching research theme 'Towards Wellbeing, Innovation and Spatial Transformation' (tWIST), it is our mission to produce research which is world-leading, distinctive, and policy-relevant. With two Bachelor and eight Master programs, we provide a wide range of courses within the fields of geography and the spatial sciences.

You will be based in the Department of Spatial Planning and Environment, which has around 30 members of staff and around 30 PhD candidates. The research agenda of the Department is centered on institutional design for purposeful interventions within the human environment. The Department offers a vibrant academic environment with an international staff and extensive experience in working within national and international research projects. The Department actively pursues socially relevant research, as is also expressed in its research targeting water governance and climate adaptation in relation to spatial planning to which the Postdoctoral Researcher is to contribute.

Description of the position
We are looking for an enthusiastic Postdoctoral Researcher on the topic ‘Water Governance for Upscaling Floating Structures, which is part of the interdisciplinary and applied national research project ‘Floating Future: Scaling up floating structures as climate-proof space-creating solution enabling societal, industrial and ecological win-wins’. ‘Floating Future’, led by research institute MARIN, is funded by the Dutch Science Council (NWO) and consists of a broad research consortium including multiple universities, universities of applied sciences, research institutes, public authorities, businesses and NGOs. The overall objective is to develop knowledge about societal acceptance, the required governance and legal arrangements, the ecological impacts and the technological challenges related to building large-scale floating islands. In the context of this research project, one Postdoctoral researcher and various PhD researchers in the fields of governance, technology and ecology will be appointed and closely working together in concrete case study areas (inland, coastal port city and offshore). Participatory Action Research will be the Floating Future ‘integration engine’ where the different scientific disciplines and societal stakeholders meet and co-create knowledge about how large-scale floating urban developments can be realized, developing ‘maritime urbanism’ as a new field of expertise. The Department of Spatial Planning and Environment at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences will host the Postdoctoral researcher that is part of the project and one PhD researcher on ‘Floating Communities’.

The Postdoctoral research is part of the work package on Participatory Action Research. Enabling and upscaling floating structures from pilot projects to urban scale development requires participatory methods with both scientists, policy-makers and societal stakeholders to contribute to increasing the societal research impact, integrate scientific knowledge from different disciplines, and facilitate the desired transition from ‘fighting the water’ to ‘living on the water’. The aim of the research is to identify and develop appropriate governance arrangements for upscaling floating structures, while recognizing institutional constraints and enablers in the various disciplinary fields and sectors involved in the Floating Future project and case study areas. In addition, the Postdoctoral Researcher will facilitate and critically reflect on the Floating Future co-learning process between science and practice.

More specifically, your tasks will be to:

• develop and conduct an institutional analysis for each of the three Floating Future case study areas, to examine the existing and diverging institutional and sectoral policy frameworks that guide policy development and actor behavior across the sectors, relevant to Floating Future
• combine and integrate the (intermediate) findings of the work package on Governance about the social, economic and legal design principles and, based on these findings, conceptualize future governance arrangements for upscaling floating structures
• conduct research activities including: literature analysis, policy analysis, stakeholder interviews, focus group discussions, participatory observations/‘reflection-in-action’
• (co-)organize collaborative meetings and workshops in the context of the Participatory Action Research in the three case study areas of Floating Future
• critically reflect on the Floating Future co-learning process between science and practice to stimulate interdisciplinary knowledge exchange
• lead and support in the development of co-authored academic publications and other research outputs, such as professional publications, policy briefs and brochures, and contribute to project tasks and deliverables
• occasionally, you may teach in Bachelor and Master educational programmes and supervise Master students’ theses.


We are looking for a social, enthusiastic and ambitious Postdoctoral Researcher, who:

• has a PhD in the wider field of spatial planning, geography, environmental policy, public administration, or other related discipline
• has proven affinity and/or demonstrated experience with the topics of water governance and climate adaptation
• has excellent writing skills and publications in international, peer-reviewed academic journals
• has good qualitative research skills with expertise in conducting in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. Experience with action-oriented research is a plus
• has experience in working in interdisciplinary settings and the ambition to connect science to practice
• is a proactive team-player with excellent organizational and communication skills, and is able to work independently
• is fluent in English (reading, writing, speaking)
• given the Dutch research context, Dutch proficiency (or the ability and willingness to achieve this within one year) is also an absolute plus.


Conditions of employment

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary depending on qualifications and work experience, with a minimum of € 3,877 to a maximum of € 5,090 (salary scale 10) gross per month for a full-time position
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
• an appointment for a period of 1 year with the prospect of an extension of another 3 years after a positive evaluation after one year. The appointment will be for either 0.8 or 1.0 FTE. This can be discussed.

The intended starting date is: 1 February 2024


If you are interested in this position, we invite you to apply until Thursday 30 November 11:59pm / before Friday 1 December 2023 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website.

The application package consists of the following separate documents:

• a letter of motivation that addresses your interests and describes how you fit in the advertised position (max. 1 page)
• a Curriculum Vitae (including a full list of publications and other research activities and output showing expertise in the relevant areas, and the names of two academic referees who may be contacted in case you are shortlisted)
• sample of work (e.g. abstract of your PhD thesis, a research article, project experience relevant to this position, max 1 page with links to your articles/reports if applicable)
• copy of the applicant’s PhD degree certificate. If the PhD defense will be after the application, please send information on the defense date or a confirmation from your PhD supervisor (or professor) on the expected defense date.

These documents (1-4) are compulsory. Please note that incomplete application packages will not be taken into account and that, when you are shortlisted, part of the application process will be to provide a research statement and plan for this position. Further information will be provided at the point of announcement of short-listing.

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

  • Dr Margo van den Brink (for more information about the research project), m.a.van.den.brink

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.