PhD on Climate Activism Behavior

University of Amsterdam
June 11, 2023
Offerd Salary:€2541 gross
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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PhD on Climate Activism Behavior

Faculty/Services: Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Educational level: Master

Function type: PhD position

Closing date: 11 June 2023

Vacancy number: 11598

Are you excited about sustainability research, ready to learn new technical skills (study design, administration, and analysis) and enthusiastic about writing articles for international peer-reviewed journals?

We are hiring a 4-year PhD student in social and environmental psychology. This PhD on climate activism behavior in the Social Psychology programme group at the University of Amsterdam will be co-supervised by Drs Cameron Brick (chair), Nils Jostmann, and Disa Sauter. The PhD will be embedded in two main lab groups with other PhDs and postdocs: Brick Lab & Amsterdam Interdisciplinary Centre for Emotion. This position is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

This PhD will be focused on understanding why people engage in climate change activism. Because such actions are contrary to personal benefit (e.g., time and money spent, reputation harm, the unpleasantness and legal risks of being arrested), it is not trivial to explain how such actions arise. Most pro- environmental behavior research has focused on consumer actions, but individuals can have larger impacts through their organizational roles, leadership, and civic participation (Nielsen et al., 2021). Collective action, which we define along a spectrum from voting to participating in a march to leading an activist organization, is particularly important for climate mitigation compared to consumer behaviors (Carmona-Moya et al., 2021), despite relatively little research attention. Decades of research have revealed demographic and individual difference predictors of prosocial and pro-environmental behavior, including personality, motivations, and attitudes (e.g., Brick & Lai, 2018; Zwicker, Brick, et al., 2021). However, most studies have been on self-reported consumer behaviors. In sum, the proximate, contextual causes of why individuals participate in collective action and what sustains their involvement are poorly understood. The supervisory team combines expertise on pro-environmental behavior, motivation, and emotion. Here is an example of the type of output we aim for:

Castiglione, A., Brick, C., Lindsay, D., Holden, S., & Aron, A. (2022). Discovering the psychological building blocks underlying climate action - a longitudinal study of real-world activism. Royal Society Open Science , 9 , 210006 . 10.1098/rsos.210006. PDF

Work Packages

1. Reveal the key processes in situ. The student will lead a cross- sectional project focused on the critical period of individuals first getting involved with environmental organizations.

2. Identify transitory emotions and psychological predictors. The student will use experience sampling for momentary emotional assessment in a longitudinal study.

3. Developmental trajectory. We expect different attitudinal, motivation, and emotional processes to explain action across different age groups.

There is some flexibility to adjust the project to the interests of the PhD candidate.

What you are going to do

The PhD student will enroll in the educational program from the Kurt Lewin Institute to follow specialized and general courses and to connect with a network of other PhD students across six Dutch universities. They will primarily conduct research, but also take courses and supervise Bachelor's students in social psychology. Please read the detailed project description before applying. The candidate will conduct analyses in the programming language R, and can learn these skills during the degree if you don't have them already.

Your experience and profile

· (Research) Master's-level degree in social psychology or a related field;

· Excellent English speaking and writing;

· Strong scientific writing with clarity, precision, and concision.

Desirable but not required

· Experience with environmental and/or social psychology research and/or activism;

· Dutch language;

· Experience with R, RMarkdown, or other programming.

What can we offer you

The position concerns temporary employment of 38 hours per week for a maximum term of four years. The initial employment is for one year. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of three more years, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate.

For this position the University Job Classification profile “Promovendus” applies.

Your salary will be €2541 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3247 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

What else do we offer

· a position in which initiative and input are highly valued;

· an enthusiastic and warm team that is open to new colleagues;

· an inspiring academic and international working environment in the heart of Amsterdam.

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

About the faculty

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. The social and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

· Dr Cameron Brick, Assistant Professor, [email protected]

Job application

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 11 June 2023. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • · Curriculum vitae;
  • · 2 page letter of motivation explaining how your interests, skills, and accomplishments align to succeed in this position;
  • · Contact details for 2 referees.
  • The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize 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.

    If you encounter Error GBB451/ GBC451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.

    No agencies please.

    Apply now »

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