PhD Position in Sustainable Rural-Urban (RUrban) Futures

University of Twente
January 08, 2024
Offerd Salary:€ 2.770
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A

Transforming the ways in which cities and the countryside are interconnected is critical to improving societal and ecological sustainability. These so called 'rurban' (rural-urban), interconnections, such as resource and material flows, human-nature relationships, spatial patterning, and the overarching modes of production and consumption drive ecological and social crises around the world. Racing against time, policymakers tend to embrace generic visions of urbanization (like ‘smart' or ‘green' cities) and technological solutions that often pay little attention to local contexts and underlying dimensions. To counter what has been called a “crisis of the imagination”, new social imaginaries are needed that are able to inform alternative worldviews and support appropriate institutions, policies, and technologies. This PhD project will work at the diverse interfaces between the ‘rural' and the ‘urban' to explore and (re-)imagine rurban interconnections, everyday practices, and desirable future pathways.

Key Objectives

1. Develop a conceptual and methodological rurban lens that can analyse and animate societal transformation 2. Examine and catalyze imaginative processes of knowledge co-production through prototyping spatial and technological interventions 3. Define and assess the impact of creative methods and tools to stimulate engagement, imagination, and action (e.g. shifts in everyday practices and policies)

This PhD position will also be affiliated with the RUrban Futures Collective, of the Department of Technology, Policy, and Society, at the University of Twente. This collective takes a critical approach to sustainability transformations in the context of rural-urban interactions. As a PhD student in the TPS department, you will collaborate with a team of supervisors including Dr. Corelia Baibarac Duigan, Dr. Steven McGreevy and Prof. Esther Turnhout. You will work in a vibrant environment with diverse research projects and opportunities for collaboration and exchange.

Your profile

We are looking for a motivated and enthusiastic researcher who:

  • has or will shortly acquire, a Master's degree or equivalent (e.g. practice experience and portfolio) in a relevant social science field (for example, geography, science and technology studies, sociology, anthropology, interdisciplinary environmental studies, or sustainability studies), and/or design (for example, architecture, urban design or social design);
  • has a demonstrated interest in inter- and trans-disciplinary research and is driven by the desire to impact society;
  • works well in an international team and enjoys collaboration;
  • is able to pursue independent research and has the willingness to develop writing and publication skills, both academic and adapted to wider and diverse audiences;
  • has good communication skills, fluency in English and, preferably, a good command of Dutch (spoken in particular);
  • The following qualifications would be desired, but are not required:

  • Experience with foresight methods such as visioning and back casting;
  • Experience with environmental decision-making within academia, government, or civil society;
  • Experience with participatory, transdisciplinary and/or art and design based research methods, such as action research, workshop design and facilitation, and working closely with society.

    Our offer

    We encourage high responsibility and independence, while collaborating with colleagues, researchers, other university staff and partners. We follow the terms of employment by the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Universities (CAO). Our offer contains: a fulltime 4-year PhD position with a qualifier in the first year; excellent mentorship in a stimulating research environment with excellent facilities; and a personal development program within the Twente Graduate School. It also includes:

  • Gross monthly salary of € 2.770 in the first year, increasing each year up to € 3.539 in the fourth year;
  • Excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme;
  • 29 holidays per year in case of full-time employment;
  • A training programme as part of the Twente Graduate School where you and your supervisors will determine a plan for a suitable education and supervision;
  • A green campus with free access to sports facilities and an international scientific community;
  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid);
  • A full status as an employee at the UT, including pension, health care benefits and good secondary conditions are part of our collective labour agreement CAO-NU for Dutch universities.

    Information and application

    Are you interested to be part of our team? Please submit your application before January 8th, 2024 and include:

  • A cover letter (maximum 2 pages A4), emphasizing your specific interest, qualifications, and motivations to apply for this position;
  • A Curriculum Vitae, including a list of all courses attended and grades obtained, and, if applicable, a list of publications and references;
  • A writing sample;
  • Contact information for two academic references (Please note, we will not contact these references before notifying the candidate that we intend to do so)
  • for non-native English speakers An IELTS-test, Internet TOEFL test (TOEFL-iBT), or a Cambridge CAE-C (CPE). Applicants with a non-Dutch qualification and who have not had secondary and tertiary education in English can only be admitted with an IELTS-test showing a total band score of at least 6.5, internet. TOEFL test (TOEFL-iBT) showing a score of at least 90, or a Cambridge CAE-C (CPE);
  • If the following are available, please also include:

  • A brief overview of your portfolio of design or artistic work, including links to online resources.
  • Additional information can be acquired via email from Dr. Steven McGreevy (CSTM) ([email protected]) or Dr. Corelia Baibarac-Duignan (KiTES) ([email protected])

    About the department

    At the Department of Technology, Policy and Society (TPS), we engage in research and education on the interplay between technology, society and policy, helping society to manage the opportunities and tensions between (new) technologies and changing needs.

    The TPS department is dedicated to encouraging a supportive and inclusive working culture. Our aim is that all job applicants are given equal opportunities, When we select candidates for employment, it will be on the basis of their competence and ability. To support the workforce diversity, we are open to offer flexible working conditions on an individual basis to support work-life balance, that may include contract of employment, working hours and location, or child care arrangements.

    About the organisation

    The Faculty of Behavioral, Management and Social sciences (BMS) aims to play a key role in understanding, jointly developing and evaluating innovations in society. Technological developments are the engine of innovation. As a technical university that puts people first, we tailor them to human needs and behavior and use social engineering to integrate them into society. We also ensure adequate governance at public and private level, and robust, inclusive and fair organizational structures. We do this by developing, sharing and applying high-quality knowledge in Psychology, Business Administration, Public Administration, Communication Sciences, Philosophy, Educational Sciences and Health Sciences. Our research and education in these disciplines revolves around tackling and solving societal challenges. The research programs of BMS are closely linked to the research of the UT institutes Mesa+ Institute for Nanotechnology, TechMed Center and Digital Society Institute.

    As an employer, the Faculty of BMS offers work that matters. We equip you to create new possibilities for yourself and for our society. With us, you will become part of a leading technical university with increasing, positive social impact. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial atmosphere, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example through our flexible, adaptable benefits.

    Want to know more? McGreevy, S.R. (Steven)

    Assistant Professor

    McGreevy, S.R. (Steven)

    Assistant Professor

    Do you have questions about this vacancy? Then you can contact Steven for all substantive questions about this position and the application procedure. For general questions about working for the UT, please refer to the chatbot.



    Email:[email protected]

    How to apply Step 1

    Apply. When you see a vacancy that appeals to you, you can apply online. We ask you to upload a CV and motivation letter and/or list of publications. You will receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail.

    Step 2

    Selection. The selection committee will review your application and you will receive a response within 2 weeks after the vacancy has been closed.

    Step 3

    1st interview. The 1st (online or in person) meeting serves as an introduction where we introduce ourselves to you and you to us. You may be asked to give a short presentation. This will be further explained in the invitation.

    Step 4

    2nd interview. In the second interview, we will further discuss the job content, your skills and your talents.

    Step 5

    The offer. If the conversations are positive, you will be made a suitable offer.

    Your Colleagues
  • Baibarac - Duignan, C.E. (Corelia)
  • Personal page

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  • At the UT it's all about people, in line with our university's High Tech Human Touch philosophy. In everything we do, the well-being and future of our students and staff are paramount. From research and teaching to personnel management, campus management and the use of new technologies.

  • Our mission We are a university of technology
  • Our university is a public institution that serves society. We are accountable to society for the ways in which we use our academic freedom. We are responsible for ensuring that the power of science and technology is harnessed to achieve the best possible impact in a changing world. We cherish our rich tradition of combining technical and social sciences in our five profiling themes: Improving healthcare by personalized technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

  • Our mission We help to strengthen society
  • We help society meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. But we are also transparent about what science and technology can and cannot do in finding sustainable solutions. And help translate these solutions into everyday life.

  • Our mission We are sustainable
  • We want our communities to flourish and show resilience, so we seize opportunities for innovation. We are knowledgeable and have an eye for what society needs. Our students and staff receive all the guidance they need in their quest for ecological, social and economic sustainability. “The University of Twente is all about people. Our sustainable technologies help to strengthen society.”

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