PhD position: Supporting learning and collaboration in learning communities to accelerate the circularity and energy transitions

University of Twente
May 05, 2024
Offerd Salary:€ 2.770
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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The Faculty of Behavioural, Management, and Social Sciences at the University of Twente is currently seeking a PhD-student committed to investigating, understanding, and supporting the collaborative learning and innovation practices of interorganizational learning communities on the circularity and energy transitions. In this NWO-funded project, you will contribute to a deeper understanding of how teams collaboratively make sense of these transitions, create shared objectives for joint experimentation, and how individual participants engage in transformative learning activities to shape their new work practices. This interdisciplinary PhD project revolves around close collaboration with practitioners and other researchers. The ideal candidate shares our passion for combining scientific rigor with societal relevance and has a drive to co-create tools and methods with our stakeholders to support the learning communities in their ambitions.

Research and industry have advocated for setting up learning communities as a new form of organizing and creative space in which professionals from various organizations and with different backgrounds and perspectives can work, collaborate, and innovate together. However, learning and innovating across organizational and professional boundaries in such learning communities is challenging: How do these teams develop and then enact shared goals? And how can individual participants translate findings back to their own work and update or change practices or the activities of their parent organization?

In this NWO-funded project, we study 18 learning communities (of different sizes, maturities, focus points, etc.) in which professionals experiment and collaborate to push forward matters related to the circularity and energy transitions. The PhD-project focuses on the team and individual level to study and support meaning-making, collaboration, and transformative learning in learning communities. In addition, this project includes the possibility to directly contribute to pressing questions on how to transform work practices, organize work in the future, and tackle some of today's biggest societal challenges.

The PhD position is part of the NWO-funded project Power up! Empowering Learning Communities for Interorganizational Learning and Innovation to Accelerate the Energy and Circularity Transitions. In this project, several other partners are also involved, including VU (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Universities of applied sciences Saxion and Rotterdam, , and 18 existing learning communities. You will closely collaborate with a post-doc (VU) and another PhD-student (Saxion).

Your profile

As a PhD-student in this project, you will work on the intersection of science and practice. You will contribute to the understanding of how interorganizational learning communities can collaborate and learn together to come up with the required innovations for accelerating the circularity and energy transitions. More specifically, your job is to:

  • Design and conduct longitudinal studies to better understand how meaning- making, collaboration, and transformative learning processes and practices unfold and can be best facilitated in spaces where professionals from various backgrounds and organizations come together.
  • Work independently on your own research while remaining in close exchange with other researchers in the project team as well as with stakeholders and professionals of the involved learning communities.
  • Report and present your findings for both scientific and non-scientific audiences (e.g., at scientific conferences, in journal publications, or during workshops with practitioners).
  • To be considered for this position, you should:

  • have a MSc. degree in Educational Science, Business Administration, Psychology, Human Resource Management, Organization Studies, Communication Science, or a related field;
  • have expertise or demonstrable interest in the process of continuous learning and innovation practices in a team context;
  • have an interest in the challenges related to circularity and/or energy transitions, with a focus on human capital rather than technical matters;
  • have strong, demonstrable methodological knowledge and skills, preferable experience with process research and (ethnographic qualitative) field studies
  • have an interest in the design of tools or methods to support collaboration and learning practices;
  • have good social and communication skills in academic as well as non- academic contexts;
  • are fluent in English and able to understand and communicate in Dutch (hard requirement, for non-native speaker, please indicate your current proficiency);
  • have excellent writing and organization skills;
  • have proven ability to work independently, but also to collaborate within a team and with relevant stakeholders (both within and outside academia).
  • Our offer
  • A 4-year PhD-position (1.0fte), starting in June 2024.
  • the gross salary is in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU) € 2.770,- to €3.539,- per month for a fulltime position, depending on experience.
  • on top of this, you receive a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • we offer excellent auxiliary terms of employment,
  • such as professional and personal development programs;
  • a secondary remuneration package;
  • a dynamic environment with enthusiastic colleagues;
  • an organization focusing on internationalization and
  • a high degree of responsibility and independence.
  • Information and application

    Go to www. (click twice to find the vacancy) to start with the application. You can upload your files here. Since only three documents can be uploaded per application, please combine documents if needed.

    Your application should include the following documents:

  • a cover letter (in English or Dutch) which explains your interest in the position and your qualifications for it;
  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a copy of your Master's thesis or, if it is not yet available, an outline and summary of your thesis.
  • Please apply before the application deadline of May 5th. The first round of interviews will be held mid-May. The second round also takes place in May. The starting date for the position is ideally June 2024, but some flexibility is possible.

    For additional information about this position or to receive the full text of the research proposal funded by NWO, you can contact dr. Ellen Nathues ([email protected]) or prof.dr. Maaike Endedijk ([email protected])

    About the department

    Working at the Professional Learning & Technology department at the UT

    Researchers in our department study formal and informal learning of (future) employees, including the use of technology to measure and support professional learning. More broadly, we also study professional learning in relation to the collaboration and innovation processes of professionals, particularly so in multidisciplinary settings and new forms of organizing (such as learning communities or living labs). Our studies often take place in the high-tech, health, and educational sectors with the intention to understand, evaluate, and optimize (inter)professional and (inter)organizational learning, collaboration, and innovation in these various contexts. Increasingly, the settings we study revolve around grand challenges and wicked problems, such as the transitions to green energy and circularity or matters of digital transformation. To contribute to these challenges, we also design and evaluate (technology-based) interventions to optimize professional learning, innovation, and collaboration. In our research group, we combine expertise from a range of disciplines (e.g., educational sciences, psychology, business administration, organization studies, communication science).

    More information about the departments of Professional Learning & Technology can be found on the following website.

    For more information about the BMS-faculty.

    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? Nathues, E. (Ellen)

    Assistant Professor of Organization, Collaboration & Communication

    Nathues, E. (Ellen)

    Assistant Professor of Organization, Collaboration & Communication

    Do you have questions about this vacancy? Then you can contact Ellen 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. If applicable, we will sign you up for screening.

    Your Colleagues
  • Dennerlein, S.M. (Sebastian)
  • Personal page LinkedIn

  • Warbroek, W.D.B. (Beau)
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