Combined PhD-teaching position: Engaging in Climate Science & Education

Closing Date
WorkplaceUtrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands

Faculty: Faculty of Geosciences Department: Department of Sustainable Development Hours per week: 36 to 40 Application deadline:

One of complex sustainability challenges we are currently facing is global climate change. There is ample evidence showing that the human population is on an unsustainable trajectory, with increasing CO2 emissions and declining biodiversity. While knowledge on the climate system is growing, our ways to teach students and engage with the public regarding this information is not developing at equal speed. In this position, you will combine teaching and research on the interface between the sciences and the arts.

Your job

Moving towards a sustainability transformation requires our students to adapt to change and to develop their capacity to shape and create change. For this, it is important to connect the cognitive learning objectives (head) with practical skill development (hand) and affective learning objectives (heart). In this PhD project, the aim is to implement the head-hand-heart approach in our climate change research and education. You will therefore be working on the interface between the sciences and the arts. On the one hand, you will work on environmental topics, including data gathering in the field or living labs, and data harvesting from large data depositories, data analysis and modelling. On the other hand, you will work together with the University of the Arts Utrecht, working, for instance, on gamification and sonification of climate science.

To explore and study the interface between the climate sciences and the arts, the Copernicus Institute of sustainable development is looking for a combined teacher-PhD candidate with an interest in education and sustainability & climate science. In this position, you will combine research on environmental sciences and sustainability education with teaching in our bachelor and master programmes. As a combined teacher-PhD candidate, you have a six-year contract to complete your PhD research and obtain a University Teaching Qualification (UTQ/BKO) in combination with teaching and education development.

Teaching is primarily based at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, in the Bachelor Global Sustainability Science and the master Sustainable Development . Your time between research and teaching is divided 60-40. In addition, approximately 10% of your time is allocated for professional and academic development, for instance for obtaining a University Teaching Qualification (UTQ/BKO) and following PhD courses. You will also join the Geosciences Graduate School for PhDs.

Your qualities

We are looking for a candidate with a background in natural sciences and a proven passion for sustainability education. You are somebody that likes to prepare your students for the great challenges of the coming decades with your teaching and research. As an ideal candidate you have:

  • a Master’s degree (or you graduate before starting date) in Environmental Sciences, Sustainability Sciences, Earth Sciences, Biology, or a related field;
  • proven ability to work with large datasets and model-output;
  • affinity with the societal context of sustainability challenges;
  • interest in and a positive experience with teaching (e.g. teaching assistant, junior teacher, high school teacher);
  • motivation to further develop your teaching skills and acquire the University Teaching Qualification (UTQ/BKO);
  • energy to combine teaching and research over a 6-year period;
  • excellent communication and academic writing skills in English ( equivalent to B2 ).

Our offer

We offer:

  • a position for one year, with an extension to a total of six years upon successful assessment;
  • a working week of 36 hours and a gross monthly salary between ¤3,226 and ¤5,090 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale 10 under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU));
  • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO NU.

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development , leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities , as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University .

About us

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University , the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes . Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow .

Utrecht University’s Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth’s core to its surface, including man’s spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development wants to have a positive impact on the transition to a sustainable society, which includes strengthening risk regulation regimes for chemicals and pharmaceuticals and reducing the need for the use of laboratory animals. We do this by developing excellent and relevant knowledge in interdisciplinary teams and by educating the change agents of the future. The Copernicus Institute has had an excellent research evaluation in 2021 and the institute takes pride in maintaining its leading position in national and international sustainability research, and by developing new, internationally oriented teaching programmes.

More information

For more information, please contact Prof. Karin Rebel at .

Candidates for this vacancy will be recruited by Utrecht University.

As Utrecht University, we want to be a home for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.

To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation, via the ’apply now’ button.

The application deadline is 6 September 2024.

In your application, please refer to and reference JobID 2922263.