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Two postdoctoral researchers for project 'Catalyzing knowledge ecosystems for societal transitions'

Vacancy number
21-554 10021
Job type
Academic staff
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Den Haag
Placed on
2 November 2021
Closing date
5 December 2021 Vacancy closed

The Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs  and the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences  are looking for

Two postdoctoral researchers for project ‘Catalyzing knowledge ecosystems for societal transitions’ (0,80 FTE)
Vacancy number 21-554 10021 


How to mobilize scientific research for the energy transition? The impact of fundamental research is difficult to predict, which makes it challenging to mobilize it for answering questions from society. The Institute of Public Administration and the Centre for Science and Technology Studies of Leiden University are seeking two postdoctoral researchers (0.8 fte each) for a period of 30 months in the context of an NWO-funded project ‘Catalyzing knowledge ecosystems for societal transitions: Advancing knowledge ecosystems for electrochemical conversion’. In this project, you will investigate the role of fundamental chemical research in a mission-oriented knowledge ecosystem, while being embedded in this ecosystem yourself.

You will be part of the innovation program Electro-chemical Conversion and Materials (ECCM), which is geared at developing novel technologies to produce chemical compounds, materials and fuels based on renewable electricity, biomass and/or CO2. While these technologies can potentially contribute to the energy transition, the realization of their promise depends on their embedment in societal practices. A proper understanding of the process of societal embedment is still lacking. In this project you can contribute to the development of responsible innovation in this program by analyzing knowledge production and translation in knowledge ecosystems through a public value lens.

You will carry out empirical and theoretical research on mission-oriented knowledge ecosystems. Postdoc 1 (based at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies) will do ex-post analysis of several mission-oriented ecosystems; postdoc 2 (based at the Institute of Public Administration) will do action research on and within the ECCM ecosystem. You will collaborate closely with the other postdoc and the rest of the interdisciplinary research team, consisting of prof.dr.ir. Eefje Cuppen (Institute of Public Administration), prof.dr. Laurens Hessels (Rathenau Instituut and Centre for Science and Technology Studies) and dr. Rik Mom (Institute of Chemistry).

Main responsibilities

  • Conducting independent and collaborative research into knowledge production and translation in mission-oriented knowledge ecosystems
  • Organizing interactive sessions with stakeholders and researchers (postdoc 2)
  • Publishing research results in peer-reviewed academic journals, conference papers, policy papers or other relevant formats
  • Communicating pro-actively and collaborating with the other members of the research team
  • Representing the project to key stakeholders such as the members of the ECCM, academics and policymakers/practitioners

Selection criteria

The successful candidate is expected:

  • to have completed or close to completing a PhD in science and technology studies, political science/public administration, sociology, innovation sciences or another relevant discipline by the post start date;
  • to have experience with, and to enjoy, working in multi- or interdisciplinary teams;
  • to have good communication and organization skills;
  • to have knowledge of, or proven affinity with chemistry;
  • to have experience with, or willing to learn, social network analysis (postdoc 1) and participatory research methods (postdoc 2);
  • to possess the entrepreneurial and social skills necessary to successfully engage in fieldwork;
  • to have a promising publication record in international peer-reviewed journals;
  • to have the ability to work independently and with a proactive attitude.


The Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs is one of the seven faculties of Leiden University. Firmly rooted in the academic tradition, our students and researchers work together with national and international partners on new insights and solutions to current issues at the crossroads of politics, public administration and law.

The Institute of Public Administration in The Hague is one of the largest and oldest institutions for scientific research and teaching on public administration in the Netherlands. The Institute combines a strong international academic reputation with a central position in international national, regional and local government institutions, including in The Hague. The Institute consistently receives high appraisals in peer reviews both for its teaching and research programmes. It offers a Dutch-language bachelor’s programme with two tracks: a Dutch-language master’s programme in Management of the Public Sector and an English-language master’s programme in Public Administration. It also participates in various programmes with other faculties, including the Master’s programme in Governance of Sustainability and master’s programmes in the field of Population Health Management.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences conducts high-quality research and offers a broad and disciplinary educational programme, focused on increasing our understanding of current developments in society. The faculty consists of five institutes: Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Cultural Anthropology and Developmental Sociology, Education and Child Studies, Political Science and Psychology.

The Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) is an interdisciplinary research institute that studies scientific research and its connections to technology, innovation, and society. As a leading research, consulting, and training center, CWTS is dedicated to increasing our understanding of scientific quality, societal impact, and other related concepts. CWTS studies the conditions and consequences of research evaluation for the generation of new knowledge, and the role of research in innovation processes. Special attention is paid to the value of bibliometric and scientometric tools to support the evaluation and management of scientific research. On the basis of its research, CWTS wishes to contribute to the debates about the role of science in society. Research at CWTS is organized in three research groups: Quantitative Science Studies (QSS), Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies (STIS), and Science and Evaluation Studies (SES).

Terms and conditions

The appointments will be under the terms of the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) of Dutch Universities. You will be offered a parttime temporary appointment (0,8 fte) for 12 months. Depending upon funding and performance, the position can be extended up to 30 months in total.

The salary range is from € 2.836,- to € 4.474,- gross per month for a full-time position (scale 10), in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). Salary scale depends on education and experience.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end- of-year bonuses (8.3%), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

For more information on the terms and conditions of employment, click here.


Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups. 

Enquiries can be made to Prof.dr. Eefje Cuppen, email e.h.w.j.cuppen@fgga.leidenuniv.nl


Applications for this vacancy can be submitted via the blue button. Only applications admitted no later than December 5th 2021 will be considered. The first round of interviews will take place in the week of January 17th 2021, the second round the week after. 

Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents :

  • A cover letter stating your motivation for this position;
  • A curriculum vitae including a complete list of publications;
  • A publication (or working paper);

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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