Universiteit Leiden

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Professor in Governance of Sustainability

Wetenschappelijke functies
Omvang (fte)
The Hague
Geplaatst op
14 juni 2019
15 juli 2019

Nog 29 dagen om te solliciteren

The Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, Institute Public Administration is looking for a

Professor in Governance of Sustainability (0.7 FTE)

Project description
Leiden University is one of the leading research universities in Europe. In five clusters of themes, the University, with its seven faculties and the Leiden University Medical Center, is among the top research institutions in the world. These clusters are Fundamentals of Science; Health and Wellbeing; Life Sciences; Law, Politics and Administration; and Languages, Cultures and Societies.

In the coming years we will be implementing an ambitious investment programme that will further expand our research profile and the associated teaching. To further strengthen the five clusters, we will be carrying out a targeted incentive programme. Central to this is a series of topics that have been developed by the faculties and that have a significant scientific, societal and/or cultural impact. These are all topics in which the faculties would like to intensify their mutual collaboration.

The aim of this investment programme is to attract and promote academic talent to each of these topics. The academics that we are seeking for these programmes have a broad profile: they are excellent in their own discipline, and are willing and able to work with others to develop new research lines and expand existing ones. They will do so by working beyond faculty boundaries and by securing external funding. Connection is the keyword of this investment programme.

One of the topics in which the University intends to invest extra funds is ‘The Liveable Planet’, Between 2019 and 2023 Leiden University will invest over 1.7 Million Euro in this research program on sustainable futures. The overall aim of the Liveable Planet interdisciplinary Research Cluster is to combine natural science research and historical/archaeological, policy and socio-cultural science research at Leiden university into a coherent research program allowing us to tackle the grand challenge of a transition to environmental sustainability. In the context of this program, three new professors will be hired to form the core of the research team, placed respectively within the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), the Institute of Public Administration (a Chair in Governance of Sustainability, this advertisement), and the department of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology (CAOS; a chair in Cultural Anthropology).

Next to participating in the Liveable Planet program, the Institute of Public Administration at Leiden University, Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, will be co-responsible for the new Master Governance of Sustainability that starts per 1 September 2019. Therefore, the institute has a position open for a

Chair Governance of Sustainability

Leiden University has one of the strongest research positions on natural capital in Europe. Initially this position was mainly developed in natural science research. In 2018, the university decided to expand, consolidate and strengthen this position by financing a new 4-year transdisciplinary research program, Livable Planet. Through this new program, the university seeks to integrate the domains of the natural sciences with the social sciences / governance & law, humanities, health sciences and history / archeology. The overall aim of the program is to combine natural science research and historical / archaeological, policy and socio-cultural science research at Leiden university into a coherent research program allowing to tackle the grand challenge of a transition to environmental sustainability. The program foresees four chairs in four different faculties (Faculty of the Social Sciences, Faculty of Science, Faculty of archeology and the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs) of which one is in the field of Public Administration given its specific focus on the Governance of sustainability.

The ambition of this chair is to conduct transdisciplinary research on the transition towards a society that uses its natural and social resources in a sustainable way. Whilst technical innovation is aimed at understating the (physical) functioning of both the natural as well as the economic systems and their impacts on human health and natural capita, there is, at the same time a distinct need to develop new and alternative governance arrangements, policy approaches, and effective transition management to support a development towards a more sustainable use of our environment and resources. These approaches are essential to foster the required change in a system that is characterized by wicked problems, absence of dominant coalitions that can enforce top-down change, and differences in framing.

Within these important overarching dimensions, the following major themes may define research and teaching of this chair:

  • Policy making on sustainability in a complex environment: A focus on sustainability challenges as a wicked problem. How does the complexity of sustainability problems affect the design of the policy process (including agenda setting, policy instruments, and interventions) and its various underlying notions? How does it affect policy formulation as well as policy evaluation? And to what extent do insights from policy evaluation help in further developing existing policy? 
  • New and alternative governance arrangements on sustainability: A focus on the reappraisal of institutional, hierarchical and management relations in order to enable or support a more sustainable development. How is the transition to a more sustainable society shaped and managed? And how do these affect the integration of citizen’s influence in the policy process and trust between the variety of experts and policy makers from different governance levels?
  • Exploring the transnational nature of strengthening sustainable development: a focus on sustainability from a transnational perspective. Sustainability issues need to be addressed at different levels of governance across different national and international jurisdictions. To what extent are existing transnational modes of governance successful in addressing sustainability and how can we improve the transnational management and governance of sustainability?
  • Transdisciplinary capabilities to support sustainable development: A focus on skills and governance capabilities within a transdisciplinary context; Which new (policy) actors and interaction capabilities are needed to address (potential) value conflicts within multi-actor constellations of different sectors and countries?

In all these themes, the main feature is the interaction between the complexity of sustainability challenges and the innovation of the governing arrangements. In this respect, governance of sustainability builds on and strengthens the existing Research Program of the Institute of Public Administration ( https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/governance-and-global-affairs/institute-of-public-administration/research).

Since this chair is part of the university-wide program, Livable Planet, the chair will participate in this program, extending the existing collaboration of the institute with others within Leiden University. Especially the collaboration with the Faculty of Science (environmental sciences), the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Archeology need to be mentioned.

The institute expects the chair to further develop the area of Governance of sustainability both in terms of teaching and research. It is important that during the period of university-wide program sufficient milestones are reached that allow for a further continuation of this chair. These milestones include a further development of the recently initiated MA Governance of sustainability, development of new education programs of tracks, and attracting grants and sponsorship in the area of second- and third-stream funding. For example, total enrollments as well as the success of the MA Governance of Sustainability and attracting sufficient external funds are important targets. The relevant performance indicators will be discussed and selected in close consultation with the successful candidate.

Key responsibilities

  • Supervises teaching in the area of the chair, especially in the Master Governance of Sustainability and in other general public administration programs and courses with sufficient interests;
  • Develops and provides, either alone or in cooperation with others, teaching in the various tracks and programs of the institute, both in Dutch and in English;
  • Develops teaching materials in the form of substantial syllabi or textbooks and contributes to educational reform at curriculum level;
  • The chair also participates in contract-teaching and other programs in the Institute of Public Administration and/or the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs;
  • Supervises Ph.D. students and provides teaching to Ph.D. students in the Graduate School and the NIG research school.


  • Supervises and conducts research on the specific key themes in the area of the chair as part of the research program of the Institute of Public Administration;
  • Co-coordinate the new program ‘Livable Planet’ and initiate and conducts research within this project together with the other partners including in the area of Public Administration;
  • Initiates and develops new research projects within the area of the chair and in the context of the institute’s research program in cooperation with others;
  • Initiates and develops new research projects based on second- and third-stream funding, including the EU.


  • Contributes to the dissemination in society of knowledge in the discipline;
  • Management and administration in such a way that it contributes to a positive atmosphere and cohesion in the institute through motivating and inspiring leadership;
  • Is active in networking including national and international scientific organizations.

Selection criteria
In the context of the themes within the field covered by the new chair, the Institute of Public Administration is looking for a candidate with the following qualities:

  • The prospective professor engages in high-quality teaching and excellent and well-recognized research in the field of governance of sustainability. The chair is in the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs and is part of the Institute of Public Administration.
  • The prospective professor has excellent research qualities, as is apparent from a Ph.D. and a list of international, high-quality publications in the area of the impact of governance of sustainability. That her/his research is influential is apparent from frequent quotations in journals and textbooks. S/he is considered an internationally recognized authority in the field.  S/he has excellent didactic skills and wide teaching experience at the academic level.
  • The prospective professor is (co)responsible for, and involved in, the BA and MA programs of the Institute of Public Administration, both in Dutch and English. Her/his contribution to the teaching program will be organized in consultation with the governing body of the institute.  S/he will have the capability for setting up and supervising educational-reform projects. In addition, the professor participates in post-initial educational modules.
  • The prospective professor conducts excellent research in the field of his job description.  S/he should be capable of further developing existing research projects and of stimulating novel and innovative research, if desirable in cooperation with colleagues inside and outside the faculty. S/he is capable of raising funds beyond direct government funding (second- and third-stream funding).  S/he will play an active role in the research school NIG (Netherlands School of Government) and in other relevant research associations at the faculty or national and international levels. S/he also plays an active role in making available and applying the results of research to a wider public, including governmental organizations in the Netherlands. The professor will have to contribute to recruitment, supervision and training of young researchers and to maintaining contacts with colleagues in the country and abroad.
  • The prospective professor has good capability and the willingness to play an active role in the management of programs that will be developed as part of this chair and the university-wide program Livable Planet in close cooperation with the institute. When cooperation with other disciplines is required or desirable, the candidate is expected to make a constructive contribution. S/he must be willing to promote the interests of the Leiden Public Administration program, inside and outside the university community.
  • The professor has the final responsibility for teaching and research in governance on sustainability. In this capacity s/he also provides services towards the wider community associated with her/his job description.
  • If the prospective professor is not proficient in Dutch, s/he is expected to have acquired a good command of Dutch within two years. Excellent command of English is required.

Our Institute
The Institute of Public Administration is one of the largest and oldest institutes of academic research and teaching in the field of public administration in the Netherlands and is located in The Hague. The institute combines a solid international academic reputation with a central positioning among the international, national, regional and local governance institutions of The Hague. It employs around 80 people and provides education to 1200 students. It is part of the Faculty Governance and Global Affairs (FGGA), one of the seven faculties of Leiden University. Besides Public Administration the faculty consists of two other institutes and four centers of expertise. More information about the faculty may be found at: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/governance-and-global-affairs

The institute has an international profile and gets high peer reviewed ratings, both for its research and education. It offers a Dutch Bachelor of Public Administration, a Dutch Master Management of the Public Sector and an English Master Public Administration. All three have several specializations. Based on the strong academic disciplinary approach, the institute collaborates with other institutes and faculties of Leiden University on interdisciplinary research and education programs.

Terms and conditions
The appointment will be for 4 years. After a positive evaluation in the 4th year, there will be a prospect of a permanent contract.  Appointment will be in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities. Depending on education and experience, the maximum salary gross per month is € 8.127,- (pay scale H2; full time appointment).   

Besides Leiden University has good labour conditions, such as an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training and career development, paid parental leave and sabbatical leave, and the possibility to assemble your own set of terms and conditions with our individual choices model. All information can be found here: www.werkenbij.leidenuniv.nl.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members who are at present underrepresented in its organization.

An elaborated profile description of the chair is available on request. For further information on the contents of this position, please contact prof. dr. Bernard Steunenberg, e-mail: b.steunenberg@fgga.leidenuniv.nl, scientific director of the Institute of Public Administration, phone +31 70 800 9499. For more information about the selection procedure and to receive the detailed description of the position, please contact Vincent Wolters MMC, head of Human Resources, phone +31 70 800 6740, e-mail: v.p.wolters@fgga.leidenuniv.nl

Applications may be sent to prof. dr. Bernard Steunenberg with a motivation letter and CV no later than 15 July 2019, via e-mail: SecrBSK@fgga.leidenuniv.nl.

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