The world is changing rapidly and getting strongly interconnected through interacting processes. Because of this increased complexity, the outcome of seemingly small interventions on the system as a whole is hard to predict, and strategic decisions can have all kinds of unexpected and also undesirable side-effects. It is tempting to reduce ‘wicked problems’ to smaller, manageable elements, and relay them to experts in a specific discipline, but by doing so we run the risk of missing the bigger picture. At the UvA Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) researchers from various disciplines work together on complex challenges that require an integrated system’s approach to unravel the underlying dynamics and understand the possible effect of strategic interventions in problems like the energy transition, criminal network, pandemics, etc. The IAS is developing a method: POLDER (POLicy Decision-support and Evidence-based Reasoning) that brings researchers and policymakers together to explore new avenues of intervention in a process of co-creation. It uses system dynamics and complexity science methods to create actionable insights for the world beyond academia.

The postdoc researcher will work on integrative decision-support methods that help to unravel complex societal challenges, taking the energy transition as a case study.

What are you going to do?

We offer a 3-year postdoctoral position focusing on the development of the POLDER methodology.

You will be appointed at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), department of Theoretical and Computational Ecology (TCE)  but you will be mainly working at IAS in close collaboration with researchers of the Future of Energy network. With this research group you will explore interventions that could accelerate the energy transition.

You will focus on the design, formalisation, coordination, and evaluation of the steps in the POLDER approach and use case studies in co-creation with policy makers to develop POLDER as a generic approach. You will play a central role in the development of conceptual models, the building of computational models, and the use of these models to explore the efficacy of interventions. We hope that you will be able to present your POLDER research outcomes to society and industry as a proof of concept and thus also contribute to the acquisition of new funding to further develop POLDER.

What do we require?

We seek an exceptionally talented and highly motivated ‘systems thinker’ with:

  • a relevant background in Computational science, System Dynamics, Complexity Science, or Computational Ecology (or related areas) and a strong interest in policy-oriented research;
  • a PhD in a relevant field;
  • strong computational and programming skills;
  • strong interest in policy-oriented research;
  • demonstrated interdisciplinary work experience;
  • excellent written and oral communication skills.

Our offer

A temporary contract, preferably starting at 1 April 2021 for the duration of 36  months. Initially, we will appoint you on a temporary basis for one year. We offer you subsequently an extension of the employment contract of 2 years if we assess your performance positivelyThe appointment is full-time (38 hours per week), but part-time employment (0.8 FTE minimum) implicating a longer extension as compensation is negotiable.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,709 to €4,274 (scale 10) gross per month, based on 38 hours a week. This is exclusive 8 % holiday allowance and 8.3 end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Then find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.

About the Faculty of Science and the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) is one of eight research institutes within the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. Theoretical and Computational Ecology (TCE) focuses on understanding the complexity of ecological systems by using theoretical and advanced computational approaches. The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) uses system’s thinking and complexity science methods, as a ‘common language’ to explore challenging interdisciplinary research topics


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your CV and cover letter by 8 February 2021. You can apply online by using the link below. 

Applications should include:

  • a motivation letter, including names and contact information of two references and
  • a CV, including a list of publications.  

We will invite potential candidates for online interviews in February.

No agencies please

Apply now

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