TU Delft

PhD Researcher on Deep Transdisciplinary and Interprofessional Learning for Deep Sustainable Transitions

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PhD Researcher on Deep Transdisciplinary and Interprofessional Learning for Deep Sustainable TransitionsFaculteit/afdeling: Faculty Architecture & the Built Environment
Niveau: Universitair
Functie-omvang: 38-40 uur per week
Contractduur: 4 years
Salaris: 2325 - 2972 euro per maand (volledige dagtaak) U bekijkt een vacaturetekst oorspronkelijk opgesteld in het Engels.
Delen kunnen beschikbaar zijn in het Nederlands! Faculty Architecture & the Built Environment

The Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment in Delft University of Technology strives to make significant contributions to solving some of the world’s most pressing societal problems. It does so by conducting original design, engineering and management research in and for the built environment, and by providing Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD programs to students from all over the world. The faculty’s internationally-renowned position (ranked 3rd in world and 1st in the Netherlands according to the QS subject rankings 2018 and 2019) highlights the excellent facilities, offering an interdisciplinary network for its 500 employees and 3.000 students. The faculty generates ideas, solutions, and knowledge for and with all relevant industries in the pursuit of a sustainable, resilient and enabling built environment.

With its academic research and education programs, the Department of Management in the Built Environment (MBE) helps to meet the growing demand for architects, urban planners and building engineers with knowledge and skills related to managing design, planning, and (re)development processes in the built environment.

Design and Construction Management (DCM)

With grand societal challenges such as the need for sustainable development to address the environmental and ecological crisis and the provision of affordable and decent housing in the context of rapid urbanisation, the Architectural Engineering and Construction industry is facing higher performance demands for its products and services. To respond to these challenges, the Design and Construction Management (DCM) section is undertaking research and education around new ways of reconfiguring work processes in designing, constructing and renovating the built environment to meet the goals of creating a circular economy that emphasises greater responsiveness, reliablity, quality and resource efficiency in the through-life delivery of built environment projects. These new ways of working also call for business model innovation that can facilitate more integrative methods of connecting people and technologies to drive better built environment and societal outcomes.

The DCM section’s ambition to address social, environmental and technological change in producing future built environments is realised by engaging with four challenging themes. These include examining questions of (1) technological change and its impacts on ways of designing, constructing and managing built assets; (2) institutions, institutional work and institutional change; (3) how people cope with change, and (4) configurations of systems in producing the built environment.

Functie omschrijving

The Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment in Delft University of Technology is looking for a PhD researcher to work on a four-year research project entitled “Stepping Out: Accelerating deep transdisciplinary and interprofessional learning for innovative actions, interventions and strategies of deep sustainable transitions in port area development”. This project is funded by NWO and led by Prof. dr. Paul W Chan, Professor and Chair of the Design and Construction Management Section.

“Stepping Out” is a joint effort involving the Department of Management in the Built Environment at Delft University of Technology, the Centre for Urban Studies at The University of Amsterdam, the Hogeschool Rotterdam and a wide range of public and private case study organisations in the Rotterdam and Amsterdam Harbour areas. Both case-study areas have to integrate multiple sustainability transitions simultaneously, i.e. energy transition, climate change, circularity, mobility. To address deep sustainable transitions transdisciplinary and interprofessional approaches need to transcend current knowledge domains to develop novel actions, interventions and strategies. The aim of this project is to put science at the service of the coalitions formed in the Rotterdam Makers District and Koppelkansen Havenstad respectively, and support and systematize the ongoing processes of knowledge co-creation. The project therefore addresses two interrelated questions on deep learning for deep sustainable transitions: (1) how can organisational, sectoral and institutional actors drive deep transdisciplinary and interprofessional learning to co-create innovative solutions for deep sustainable transitions, and; (2) how do these actors overcome emergent paradoxes in such learning?

In this collaborative research project, two PhD researchers (one based in Delft and one based in Amsterdam) and a postdoc researcher (based in Delft for the first two years and in Amsterdam for the latter two years) will be appointed. We are looking for candidates with a strong affinity with transdisciplinary research, who can combine theoretical innovation and scientific rigour with an interest in driving societal change.

Key responsibilities


  • Conduct transdisciplinary research that contributes to the project deliverables and the writing of a PhD thesis;

  • Engage effectively with key stakeholders on the project and support their work;

  • Be an active member of the Knowledge Action Network Kennisactiewater;

  • Undertake relevant coursework and other training;

  • Contribute to the writing of high-quality, high-impact publications;

  • Participate in the general intellectual life of the Design and Construction Management Section in the Department of Management in the Built Environment.

Functie eisen

  • A Master’s degree in a relevant cognate discipline (e.g. organisational and management studies, industrial sociology, sociology of the professions, urban planning and management) with an evident interest in theories of learning and/or sustainable transitions;

  • Familiarity with qualitative research methods or a strong desire to learn advanced qualitative methods that support engaged scholarship;

  • A substantive interest in working with stakeholders to drive behavioural change in sustainable transitions;

  • An excellent command of the English language and the Dutch language is absolutely required;

  • Excellent study results and academic skills, visible in the Bachelors and Masters course transcripts;

  • Strong critical thinking and writing skills, visible in the writing sample;

  • The ability to work independently, and as part of a team.

Arbeidsvoorwaarden

The position starts on 1 May 2020, or as soon as possible thereafter. If accepted, the candidate will be appointed on a four-year contract with a go/no-go decision around Month 12 (if a no-go is given, then the contract will end). Salary starts at € 2.325 and grows into € 2.972 gross per month in the fourth year. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Delft University of Technology 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. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for the 30% ruling.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the Delft University of Technology Graduate School. The Delft University of Technology Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit www.tudelft.nl/phd for more information.

Informeren en solliciteren

For information about this vacancy, you can contact Prof.dr. Paul W Chan, Chair of Design and Construction Management, email: p.w.c.chan@tudelft.nl.

For information about the selection procedure, please contact Paulien Stastra, HR Advisor, email: HR-BK@tudelft.nl.

To apply please send the following documents to HR-BK@tudelft.nl compiled into a single pdf file named: lastname_firstname_vacancynumber.pdf. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 


  • A letter of application in Dutch, including a CV, a list of publications, and details of two referees. This letter should include an explanation of the motivation for applying for this post and what skills and experience the applicant can contribute to this post.

  • A 1,500-word position paper (excluding the list of references) in English which contains a list of key references (max. 25) that informs your position. The position paper should provide a clear explanation and reasoning for your position on ‘Transdisciplinary and interprofessional learning and collaboration to achieve deep sustainable transitions’.

Please email your application by Monday, March 9th 2020.

Female scholars are especially invited to submit a letter of application.

A presentation of the research plan and an interview are part of the selection procedure.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

Acquisitie naar aanleiding van deze vacature wordt niet op prijs gesteld.

Uren per week: 38-40 uur per week

Salaris: € 2.325,- tot € 2.972,- per maand

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