Assistant Professor of Environmental Science

VU University of Amsterdam


Are you a researcher in the field of environmental governance? Do you have experience in academic teaching? Do you want to make positive impact and contribute to a better world? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

As an assistant professor in environmental governance, you will be part of the Environmental Policy Analysis department at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) of VU Amsterdam. The position offers a unique opportunity to be part of an international, vibrant and multidisciplinary institute at the forefront of teaching and research on sustainability.

You are expected to contribute to the department’s research on the governance of socio-environmental challenges that relate to one or more of the following: climate, biodiversity, water, energy, food, forests, oceans, or combinations thereof. We are particularly interested in someone who can work on the governance of nexuses between different socio-environmental challenges. You should have a strong theoretical background and empirical expertise. We welcome applications from a wide range of theoretical perspectives, including researchers with a critical social science perspective and research experience in the Global South. From a methodological perspective, we are looking for someone who is well-versed in qualitative and/or quantitative methods, and can work with researchers from a broad range of methodological perspectives.

We offer encouragement and support to develop a research programme in your field. We increasingly premier team-based science and novel collaborations and you are encouraged to collaborate with researchers and societal partners within and outside IVM.

We offer exciting teaching opportunities across the many interdisciplinary teaching programmes taught by IVM and the departments, including courses and other forms of support to develop your teaching skills.  

We also offer you the opportunity to develop your managerial skills, including courses and mentorship programmes, by contributing to the administrative tasks in the department, institute and faculty.

We are an inclusive university community. The successful candidate should also have affinity with and contribute to implementing the department’s, the institute’s and the VU’s commitment to develop a culturally and socially diverse work environment.

Your duties

  • conducting research and develop a largely externally funded research programme in your research field
  • publishing articles and other forms of writing and presenting research in high quality journals and other suitable outlets
  • engaging in teamwork by seeking out collaborations with members of the department as well as other groups at the institute
  • teaching and coordinating courses at the Bachelor and/or Master’s level, and engage in IVM’s teaching community
  • supervising theses by BSc, MSc and PhD students
  • developing your research, teaching, supervision and management skills
  • contributing to administrative tasks and responsibilities in the department and the institute
  • contributing to a pleasant, diverse, and safe work environment at the institute
  • engaging with stakeholders from outside academia through research and/or teaching, striving for making a change towards a sustainable future


  • you hold a PhD in Social Sciences (e.g. Governance, Political Science, Development Studies, International Relations, etc.)
  • you have a strong research interest and academic track record in environmental governance
  • your research demonstrates methodological rigor
  • you have experience in academic teaching in the field of environmental governance
  • you show academic leadership
  • you value teamwork
  • you have a keen interest in interdisciplinary collaboration and generating societal impact

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organisation. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3,974 (scale 11)
and a maximum €5,439 (scale 11), depending on your education and experience. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The initial employment contract will affect a period of 18 months. After 15 months your performance will be evaluated in terms of quality of teaching, research and collaboration. After a successful evaluation, you will receive permanent employment and a path for your further academic development will be established through the career track agreement.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • possibility to save holiday hours, for sabbatical leave
  • contribution to commuting expenses


About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 31,000 students. We employ over 5,000 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
Working at the Faculty of Science means working together with students, PhD candidates and scientists who are focused on their discipline, yet also have a broad view of the world. We are proud of the collegial working environment within the faculty, which is characterised by an ambitious and pragmatic attitude with commitment to the bigger picture. At the Faculty of Science, scientists and students work on fundamental and complex social issues for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, from genetics to pharmaceuticals and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research cover the full breadth of the natural sciences. Scientific teaching and research is highly experimental, technical, computational and interdisciplinary in nature. This is why we collaborate extensively with leading research institutes and industry. The faculty has over 11,000 students studying across 40 educational programmes and employs over 1,600 staff spread over 10 scientific departments, making us the largest science faculty in the Netherlands.


About the institute and department
Established in 1971, IVM is a leading environmental research institute that is internationally recognised for its high quality research output in a range of environmental disciplines, as well as for its interdisciplinary work. The mission of the institute is to contribute to sustainable development and care for the environment through scientific research and teaching. IVM aims to do excellent problem-oriented research that is useful to a wide range of stakeholders in the Netherlands and internationally. A unique strength of our research is to understand sustainability problems in their social and economic context. IVM’s research community works within four departments: Environmental Economics; Environmental Geography, Environmental Policy Analysis; and Water and Climate Risk. Since 2001 IVM has been part of the Faculty of Science at VU Amsterdam (legal name Stichting VU).

The department of Environmental Policy Analysis at IVM is a team of more than 25 researchers that was evaluated in the most recent international research quality review as ‘world leading’ and as being ‘one of the highest profile academic research groups involved with sustainability governance from around the world’. We address questions related to institutional effectiveness and change, governance innovation and complexity as well as learning and adaptation. Empirically, we have a strong focus on water, climate change and biodiversity


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter by 7 September 2023. The job interviews are planned in the week of 25 September, when possible please take that into account when applying for the position.

Submitting a diploma and a reference check are part of the application process.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Prof. Philipp Pattberg
Position: Head of dept Environmental Policy Analysis

No agencies

In your application, please refer to