17 September 2018

The Centre for Global Challenges is looking for two Postdocs

Utrecht University is looking for two Postdoctoral Researchers: one Postdoc on ‘Transformative Innovation Policy in a Global Comparative Perspective’ and one Postdoc on ‘Using impact evaluations to understanding drivers of poverty and inclusion’.

Global challenges, like climate change, increasing inequality, poverty, conflicts, breaches of human rights and citizens’ concerns about identity, cannot be solved from the perspective of just one discipline. The Centre for Global Challenges brings together people from different backgrounds and disciplines to explore and study these challenges and to contribute to innovative solutions. The Centre is a joint initiative of the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance.

The formulation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is not only an expression of a desire for a better future, but also a reflection of the need for transformation, as expressed in the subtitle of the UN Agenda 2030 – ‘Transforming our World’.  The implementation of SDGs into policy and action remains a challenge for all countries.

The Postdoc working on Transformative Innovation Policy will take as a starting point that a transformative innovation policy will be a key success factor for implementing the SDGs, precisely because it opens up the possibility for the State to address Agenda 2030 from a transformations perspective and achieve the SDGs in an integrated way. The UN Agenda on Transforming our World will be interpreted in this project as a call for new form of innovation, which is socio-technical system change. Such innovations provoke a broader system change not only in the technology used, but also in consumer practices and needs, skills and capabilities of all actors involved, infrastructures, governance, regulation, industry structure and cultural meanings of the system. Each economy has a large number of socio-technical systems in place that fulfil important societal functions in application areas such as energy, food, healthcare, mobility, communication. Transformative innovation policies aim to enable a change of these socio-technical systems into more sustainable directions.

The aim of the research is to look at the role of the state in transformative innovation policy at local, national and as well international level. A main research question is how this role should evolve for enabling transformations of socio-technical systems. In particular various forms of experimental governance will be explored. The research will seek to compare experiences in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europa. It will be a combination of historical research and action research. The former is looking at the role of the State in innovation policy over the last 50 years. The action-research component aims at participating in policy programmes in which various governments are experimenting with new roles (policy labs, but also more broadly societal experimentation by cities for example).

The research will draw on and connected to the work of the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium which is led by Johan Schot, Chair in Comparative Global History at  the Centre for Global Challenges (as of January 1st 2019), who will be the supervisor and co-worker of the Postdoc project. The Postdoc will be based in the Department of History and Art History (Faculty of Humanities).

Read more at Academic Transfer.