The call for applications for the Postdoc Academy 2019-2021 closed on 15th March 2019. Applications for the Postdoc Academy 2020-2022 will probably be possible from December 2019 on this website.”

Per intake, 20 researchers will be selected. To be eligible for the Postdoc Academy for Transformational Leadership you should be an early career researcher with sustainability focus, affiliated to a European research institution, and

  • have obtained your doctorate/PhD no more than four years prior to applying (family and caring times excluded),
  • be an excellent researcher with a vision (societal impact),
  • have a strong interest and experience in doing inter- and transdisciplinary sustainability research, and
  • conduct research that asks for the complementarity of natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities.
  • have a research topic relevant to this year’s focus topic “Scaling Sustainability”
  • be on the way to professorship and academic leadership positions,
  • be an academic intrapreneur, who acts responsibly and initiates positive changes and innovation within his/ her institution,
  • be a shaper, a shaker and a mover,
  • have excellent English language skills (CEFR Level C2),
  • be committed to attending all seminars and relevant networking activities and
  • have funds for your postdoc research for the majority of the Postdoc Academy.

Applicants should be early-career researchers at an academic institution in one of the following European countries: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vatican.

15th January till 15th March 2019

Online application (motivation, CV, letter of support, etc.)

13th June 2019

Assessment workshop (personal presentation, interview, group work)

Until 30th June 2019

Notification of selection results to applicants

25th to 27th September 2019

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/ Germany

12th to 14th February 2020

Leuphana Universität Lüneburg/ Germany

14th to 16th October 2020

Stockholm Resilience Centre/ Sweden

17th March to 19th March 2021

Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT), Rotterdam/ The Netherlands

Transforming our ways of living and working towards “more sustainable societies” is a challenge and requires us to find ways to incorporate global concerns into everyday decision-making, e.g. in matters of production, consumption or infrastructure. This year’s Call for Applications for the Postdoc Academy for Transformational Leadership focuses on developing perspectives of “scale” and “scaling” in the context of addressing complex sustainability challenges, within and through research and sustainability initiatives.

Researchers necessarily address their objects from particular, often disciplinary perspectives. Issues of scale are often a challenge for knowledge integration and they pose serious questions when working with different stakeholders or across disciplines: How do we develop a joint language or framework across disciplines capable of addressing problems on different scales? How do we design transitions between scales and how does this enable us to better investigate, engage and co-shape transformation processes? How do we understand, address and develop trans-local networks? Some scientific communities within sustainability research tend to address scaling as the process by which promising and more sustainable innovations become larger in their use and/or impact. Questions of how to scale (up) more sustainable ways of producing and consuming are key to leverage deep societal transitions. Others are skeptical and would prefer to develop solutions that stay local or trans-local. To them scaling up inevitably runs the risk of losing reciprocities, diluting responsibilities and doing injustice to specific concerns.
We invite applications of postdoctoral scholars, who already conduct research on sustainability issues in the broadest sense; who work on inter- and transdisciplinary research or see why this would be useful to address sustainability issues; and who encounter problems of and with scale and scaling within their research. Examples could be earth system or large-scale social-ecological modelers trying to downscale their research; social scientists trying to upscale from case study work; political ecologists investigating global flows believing scales to be constructs; multi-level analysts trying to integrate data from very different (scalar) contexts; transition scholars interested in processes of diffusion and institutionalization and the political struggles and dilemma’s that accompany these processes.

Overall, issues of scale and scaling will be addressed from different angles

  1. to allow researchers to position their own research as a matter of scale and scaling and address scales that so far have seemed remote or “other” to their work;
  2. to support research teams in developing research approaches across scales;
  3. to discuss approaches to investigate processes of diffusion on multi-level systems and
  4. to co-develop action knowledge and elaborate on the role science can play across scales in sustainability transitions.

Secondly, it addresses researchers interested in developing leadership skills in order to manage the scalar dimensions of sustainability transformations more effectively. The aim is to improve their competencies in working across scales and build a network of early career scientists willing and able to confront the challenges of “scaling sustainability”.