Post-doc researcher ‘Value pluralism and biodiversity assessment’ – The Open Universiteit (OU) – Heerlen

The Open Universiteit (OU)

Project

The postdoctoral researcher will work on the integration of value pluralism into nature conservation initiatives, among others by investigating the functions of biodiversity assessment tools. This project will investigate how and why plural values of nature can be included into biodiversity assessments. Despite actions designed to curb and reverse biodiversity decline, overall progress towards resilient ecosystems and towards reaching biodiversity conservation goals is still weak. This project will zoom in on the plural values of nature (e.g. instrumental, intrinsic and relational values) and assess the (potential for) integration of these values in a range of assessment processes. The often essentially instrumental use of biodiversity assessments by policy-makers and private companies has too often turned these assessments into burdens and symbolic processes, which do not provide added value to decision-making. In order to increase the impact of biodiversity assessments nature valuation should be made (i) more inclusive (multiple knowledge sources, multiple disciplines and plural values) and (ii) more practical, i.e. integrated in biodiversity assessments tools in a way that makes these accessible and fosters learning effects. This debate on plural and inclusive nature valuation has gained momentum since the recent publication of the Values Assessment of IPBES. The researcher will contribute to a better understanding and implementation of the plural values of nature in practice.

Tasks

The successful applicant will be joining the Department of Environmental Sciences at the Open University. His or her responsibilities include a contribution to the research line on inclusive nature governance. This will entail reviewing the recent literature on the topic, identifying gaps and ways forward in this debate, with regard to both policy and science and proposing novel analytical and practical approaches. Thereby, there will be a focus on existing biodiversity assessment tools and citizen science methods, and how these can be improved in order to incorporate both inclusiveness and impact conditions. The postdoc will take a lead role in dissemination of the results to an academic audience. The successful candidate will also be tasked to support teaching in the bachelor and master program Environmental Sciences.

Specifications

  • max. 30.4 hours per week
  • max. €5090 per month
  • Heerlen
  • The Open Universiteit (OU)

    Requirements

    Requirements

  • Ph.D.-degree in a science discipline focusing on nature conservation, environmental governance, social environmental studies or environmental philosophy.
  • Proven interdisciplinary academic track record.
  • Knowledge of and experience in empirical research methods, for example surveys.
  • A record of relevant scientific publications including working papers.
  • Ability for and willingness to work in a multidisciplinary team.
  • Ability to teach, and willingness to think about new course material from the project.
  • Very good command of spoken and written English.
  • Excellent report writing and presentation skills. Good time management and organisational skills.
  • Conditions of employment

    Fixed-term contract: for 18 months (start around mid-2024).

    Station
    Heerlen (the Netherlands). You are present in Heerlen (at least) two days a week, or will be expected to relocate to the region of Heerlen.

    Salary

    The salary will be determined on the basis of experience and qualifications but will be in accordance with the general salary scale 10 of the CAO-NU. An indication of the maximum gross salary is € 5090,- per month, for a full-time appointment.

    The Open Universiteit provides good secondary benefits such as training, mobility, part-time employment, hybrid work and paid parental leave.

    Employer

    Open Universiteit

    Flexible studying anywhere in the Netherlands and (Belgium) Flanders
    The Open Universiteit is the part-time university in the Netherlands. Students follow personalised and activating academic distance education and disciplinary research is carried out within the various fields of science. Students can complete bachelor and master programmes, but also shorter programmes. The characteristics of education are openness, flexibility and quality (see ). The Open Universiteit has over 17,000 students and more than 850 employees. The OU has branches in the Netherlands and Belgium (see ). The main office is located in Heerlen.

    The latest technologies and educational insights are applied both in the bachelor’s and master’s programmes and courses and in projects and programmes with partners. Nationally and internationally, the OU plays an important role in the innovation of higher education. Education is interwoven with research, which also ensures that the current state of science is incorporated. The Open Universiteit invests not only in disciplinary research in nine scientific fields, but also in research in a multidisciplinary programme: Innovating for resilience.

    Department

    Department of Environmental Sciences

    The Department of Environmental Sciences is part of the Faculty of Science. The Department embodies the commitment of the Open Universiteit to excellence in the environmental sciences, science for impact, and lifelong learning in the sustainability domain. The Department brings together an ambitious and inspiring group of people working on integrated environmental modelling, sustainability learning, and environmental governance and has about 20 team members. The research of the Department aims to contribute to the understanding of social-ecological systems, the development of solutions for environmental issues, and to the wider body of knowledge that helps societies reach their sustainability goals.

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