Postdoc position on 'Behavioural Modelling for Participatory Value Evaluation

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Postdoc position on 'Behavioural Modelling for Participatory Value Evaluation
  • Doctorate
The Department of Spatial Economics together with the John Stuart Mill institute of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam are looking for candidates for a Postdoc (PD) position on ‘Behavioural Modelling for Participatory Value Evaluation’, as part of the NWO-MVI project: “Participatory Value Evaluation: a new assessment model for promoting social acceptance of sustainable energy policies”. Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE:         0,8

Job description

Project description
Worldwide, governments and firms invest in sustainable energy technologies, projects and policies to decarbonise energy systems. The investment decisions are often made on the basis of Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA). However, classical CBAs have difficulty incorporating citizens’ ethical considerations of such decisions and these considerations can affect the social acceptance of decisions on sustainable energy policies. This is problematic because lack of local social acceptance increases the risks of failures and delays of sustainable energy policies. Dutch practitioners consider the use of participatory approaches and new assessment approaches to evaluate sustainable energy policies.
  1. The key objective of the research project is investigating whether these approaches can deliver on two promises:
  2. Inclusion of citizens’ ethical considerations in quantitative real-world economic policy assessment;
  3. Contributing to citizens’ acceptance of decisions on sustainable energy policies by recognising distributive and procedural considerations.

Your duties

The PD will be based at the Department of Spatial Economics of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (0,5 fte research; 0,3 fte teaching) and will develop novel models that measure the extent to which citizens are willing to forego personal benefits to foster ethical considerations. This postdoc will also use these estimated ethically informed utility functions for the economic assessment of sustainable energy policies. The PD will also be involved in the teaching activities of the Department of Spatial Economics. 


Candidates for the VU PD are expected to have a university PhD degree in econometrics, applied mathematics or economics or to be close to finishing their PhD. They need to have proven experience with econometric modelling and statistical programming where experience with programming in open source packages such as Ox, R or Python are a pre. Applicants should have an open and interdisciplinary attitude as they have to work in a team with people with various scientific backgrounds. Proficiency in English in speaking and writing is essential as well as evidence of scientific performance in the form of journal publications in scientific journals.

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,790 (scale 10)
and a maximum €4,402 (scale 10), 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 1 year, with the possibility of extension.
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)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

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 endeavour – 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 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 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.

School of Business and Economics
The School of Business and Economics (SBE) provides high-quality education and excellent research in business administration and economics with a focus on contributing to the social, economic and ecological challenges of our time. Whether it is the use of robots in society or big data, labour market participation or flexibility in the labour market, traffic jams or the housing market, flash crashes in the stock market or choice behaviour in gambling, leadership or change management: we believe in goal-oriented scientific research and understand that progress in academics, the business community and society is achieved through cooperation, openness and social responsibility.

At SBE, all of our highly-motivated colleagues work together closely in a stimulating, dynamic and international environment to achieve our collective goal of encouraging society to make informed choices. Approximately 4,200 Bachelor’s and Master’s students and 1,700 executive students are enrolled at the School, and employs roughly 500 people.

Departments involved
Supervision of the postdoc is shared by the Department of Spatial Economics and the John Stuart Mill college. The department of Spatial Economics at the school of Economics and Business is engaged in many economic problems in which space and the environment play a prominent role. The 60 staff members are involved in both fundamental research as well as in national and international commissioned research. With this research, the department has gained national and international recognition, as shown by the large number of international publications and awards. The department is involved in several teaching programs at the Bachelor and Master level.
The John Stuart Mill college seeks to educate tomorrows leaders in order to develop better decisions for a better world. It is an interdisciplinary college that seeks to develop new perspectives on complex questions drawing from expertise from philosophy, political science and economics rather than relying exclusively on one of these perspectives.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button by 15 August 2020 and upload:
  1. A detailed CV (including contact information for at least two academic references);
  2. A letter of motivation (max 2 pages) which also explains why you posit the requirements discussed above;
  3. Scientific publications (published or in progress)
The job interviews will be held in September.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: Paul Koster

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