English version

Post-doctoral fellow: Sustainable development in the Global South

(Ref. BAP-2017-60)

Tewerkstelling : Deeltijds
Duur : Bepaalde duur
Plaats : Leuven
Solliciteren tot en met : 02/03/2017
The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (http://ees.kuleuven.be/) and the Department of Biology (https://bio.kuleuven.be/) are looking for a motivated post-doctoral fellow to support education, research and management activities during the five-year programme “Master of Science in Sustainable Development” funded by the VLIR-UOS (2017-2021).

Post-doctoral fellow: Sustainable development in the Global South

In close collaboration with KU Leuven academic staff from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (Division of Geography and Tourism) and Department of Biology (Division of Ecology, Evolution and Conservation), the selected postdoctoral fellow will support the setting up, implementation and daily management of the Master of Science in Sustainable Development and connected activities. The postdoctoral collaborator will play a crucial coordination role in supporting the effective implementation of the Master’s vision, goals and strategy.

The Master in Sustainable Development has been designed as a research driven educational programme, mindful of ethics, gender and diversity, that prepares the sustainability leaders of the future. The main objective is to train students to become the agents of change that will imagine, trigger and build the sustainability transition of the twenty-first century.
The distinctive strength of this Master is its interdisciplinary character bridging societal and ecological sustainability challenges. Its educational ambitions and activities go beyond the dualistic perspective on nature and society, which is still prevalent in contemporary education, research, development cooperation and public policy in the sustainability and resilience field.
This Master offers a transversal core programme on sustainable development and two tracks of specialization: a Space & Society track and an Ecology track. The common core involves building up and integration of fundamental expertise on sustainable development, including theory, methodology and practical applications in both ecology and social science. It comprises academic levelling training, courses covering different sustainability aspects, the formulation of an individual research portfolio, as well as a fieldtrip in the Global South, an internship, a thesis and a workshop on sustainable development in practice. The Space & Society track focuses on the societal component of sustainability transition, including social, economic, political and cultural dimensions. The Ecology track focuses on both the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of biodiversity, at all organizational levels (species, genes and ecosystems). Integration between both tracks will mainly be done through sustainable development practice at the local community level.

The Sustainable Development Living Lab is the major methodological innovation introduced by this Master. This lab will be a mobile platform through which this ICP community will apply sustainability knowledge to problems of the Global South. This Living Lab is designed as a space of dialogue and co-learning between different agents and institutions involved in the creation, implementation, governance and assessment of sustainable development. Involving diverse stakeholders in the lab will contribute to achieve the transdisciplinarity goals in the Master’s curriculum. The lab will connect students, staff from the KU Leuven and Global South partner institutions from Africa, Asia and Latin America, but also practitioners and policy-makers, NGOs, representatives of the private sector, among others. In short, this Master programme embraces sustainability and development and engages with real world settings, localities and their communities in a still unachieved sustainability journey.

More information at:


Foreseen tasks include:

  • Curriculum development and participation in high level education, including teaching assignments for selected courses.
  • Organisation and involvement in a living lab organized in a Global South country (Africa,Latin America or Asia).
  • Support in the daily management and coordination activities related to the programme (e.g. welcoming and hospitality activities for students and academic visitors from the Global South; guidance role oriented to support students; organisation of meetings, etc.)
  • Support in efforts to connect education, research and capacity building activities,including coordination of the Sustainable Development Living Lab.
  • Active contribution to an interdisciplinary research agenda on sustainable development, including academic publications, supervision of Master theses, preparation of and participation in new related projects (e.g. VLIR-UOS SI/Team projects, Horizon2020…)
  • Activities related to the quality control of the Master programme (e.g. streamlining admission procedures, gender bias evaluation, quality control assessments,…)
  • Other tasks such aiming at quality enhancement as e.g. reporting the meetings of the steering and the programme committees, maintaining relations with Global South partners and advisory board, coordination of the alumni network, website, marketing of the programme)


The selection among the eligible candidates will be based on the following criteria:

  • PhD in afield relevant to the master programme (e.g. sustainability studies, geography,ecology, environmental studies/sciences, planning, environmental policy and management, environmental social sciences, etc.
  • Background and interest in sustainable development, nature-society interactions, Global South and inter/transdisciplinary approaches
  • High motivation and experience with research and/or working with Global South countries
  • Academic publications in the relevant field
  •  Excellent communication and writing skills in English are a prerequisite, since the postdoc will play a key role in communicating with both students and international partners of the ICP. Knowledge of Dutch, French and/or Spanish will be appreciated.
  • Ability to work independently and accurately
  • Previous teaching experience will be appreciated
  • Excellent organisation skills
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills and ease in relating to people from varying educational,cultural, and social backgrounds
  • Willingness and ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary team within an international context


We offer a part-time position (0.80 FTE) for the duration of the project (with evaluation after the first year). Interested candidates should submit through the online application tool a cover letter, curriculum vitae with list of publications, and a list with at least two references who can be contacted (with name, function, email, address, phone number). Interviews for this position will be held in March. The starting date for this job will be between April and May.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Constanza Parra Novoa, tel.: +32 16 37 95 50, mail: constanza.parra@kuleuven.be or Prof. dr. Anton Van Rompaey, tel.: +32 16 32 64 03, mail: anton.vanrompaey@kuleuven.be.

You can apply for this job no later than March 02, 2017 via the

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