A postdoc in System-level Modeling of the Energy Transition

Faculteit/Dienst:  Faculteit der Natuurw., Wiskunde & Informatica
Opleidingsniveau:  Gepromoveerd
Functie type:  Wetenschappelijk Personeel
Sluitingsdatum:  10 april 2023
Vacaturenummer:  11332



Are you concerned with accelerating the energy transition? Are you interested in interdisciplinary research? Are you passionate about bridging scientific research and policymaking? And, are you a dynamical systems thinker and have experience with mathematical and/or computational modelling? Then this postdoc position may be for you!    


Transforming our energy economy away from fossil fuels is one of the biggest challenges facing governments and society. Facilitating this transition requires addressing the complex interaction of multiple systems and processes (e.g., economic, social, and environmental). The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED-UvA) in collaboration with the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS-UvA) are looking for an ambitious postdoctoral researcher to develop a system-level framework for understanding, facilitating, and accelerating the energy transition, including modeling transition scenarios and pathways. Using a bottom-up approach, the research will consider the role and interactions between layers of government, industry, civil society, and other stakeholders. The research will help understand the potential conflicts, tradeoffs, and synergies between these different elements across their many scales, with an eye toward developing decision-support methods to navigate the central leverage points and obstacles faced by stakeholders. It will also help us understand various notions of resilience and the dynamics that shape a resilient decarbonized energy system.


Applicants should have a strong background in systems thinking and dynamic modeling. In particular, they should be familiar with complex adaptive systems. Candidates with experience, or notable skill, with diverse forms of stakeholder engagement are particularly encouraged to apply. Because the project will involve stakeholder engagement in the province of North Holland, fluency in Dutch is preferred (although not strictly required).


The project is embedded in the Polder Simulation Center (POLicy Decision-support and Evidence-based Reasoning, https://polder.center/), an interdisciplinary initiative led by the Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Amsterdam (UvA-IAS). It will be supervised by Dr. Yael Artzy-Randrup, and Dr. Colin Hickey, from the Department of Theoretical and Computational Ecology at IBED (UvA-IBED-TCE), and involve diverse interactions with researchers across disciplines, including social sciences, political, science, technology and others.


What are you going to do?


You are expected to conduct quantitative and qualitative research on dynamical systems approaches to the energy transition. While your work will primarily be in mathematical modelling and computational simulation, you are expected to be knowledgeable about the energy transition, and be passionate about interacting with fellow researchers across disciplines in the Polder Simulation Center. Your work should also be informed by and develop in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders for the energy transition. We expect you to take an active role in the activities of IBED and IAS, to help coordinate events in the Polder Center, to participate in activities such as brainstorming with the team on a new interdisciplinary MSc program in Complex Systems & Policy, and to take an active role in contributing to the construction of the Climate, Sustainability, Behavior and Policy section of the Polder Center. Your ability and motivation for taking part in these activities are particularly important.


What do you have to offer?


Your experience and profile:

  • PhD in modelling and/or simulation of complex systems or related areas;
  • Committed researcher, demonstrated by academic achievements;
  • Flexible and adaptable to the nature of interdisciplinary research and cooperation;
  • Capable and interested in initiating connections with other associates of the Polder Centre, like organizing periodic meetings, pleasant to work with and to exchange information with;
  • Professional command of English, in terms of speaking, reading and writing, and an excellent communicator with scientists across other disciplines and stakeholders;


What do we have to offer?


We offer a temporary employment contract for 38 hours per week, initially for a period of one year, which can then be extended for another year based on positive evaluation. The preferred starting date is as soon as possible.


The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 2,960 to € 4,670 (scale 10). This does not include 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% year-end allowance. The UFO profile Researcher 4 is applicable.  A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.


Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:

  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;
  • multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • a complete educational program for PhD students;
  • multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff;
  • multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;
  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
  • partly paid parental leave;
  • the possibility to set up a workplace at home;
  • a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
  • help with your registration at UvA Staff Housing (application for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad).


Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.


About us


The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 42,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.


The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Together, we create a vibrant, challenging and well-equipped research environment at Amsterdam Science Park. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the systems underlying biological processes.


The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics is one of eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. The research at IBED aims to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities. At its core lies an integrated systems approach to study biodiversity, ecosystems and the environment. IBED adopts this systems approach to ecosystems, addressing abiotic and biotic factors, and the interplay between those. The IBED vision includes research encompassing experimental and theoretical approaches at a wide variety of temporal and spatial scales, i.e., from molecules and microorganisms to patterns and processes occurring at the global scale. The University of Amsterdam has excellent high performance computing facilities. Furthermore, IBED has a dedicated computational support team with specialized knowledge of bioinformatics, (geo)database management and scientific programming. IBED also works with non-academic partners to deliver transdisciplinary science for society.


Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


Any questions?


Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

T: +31 619665455


Job application


If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the button below. We accept applications until and including 10 April 2023.


Applications should include the following information (all files besides your cv should be submitted in one single pdf file):


  • a detailed CV including the months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience;
  • a letter of motivation;
  • a list of publications;
  • the names and email addresses of two references who can provide letters of recommendation.


The interviews will be held throughout April, 2023.



The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.


No agencies please.