Post-doctoral researcher Public participation in environmental & energy matters


Faculty of Law


University of Groningen

Since its founding in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education, offering high-quality teaching and research. We encourage the 33,500 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Among the best research universities in Europe, we join forces with prestigious partner universities and networks around the world, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

Department of Business Law, European Law and Tax Law
Within this department, we have a high-profile and dynamic research-led group working, which engages in research in both the classic and more recent areas of European Law. The current research of the department covers subjects such as (but not limited to) the Internal Market; Judicial Protection; Citizenship; Rights and Values in the European Union; Energy Law; Competition Law, and European Environmental Law.

All the members of the Department of Business Law, European Law and Tax Law participate in the research programmes of the Faculty of Law. In particular, the Department plays a major role in the research programme 'Protecting European Citizens and Market Participants'. In addition, the project will support the activities of the Groningen Centre for Empirical Legal Research (GELR). The Centre is a national and international centre of expertise. It serves as a public platform to showcase the latest empirical publications from the Faculty of Law and it operates a helpdesk for all members of the faculty who are interested in conducting empirical legal research.

Environmental Psychology group
The Environmental Psychology group of the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences at the University of Groningen has a national and international reputation for excellence. Research within the Environmental Psychology group focuses on a wide range of topics, including individual and situational factors influencing sustainable behaviour (such as household energy use, car use, food consumption); effective ways to promote sustainable behaviour; the acceptability of energy sources, systems and policies; and the effects of sustainable behaviour on wellbeing. The research has the explicit aim of both contributing to theory development and practice, and is embedded in the research programme Interpersonal Behaviour, as well as in two of the focus areas of the University of Groningen: Energy and Sustainable Society. The group collaborates with scholars from different disciplines within and outside the University of Groningen, as well as with governments, NGOs, and various business organisations.

Job description

The University of Groningen invites applications for a post-doctoral researcher to study the effectiveness of regulatory frameworks and practices about Public participation in environmental and energy matters (34 months). This position is part of the Like!Me Living Lab Project ( focusing on effective public participation in environmental matters. This project is a collaboration between the Department of Business Law, European Law and Tax Law and the Environmental psychology group at the University of Groningen.

The aim of the project Like!ME Living Lab is to study the relationship between regulatory frameworks on and people’s preferences for public participation in decision-making about various environmental matters, in particular the sustainable energy transition. We propose that in order to achieve a high level of environmental protection and socially acceptable energy policies and projects, equal opportunities need to be created for different societal groups to participate in decision making and people’s different values need to be taken into account throughout the whole chain of decision-making.

Accordingly, you will study EU and national public participation regulatory frameworks and strategies on energy transition and carry out qualitative and/or quantitative studies (e.g. semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, experiments, longitudinal research) to examine the alignment of these strategies with public acceptability of energy policies and projects and public preferences for public participation practices. You will study real-life public participation in decision-making on polices and projects in various municipalities and provinces in the Netherlands. You will collaborate closely with the local provinces and municipalities, as well as with business associations and knowledge institutes, in order to conduct the research and to disseminate your findings in practice. You will publish the results of your studies in international scientific journals as well as popular magazines and newsletters, and present your studies at international conferences and to project partners. You will work in an interdisciplinary team of lawyers and environmental psychologists. You will supervise students working with empirical methods of research linked to the subject of public participation in decision-making. You will contribute to expanding the Living Lab into a Research Centre on Public Participation and be part of the Groningen Centre for Empirical Legal Research (GELR).


We are looking for an early-career scholar who has a strong research record, and is interested in studying the effects of public participation in decision making on public acceptability of renewable energy policies and projects.

We are looking for candidates who meet the following requirements:

- a PhD degree in (European) Environmental law, Sociology (of law), or Public Administration, preferably focusing on empirical legal research in the field of environmental democracy (in particular, public participation in decision-making)
- knowledge and skills in qualitative and/or quantitative research
- a relevant publication record demonstrating your ability to publish international academic publications, preferably in top tier peer-reviewed journals
- experience with theory driven research with a clear eye for practical implications
- a clear interest in collaborative interdisciplinary research
- affinity with connecting people, manage collaborations, reach out to different discipline
- the ability to manage collaborations with partners outside academia (e.g. local governments, businesses)
- the ability to communicate verbally and in written form in English and preferably Dutch
- ability to work independently and manage joint research activities
- affinity with supervising students at undergraduate level
- a team player with good communication skills.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 34 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

- a salary of a minimum of € 3,353 (salary scale 10, step 4 ) and a maximum salary of € 5,127 (salary scale 11 max) gross per month on a full-time basis in accordance with your experience
- excellent secondary terms of employment
- a full-time position
- a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% year-end bonus
- 232 holiday hours per calendar year for full-time employment
- participation in a pension scheme for employees
- a temporary appointment for a specified period of 34 months.

The preferred starting date is the 1 March 2021.

Job Application

Do you meet our qualification criteria? If yes, you’re requested to upload the following documents:

- a motivation letter stating your motivation to apply for the position and your key qualities relevant for this position
- an up-to-date curriculum vitae
- contact information of two academic references.

You may apply for this position until 3 January 11:59pm / before 4 January 2021 Dutch local time by means of the electronic application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Interviews are scheduled in January 2021. Candidates will be asked to send a research concept, which they will present in the interview.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Dr Lorenzo Squintani

Dr Goda Perlaviciute

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 220356

Digital application form