Post-doctoral researcher Environmental Psychology (1.0 FTE)


Faculteit Gedrags- en Maatschappijwetenschappen


Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Since its foundation 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. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 35,000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is an international place of knowledge.

The Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences is a centre of knowledge focusing on individuals and society. The faculty studies issues relating to human behaviour, and the relationships between people and society as a whole. This includes the study of how people function under normal circumstances, but also of the problems encountered by individuals or groups, and how these can be resolved or prevented. The Department of Psychology is part of the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, and offers Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes in both Dutch and English to over 3,000 students.

Job description

The Environmental Psychology group at the University of Groningen invites applications for a temporal post-doctoral researcher position (22 months). This position is part of the project “TOP-UP: TOP-down energy projects as catalysts for bottom-UP local energy initiatives”, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and ERA-Net Smart Energy Systems under the call Regional Energy Systems (RegSys:

The Environmental Psychology group 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 the investigation of individual and situational factors that influence sustainable behaviours (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 to 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 businesses and organisations (including energy companies).

The project “TOP-UP: TOP-down energy projects as catalysts for bottom-UP local energy initiatives” investigates how bottom-up local energy projects (i.e., energy projects initiated by local communities) can be promoted and facilitated through top-down transformative changes in the local energy system, in particular the heating system. You will identify key drivers and barriers of sustainable energy decisions, behaviours and initiatives, and focus on individual (e.g., personal motivations), group (e.g., group values, social influence) and system (e.g., policies, technical constraints) factors. You will develop a conceptual framework and test this framework using different methodologies, such as questionnaire studies, experimental studies, and case studies. You will work in an interdisciplinary team and collaborate with researchers in Engineering (University of Groningen) and Applied Mathematics (DTU Denmark), as well as with 6 partners from practice, which include energy service companies and local governments in both the Netherlands and Denmark. A key part of this collaboration entails the integration of psychological factors in local energy strategies and energy system models. You will play an important role in managing project activities and coordinating the collaboration between the members of the research team and the private partners. Moreover, you will actively participate in various national and international research communities on smart energy systems (e.g., ERA-Net’s knowledge community), in which you will share and discuss key project insights on consumer and citizen involvement. For more information about the project, see:

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 private partners. You will be a member of the Environmental Psychology group, and your research will be embedded in the Research Programme Interpersonal Behaviour.


We are looking for an early-career scholar with a PhD in Environmental or Social Psychology who has a strong research record, and who is interested in studying key drivers of sustainable decisions, behaviours and initiatives, particularly within the energy domain.

We are looking for candidates who meet the following requirements:

• a PhD degree in a relevant field of Psychology, preferably with a focus on Environmental Psychology
• 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 the practical implications
• a clear interest in collaborative interdisciplinary research
• the ability to communicate verbally and in written form in English and preferably Dutch (or willingness to learn Dutch)
• ability to work independently and manage joint research activities
• a team player with good communication skills.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 22 months.

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

- a minimum salary of € 3,217 (salary scale 10, step 3) to a maximum of € 4.402 gross per month (salary scale 10) for a full-time position
- a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% year-end bonus
- a temporary position with a duration of 22 months.

Intended starting date is as soon as possible.

Job Application

Do you want to become a member of our team? Please send your application to us, by submitting 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 can submit your application until 3 December 11:59pm / before 4 December 2020 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

The job interviews are scheduled on Monday 7 and 14 December 2020. Candidates may be asked to give a presentation.

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 Thijs Bouman
+31 50 3636473

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 220395

Digital application form