Assistant Professor of Global Change Modelling
Utrecht University Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development

Assistant Professor Global Change Modelling (0.8 - 1.0 FTE) - Environmental Sciences at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University

Job description

The Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University invites applications for a tenure-track faculty positions at the Assistant Professor level in the Environmental Sciences group. We are searching for highly self-motivated natural sciences oriented and quantitative scientists in the field of environmental sciences. Human-induced pressures such as climate change, increased food production, and deforestation are altering terrestrial systems.

With a new position on Global Change Modelling we aim to contribute to the solution of these challenges in environmental sciences while also increasing our fundamental knowledge of the system.

The world faces a number of important sustainable development challenges, including the question how to avoid dangerous climate change, how to stop the ongoing loss of biodiversity, and how to provide access to clean water, food and modern energy to 9 billion people in 2050. In other words, how to promote human development, while at the same time maintain earth system integrity? In order to be able to answer this, we need to understand the underlying causes, the possible response strategies, but also the key connections between the different challenges. From the research perspective, a systematic analysis is needed of the human imprint on the environment and how long-term interactions between human development and the natural environment will change. This research should be based on system approaches that are able to look at the relevant linkages, across scales and between different challenges. The so-called nexus between land, water and energy resources plays a key role in many of these interactions.


We are seeking for a highly motivated candidate with a background in integrated global modelling and knowledge on key interactions between human and environmental systems. You are expected to be able to assess possible future development of drivers of environmental degradation and the state of environmental systems. You also have interest in how science can provide a key role in providing policy-relevant information for national and international policies.

The candidate is expected to develop an internationally renowned research line at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. You will contribute to the acquisition and execution of externally funded projects, including acquisition and supervision of PhD students. You will be stimulated and coached in applying for a personal research grant.

The candidate will teach in the BSc programme Global Sustainability Science; in the MSc programmes Sustainable Development, and Water, Science and Management; and supervise Bachelor's and Master's projects. Teaching is in English. In the first two years the teaching load will be 50%, after two years teaching load will increase to 60%.

We gladly receive applications from candidates who:

  • have a PhD and profound knowledge of integrated global modelling and sustainability problems;
  • have experience with and an interest in academic teaching;
  • have a network for the acquisition of externally funded projects;
  • have a record of international peer-reviewed publications;
  • are well connected to relevant academic partners, as well as relevant stakeholders in society;
  • have excellent communication and interpersonal skills;
  • are able to demonstrate English language proficiency at C1 level (CEFR or comparable to level 3 of the Lecturer Assessment Grid) or prepared to obtain this level by training.


For the tenure tracks we offer a temporary position (0.8 - 1.0 FTE) for six years in combination with a 4-year tenure track qualification programme. Your performance will be subject to annual evaluations as well as an end-term evaluation after 3.5 years. Following a positive evaluation - based on the faculty performance indicators - your employment will become permanent after four years, or sooner depending on the moment you qualify. In case the 3.5-year evaluation is not satisfactory, the contract will be terminated. A continuation after the first four years is exclusively possible for the purpose of compensation of maternity or parental leave or other recognized delays. Further career development to Associate Professor (level 2) is possible, depending on qualification.

The gross salary -depending on previous qualifications and experience - ranges between €3,746 and €5,127 (scale 11 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including the choice for a good balance between work and private (a good arrangement for leave, among other things), possibilities for development and an excellent pension scheme and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.

About the organization

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The position will be in the Environmental Sciences group, one of the four research groups of the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. The Environmental Sciences group is a dynamic, ambitious and internationally leading team of researchers with a focus on fundamental and policy-oriented research of environmental processes, from local to global scales. The Copernicus Institute has been evaluated in the 2014 international review as the highest ranked research institute in sustainability sciences in the Netherlands. Since then, the institute has intensified its efforts in maintaining its leading position, among others by opening up positions for international scientists and by developing new, internationally oriented teaching programmes.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact Prof Stefan Dekker via or Prof Detlef van Vuuren via


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation via the ‘apply’ button below.

Please note: Due to the current situation regarding the Corona virus (COVID-19) the process of selection and interviews may be subject to change.

The application deadline is

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