PhD position on the role of global regimes in sustainability transitions

Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, is an internationally networked aquatic research institute within the ETH Domain (Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology). Eawag conducts research, education and expert consulting to achieve the dual goals of meeting direct human needs for water and maintaining the function and integrity of aquatic ecosystems.
The Department of Environmental Social Sciences (ESS) has a vacancy for a

PhD position on the role of global regimes in sustainability transitions

The PhD student will work in the Innovation Studies group (Cirus) at Eawag under the supervision of Dr. Christian Binz. The student will also be formally enrolled at the University of Neuchatel (Switzerland, Prof. Olivier Crevoisier) and Utrecht University (the Netherlands, Prof. Bernhard Truffer), where she/he will be able to profit from a high quality research environment in economic geography and innovation/transition studies. The position is fully funded through a Swiss National Science Foundation’s research grant for four years with a preferred start in September 2018. The thesis will consist of a collection of four peer-reviewed articles.
We are looking for a PhD student interested in conceptual work on innovation, globalization and sustainability transition studies. He or she should be able and willing to conduct in-depth, mixed-methods research in the water and sanitation sector. Candidates should hold a master’s degree in innovation studies, human/economic geography, sociology or related fields in the social sciences. Fluency in English (spoken and written) is required, skills in a second language (either French or German) are an asset. Experience with social network analysis and/or qualitative expert interviews are a strong plus.
The position will focus on the question how dominant designs in infrastructure sectors form, how they diffuse in space and hinder the build-up of potentially more sustainable system alternatives. Conceptually, the PhD student will work at the crossroads of sustainability transition studies, (network) sociology and the geography of innovation. The empirical part will focus on the global water sector and disentangle in detail the actor networks and institutional structures that stabilize the dominant design (large-scale, centralized water infrastructures), despite increasing pressure to develop more modular and sustainable system alternatives. The PhD student will closely interact with the research team at Cirus, which focuses on environmental innovation and sustainability transitions in the energy and urban water sectors with a particular focus on the geography of transitions.

Eawag offers a unique research and working environment and is committed to promoting equal opportunities for women and men and to support the compatibility of family and work. Applications from women are especially welcome. For more information about Eawag and our work conditions please consult and

If you are excited about working on this timely and challenging research topic within an international and interdisciplinary research team and with the excellent research facilities that Eawag has to offer, then we are looking forward to hearing from you. For additional information, consult or contact Dr. Christian Binz, E-Mail: (no applications).

The deadline for applications is 10 June 2018. Applications should include a cover letter, CV, a writing sample (e.g., a published article, chapter from MA thesis, seminar paper) and the names and affiliations of three references.


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