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Doctorate/PhD (EQF 8)
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Chair of Public Policy with a focus on Innovation and Sustainability(1,0 FTE)

The Institute of Public Administration is looking for a Professor of Public Policy, with a focus on Innovation and Sustainability, to strengthen its expertise in these areas. 

Vacancy number 23-012 13347 

The Institute of Public Administration is looking for a Professor of Public Policy, with a focus on Innovation and Sustainability, to strengthen its expertise in these areas.  It is essential for the analysis of these societal problems as well as their potential solutions. Within the area of sustainability, on which the Institute collaborates with others at Leiden University, we wish to strengthen our expertise in governance of sustainability and the university-wide collaboration in the Livable Planet program.

The ambition of this chair is to conduct transdisciplinary research on the transition towards a society that uses its natural and social resources in a sustainable way. The grand societal challenges of this time almost always have a technological component, leading to high interdependence between technical and governance questions and insights. Based on this interdependency, it is particularly important to further develop governance approaches, which are essential to foster the required change in a system that is characterized by the absence of dominant coalitions and differences in framing. This chair examines those governance approaches, which enable a transition towards a more sustainable world.

Within this context, the following major themes may define research and teaching of this chair:

  1. Policy making on sustainability in a complex socio-technical environment: A focus on sustainability challenges as a wicked policy problem. How does the complexity of sustainability problems affect the design of the policy process and its underlying notions? How does it affect the development of policy? And to what extent do insights from policy evaluation help in further developing existing policy?
  2. Exploring the transnational nature of strengthening sustainable development: A focus on sustainability from a transnational perspective in which sustainability issues are addressed at different levels of governance across different national and international jurisdictions. To what extent are existing transnational modes of governance successful in addressing sustainability and how can we improve the transnational management and governance of sustainability?
  3. Transdisciplinary capabilities to support sustainable development: A focus on skills and governance capabilities within a transdisciplinary context. Which new (policy) actors, technologies, and interaction capabilities are needed to address (potential) value conflicts within multi-actor constellations of different sectors and countries? 

In all these themes, the main feature is the interaction between the complexity of sustainability problems and the innovation of the governing arrangements. In this respect, governance of sustainability builds on and strengthens the existing Research Program of the Institute of Public Administration (https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/governance-and-global-affairs/institute-of-public-administration/research)

Leiden University has a strong research position on sustainable natural and social resources use in Europe through its transdisciplinary university-wide program research program Livable Planet. This program enables the university to integrate the domains of the natural sciences with the social sciences/governance & law, humanities, health sciences and history/archeology. The overall aim is to combine natural science research and historical/archaeological, policy and socio-cultural science research at Leiden university into a coherent research program allowing to tackle the grand challenge of a transition to environmental sustainability. The program supports several chairs in different faculties including this chair in the field of Public Administration.  Since this chair is part of the Livable Planet program, it requires collaboration with the other chairs within and outside Leiden University. Noteworthy are the collaborative efforts with especially the Faculty of Science (environmental sciences), the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Archeology (see for information: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/liveable-planet).

An elaborated profile description of the chair as well as the general research program of the institute is available via  Report-Chair_Public-Policy-and-Sustainability_20221011.pdf




  • Supervises teaching in the chair, especially in the Master Governance of Sustainability and the Bachelor Sciences for Sustainable Societies that is being developed.
  • Develops and provides, either alone or in cooperation with others, teaching in the various tracks and programs of the Institute, both in Dutch and in English.
  • Develops teaching materials in the form of substantial syllabi or textbooks and contributes to educational reform at curriculum level.
  • The chair also participates in contract-teaching and other programs in the Institute of Public Administration and/or the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs.
  • Supervises Ph.D. students and provides teaching to Ph.D. students in the Graduate School and the NIG research school.


  • Supervises and conducts research on the specific key themes in the chair as part of the research program of the Institute of Public Administration.
  • Co-coordinate the new programme ‘Livable Planet’ and initiate and conducts research within this program together with the other partners.
  • Initiates and develops new research projects within the area of the chair and in the context of the institute’s research program in cooperation with others,
  • Initiates and develops new research projects based on second- and third-stream funding, including the EU. 

Service and leadership

  • Contributes to the dissemination in society of knowledge in the discipline.
  • Actively participates in the Livable Planet team, initiating outreach activities, organizing scientific and other events.
  • Management and administration in such a way that it contributes to a positive atmosphere and cohesion in the institute through motivating and inspiring leadership.
  • Participates actively in managerial and administrative tasks within the organization of the university, including within the institute; the chair acts, based on a rotating chairpersonship among full professors of the institute, as the Scientific Director of the Institute for a specific period of time.
  • Is active in national and international scientific organizations.
  • Raises external funds for research and/or education/teaching for the institute.

Selection criteria

  • A doctorate from an internationally ranked tertiary institution in the area of this chair related to public policy, innovation and governance of sustainability.
  • A multidisciplinary background, and experience with working in multi- or interdisciplinary teams.
  • Extensive knowledge of the field of public policy, innovation, and sustainability.

We also outline additional expectations and requirements of the candidate. We are aware that no one can fully meet all these expectations and requirements. We are also aware that lists of requirements may deter qualified candidates. We therefore invite candidates to indicate in their letter of application not only which of the requirements mentioned below they meet, but also which they would like to develop further in view of the indicated expectations.

  • An excellent record of published peer-reviewed research, including books and articles in internationally renowned academic journals.
  • A solid record of successfully attracting external funding.
  • The desired candidate must be a strong team-player and must possess integrative leadership skills for contributing to a diverse an inclusive working environment
  • Experience in governance or administrative tasks within the university or within (inter)national academic organizations.
  • Experience in teaching undergraduate, graduate and/or post-graduate students, and supervising theses and dissertations.
  • Excellent didactical skills, experience in didactical and assessment methods in the field, and experience in creating his/her own teaching materials.
  • Experience in curriculum and/or course development in higher education and capacities to supervise less experienced teachers.
  • Evidence of leadership skills, management qualities and experience with respect to both.
  • Experience engaging in public and policy debates and establishing and maintaining productive networks.
  • Experience doing media outreach, including writing for a non-academic audience in magazines and newspapers.


Science for and about society is the domain of the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs (FGGA). FGGA is one of the seven faculties of Leiden University and is based in The Hague. It provides high-quality interdisciplinary education and research on social and governance issues such as terrorism, organization of public administration, climate change and economic crises. Because social issues are not bound by the boundaries of scientific disciplines, these themes are approached from various public administration, political science, economic, legal, and sociological perspectives. The faculty is a young, enterprising, and innovative organization that is growing rapidly. It has three scientific institutes, two centers, 3,500 students and 330 staff members.

The Institute of Public Administration, which is part of FGGA, is one of the largest and oldest institutes of academic research and teaching in the field of public administration in the Netherlands. The institute combines a solid international academic reputation with a central positioning among the international, national, regional, and local governance institutions of The Hague. The institute has an international profile and gets high peer reviewed ratings, both for its research and education. It offers a Dutch Bachelor of Public Administration, a Dutch Master Management of the Public Sector and the English Master programs Public Administration and Governance of Sustainability. Based on the strong academic disciplinary approach, the institute collaborates with other institutes and faculties of Leiden University on interdisciplinary research and education programs, including the Livable Planet program. It employs around 90 people and provides education to 1,200 students.


Conditions of employment

The prospective professor will become part of an ambitious and dynamic team of colleagues that wants to further expand the successes of recent years. There is a lot of collaboration across the boundaries of disciplines.

The appointment will be under the terms of the Collective Labor Agreement (CAO) of Dutch Universities. The appointment (1,0 fte) is initially a temporary employment for one year, with the prospect of a permanent position after positive evaluation.

Salary ranges from € 6.099, - to € 8.881, - gross per month, in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), and training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at https://www.staff.universiteitleiden.nl/human-resources/conditions-of-employment-salary-and-allowance?cf=governance-and-global-affairs


Fostering an inclusive work environment is a central element of the values and vision of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to develop their full potential.



You can find information about the Institute of Public Administration via: 


For further inquiries about the vacancy, please contact Prof.dr. Bernard Steunenberg via b.steunenberg@fgga.leidenuniv.nl.


Please submit online your application no later than 28 February 2023 via the blue button in our application system.

Applicants should submit online a letter of interest accompanied by a CV.

Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents in PDF format:

  • Motivation letter.
  • Curriculum vitae including a list of publications.
  • The names and addresses of three potential referees.