Four Assistant Professors (tenure track) of Human Geography & Spatial Planning (0.8 - 1.0 FTE)

Published at: 12 July 2021

Four Assistant Professors (tenure track) of Human Geography & Spatial Planning (0.8 - 1.0 FTE)

The Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning at the Faculty of Geosciences of Utrecht University has vacancies for four early-career academics. Our ambition with these tenure-track Assistant Professorships is to further develop our teaching and research activities across the department.

Your research will be embedded in our Urban Futures research programme focusing on transitions to socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable cities. Preferably, your research connects with (one of) Utrecht University’s strategic themes: Pathways to Sustainability, Dynamics of Youth, or Institutions for Open Societies. An additional task is to contribute to the acquisition and execution of externally funded projects. You will teach in our undergraduate programme in Human Geography & Spatial Planning and, depending on your expertise, in our Master's programmes in Urban and Economic Geography, Spatial Planning, Geographical Information Management and Application, and Geography: Education and Communication. Furthermore, you will supervise students working on their Bachelor's and Master's theses.

The new colleagues will be based in one section of the department but are asked to explicitly indicate at least one other section, to establish linkages and cooperation. The sections recruiting candidates are: Urban Geography, Economic Geography, Spatial Planning and Geography & Education. The department’s section of International Development Studies has already recruited, but is open for suggestions for crosslinks.

The position in the Spatial Planning Section focuses on research and teaching on the governance and planning of sustainable urban futures, and the changing role of urban and regional planning in sustainability transformations. In the field of teaching, the department particularly seeks to strengthen its expertise in Dutch and European spatial planning, planning design studios, and planning methods.

The position in the Urban Geography Section focuses on research and teaching on housing, migration, consumption, tourism, health and mobility in urban regions worldwide, with an emphasis on inequalities and sustainability transformations. Teaching is envisioned to take place in general introductory Bachelor's courses and in more specialized topical courses.

The position in the Economic Geography Section focuses on research and teaching on the spatial distribution of economic activities and in the Evolutionary Economic Geography programme. Current research projects cover topics like the geography of innovation, regional inequality, regional innovation policies, resilience of regions to crises like COVID, institutions and regional development.

The position in the Geography and Education Section focuses on research on the role of (in)formal teaching and learning in transitions to socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable cities and societies. This may include topics such as young people’s perspectives on transitions in their living environment, pedagogical strategies and beliefs of teachers, and questions related to a curriculum for the Anthropocene. Teaching is envisioned to take place in general introductory Bachelor's courses and in specialized courses in the educational Master's programmes.

The position involves 60% teaching and 40% research time. Activities include:

  • teaching in our core Bachelor’s and Master’s courses;
  • teaching in our research methods courses, including mixed methods;
  • Bachelor’s and Master’s thesis supervision;
  • research and publishing;
  • creating societal impact and engagement with societal stakeholders, and
  • proposal writing and project acquisition.


You are an inspiring teacher to Bachelor's and Master's students and you have a Basic Teaching Qualification (BKO) or are willing to obtain one in the near future. You are a strong team player with good communication and networking skills, who is focused on achieving multidisciplinary research targets and participating in the acquisition of funding for research projects.

Furthermore, the preferred candidate should have:

  • a doctoral degree (PhD) in human geography, spatial planning, or a closely related discipline;
  • a proven expertise in conducting research, leading to publications in international scientific journals and contribution at academic conferences;
  • teaching experience, and be willing and confident to teach subjects beyond his/her niche of expertise;
  • connections to relevant academic partners as well as stakeholders in society;
  • and strong communication, networking, and organisational skills.

Candidates with Dutch language proficiency (B2-level, CEFR) will be given preference, since our Bachelor’s programme is in Dutch. Candidates who are not able to speak Dutch are expected to obtain this level within two years of the appointment. Moreover, you are expected to be able to communicate and write in (academic) English at C1 level (CEFR or comparable to level 3 of the Lecturer Assessment Grid). We offer opportunities for improving Dutch or English language skills.

We are looking for colleagues who will initiate new research projects and are looking forward to contributing to our teaching activities, and to collaborate with different disciplinary groups within and outside our department. Your vision on teaching and research will specifically be considered by the selection committee. Publication track record, teaching record, acquired research funding and leadership experience will be weighed against the number of years of academic experience, also considering (parental) leave and part-time appointments. Aanbod

For the tenure track we offer a temporary position (0.8 - 1.0 FTE) for six years based on a 4-year qualification programme for permanent employment. 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. An extension after the first four years up to the maximum of six 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 your 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, possibilities for your personal development, an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions. More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.

About the organisation

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 Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning has its focus on the enhancement of long-term economic developments of cities, how to cope with social inequalities, and how to accelerate sustainability transitions of cities and infrastructures. Research on these topics takes place within our research programme “Urban Futures: Transitions Towards Economic and Social Sustainability for Cities”.

Our research programme is the basis for our Research Master's Human Geography and Geographical Information Management and Applications and Professional Master's in Spatial Planning, Human Geography, and International Development Studies. The Department also runs a large and highly appreciated Bachelor's programme and is part of the Netherlands Graduate School of Urban and Regional Research for PhD candidates. Unique characteristics of the department are a special team focusing on innovations within teaching methods, its strong involvement in the transdisciplinary sustainability research theme and professional consultancy for public partners.

Additional information

Additional information about this position can be obtained from:


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 documents by using the ‘apply’ button below. Your application should include (and be limited to) the following:

  • motivation letter* (maximum of 1 page). Please indicate for which section you apply and which connections can be made with other sections, based on your research/teaching experience and including future research plans. Please refer in the name of the letter to one of the following recognizable references: Urban Geography = UG01, Economic Geography = EG02, Spatial Planning = SP03, Geography & Education = GE04;
  • curriculum vitae (with reference to your proficiency in Dutch and English) including a list of your publications;
  • teaching and research statement (maximum of 1.5 page), describing your vision on university teaching and research;
  • names and contact details of two referees (we will only approach them after informing you).

The selection process will include the following steps:

  • 1st round of interviews between 26 August and 3 September;
  • 2nd round of interviews from 13 September.

Candidates invited for the interviews are requested to prepare a short presentation/statement on their vision for teaching and research.

We aim to make our final decision by the end of September.

Deadline: 8 August, 2021.

Please submit your application documents here.