PhD Position on Organising Phase-Out for Just Sustainability Transitions

Utrecht University
Faculty of Geosciences
Department of Sustainable Development
Hours per Week: 32 to 40
:point_right: APPLICATIONS CLOSE: 15 March 2024


"At the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University, we have an exciting four-year PhD position available.

"The transformation towards a net-zero society in 2050, as well as other sustainability targets, require exnovation and departing unsustainable production processes across different sectors.

For enterprises in many sectors, this requires phase-out of existing processes and divesting entire operational units. Such processes have many implications and hold challenges in terms of social and economic (in)justice.

  • How are processes of decline and phase-out organised, and what are their organisational and societal implications?
  • What are the underlying organisational dynamics and how do enterprises interact with governments, knowledge institutions, civil society organisations and local communities?
  • Often, phase-out processes are contested by internal as well as external stakeholders. How can such processes be organised in a just manner?

This PhD project investigates the process dynamics of exnovation, decline and phase-out towards sustainability across sectors and enterprises where (binding) phase-out targets are in place. Examples are agriculture, mobility, energy, or chemistry. Based on qualitative (case) studies in the selected sector(s), you will follow and/or reconstruct processes and interactions between the parties involved, analyse their discourse and actions, and identify implications and opportunities for organising phase-out in a just manner."