2 Early Stage Researchers (ESR) in sustainable place-shaping
Advertisement for 2 Research Positions in the Department of Social, Political and Territorial Sciences



Function name:

Post-graduate researchers (ESRS) in research projects on: 1) Modes of Innovation in Managing the Commons  and 2) Re-Grounding of Practices in Place-Specific Assets and Resources


University of Aveiro (UAVR)

The University of Aveiro is among the most dynamic and innovative universities in Portugal. UA has around 14000 students and a unique model of governance and seeks to develop and maintain a supportive research environment, where researchers can count on a solid and experienced administrative, financial and legal structure.

UAVR has a strong research profile contributing, and is a privileged partner of companies and other national and international organizations with which they cooperate in numerous projects, providing advice and services. UAVR is also an actor in a regional network for education and training and promotes strong links with the surrounding community. For more information about UAVR please visit:


Description department/chair group

Department of Social, Political and Territorial Sciences (DCSPT)

The mission of the Department of Social, Political and Territorial Sciences (DCSPT) is to develop teaching, research in cooperation with society in the broad field of public policy. The DCSPT is structured based on three major areas of knowledge - social sciences, political science and territorial sciences – which, in turn, integrate a wide range of topics. The inherent multi-disciplinarity is reflected in the department’s scientific interest, which covers a diversity of themes, such as Rural Development, Environment, Housing, Innovation, Regional Development, Urban policy and design, Spatial Planning, Public Administration, the Welfare State, Population, and so forth.

Two Research Centres of the UAVR will be involved in the supervision of the projects: GOVCOPP - research unit on governance, competiveness and public policies, in which DCSPT has a prominent role (; and CESAM – Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, which includes the Department of Environment and Planning (

For further information about activities and positions at the UAVR, take a look at:


Function description

The Department of Social, Political and Territorial Sciences is looking for 2 post-graduate researchers (Early Stage Researchers - ESR), to carry out research projects on: 1) Modes of innovation in managing the commons and 2) Re-grounding of practices in place-specific assets and resources. These projects are part of the programme SUSPLACE, a Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded by the European Union. The overall aim of the Marie Curie ETN programme SUSPLACE is to train 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRS) in innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to study sustainable place-shaping practices. The SUSPLACE approach will further provide insight into how to utilize the full potential of places and communities for development via 15 individual research projects, divided along five interconnected research themes: inclusive, resilient and connected places, greening economies, and pathways to sustainability. SUSPLACE brings together 6 university partners and 7 non-academic partners in 6 European countries (the Netherlands, the UK, Latvia, Belgium, Finland, Portugal). SUSPLACE provides a unique opportunity for ESRs to potentially acquire a PhD degree in an exciting and emerging field of research, if they show sufficient progress after the first year.


The contract duration is three years, starting the April 1, 2016. The ESRS will be responsible for:

  • Performing research on the described topic based on a research proposal which will be assessed by the University of Aveiro
  • Following the SUSPLACE training programme
  • Doing two secondments in the context of the research at academic or non-academic partner organisations
  • Participating in the SUSPLACE meetings, co-organising specific activities
  • Contributing to communication and dissemination products for example by giving presentations, and making scientific findings accessible to field partners.


Research Project Modes of Innovation in Managing the Commons 

The research objectives are to enhance sustainable management of the commons, which requires new modes of innovation including recognition and power for grassroots innovation actors and processes, involving them within an inclusive, multi-scale innovation politics, through a participatory approach capable of determining the social/cultural values of forest ecosystem services. The project expects to develop innovative mechanisms, and grassroots alliances in managing the commons, to test innovative participatory approaches and to deliver guidelines for implementing an Integrated Landscape approach. The project will be co-hosted by LUKE – Natural Resources Institute/ Luke Economics and Society Research Unit, Finland.

Planned secondments: 1) MTT – Agrifood Research, Finland, 2nd year, 3 months. Goal: co-supervision and analysis of how grassroots alliances in Finland use wild nature, building sustainable strategies based on wild natural resources (plants, game) creating new food and non-food products and services. 2) RHDHV - Royal Haskoning DHV, The Netherlands. Goal: learn skills to develop modes of innovation for alliances.


Research project Re-Grounding of Practices in Place-Specific Assets and Resources

The research aims are to analyse innovative practices of sustainable place-shaping in the so-called ‘Aldeias de Magaio Network’ in Portugal, which can be seen as a form of endogenous development rooted in natural, economic and social local resources. The project aims to understand the factors which influence the production and use of traditional products, including the role of actors, agents and consumer demands and the impact on local communities. The project expects to find new ways of communication and dissemination of local products in global markets and to provide insights in the impacts in local communities. The project will be co-hosted by LUKE - Natural Resources Institute/ Luke Economics and Society Research Unit, Finland.

Planned secondments: 1) Binaural-Nodar, 2nd year, 3 months. Goal: learn skills in innovative and participative tourism-related activities and communication. 2) LUKE, 3rd year, 3 months Goal: Analysis of re-grounding of practices in natural areas in Finland


Formal eligibility criteria

  • You are eligible as an Early-Stage Researcher (ESR) if you are, at the time of recruitment (i) in possession of a university degree which formally entitles you to embark on a doctorate and (ii) have a maximum of four years of full-time research experience, including any period of research training. This is measured from the date when you obtained the degree which formally entitles you to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided. Selection is, thus, based on professional experience in research, not on age. Please note that ESRS should not be PhD holders.
  • Candidates may be of any nationality.
  • Because the Marie Curie schemes are designed to encourage researcher’s mobility to improve career perspectives, a mobility criterion applies for recruitment: by the time of recruitment, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country where they apply for more than twelve months in the last three years. Short stays, such as holidays, are not included.



  • We are looking for candidates which have affinity with the topic, are motivated to participate in SUSPLACE and who are interested in participatory research.
  • The candidate should have proven skills in communication (including writing and presenting) and computer skills, be fluent in English and understand the rules and procedures of Marie Curie Initial Training Networks.
  • Preferred qualifications for candidates include excellent grades, research talent (as proven by the master thesis, publications, participation in research projects) and personal ambition.
  • You are required to undertake transnational mobility when taking up a position in the SUSPLACE project. ESRS will follow training in different countries and spend secondments for three months at two academic or non-academic institutes.

We are looking for someone who can start at 1-4-2016.


Conditions of employment

The doctoral student will be employed with full social security coverage by the host institutions mentioned below and will have all benefits provided for in the Marie Sklodowska Curie ITN fellowships regulations, including a highly competitive remuneration, living allowances and mobility expenses. As an Early Stage Researcher the applicants will potentially register for a doctoral degree if they show sufficient progress after one year.


Contact info

Further information: see the SUSPLACE Information Pack and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Please send your detailed Curriculum Vitae, motivation letter, a list of MSc courses and grades, a copy of the university degree and a list of publications, if applicable, before 1 October 2015 to Dr. Elisabete Figueiredo –


Additional information about the content of the project and the SUSPLACE programme can be obtained from: Dr. Elisabete Figueiredo ( and Dr. Sandra Valente (, after August 31st.


Further information on 15 ERS positions within SUSPLACE please visit:



Acquisition regarding this vacancy is not appreciated.