Gepubliceerd op 18-10-2022

PhD position Netherlands’ Global Entangled History of Ores and Metals (4 years, 1.0 FTE)


Job description

The section Social and Economic History and the section History of International Relations of the Department of History and Art History of Utrecht University and the Utrecht Center for Global Challenges are looking for highly motivated PhD candidates with a background in socio-economic history and a particular interest in long term sustainability processes and well being effects of Dutch production and trade. The PhD will work on commodification processes of ores and metals in conjunction with the development of global supply chains and their effects on sustainability trade-offs.
The project incorporates the question of how can we explain the developments of the Netherlands’ immense effects in global sustainability trade-offs? The huge Dutch imports of raw materials and goods have been causing profound impacts in economic, social, and ecological developments elsewhere on the planet. These trade-offs have historical origins. In this PhD project you will study how from the nineteenth century onwards, scientific knowledge, colonial developments and industrial modernization contributed to the development of transnational production chains of ores and metals.

At Utrecht University your project connects to ongoing research on Deep Transitions in the Netherlands and the activities of Utrecht Center for Global Challenges. You can benefit from the expertise and networks of researchers at the sections History of International Relations and Social and Economic History. You will participate in workshops and seminars.  Your research is embedded in a larger research programme Sustainability Trade-offs in the Netherlands’ Entangled Modernisation (STONEM), 1900-2020 at Utrecht University and Eindhoven University of Technology (TUe), in connection with Wageningen University and Research, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and other societal partners. You will be part of a research team consisting of a fellow PhD and a Postdoc researcher at TUe with whom you will jointly work.

The STONEM research programme will investigate the historical developments of Dutch trade-flows with a mixed method approach combining quantitative data in trend analysis and sustainability monitors with qualitative historical and ethnographic analyses. Together with our societal partners, results of your research will become visible in (inter)national policy realms on international trade and sustainable developments. More about the research approaches, concepts and context of the programme can be found on the STONEM webpage.


We expect candidates to have:

  • completed a degree in a Humanities or Social Sciences Masters’ program;
  • a solid training and experience in historical research and qualitative methods;
  • affinity with the study of sustainability;
  • eagerness to work in an interdisciplinary research team;
  • eagerness to publish international articles and write a dissertation;
  • good social and communication skills;
  • excellent English and academic writing skills;
  • excellent Dutch language skills.

Candidates from abroad must fulfill the conditions set by the IND to work in the Netherlands.

Conditions of employment

We offer a temporary position for a period of 18 months (1.0 FTE). Upon a good performance and positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for the remaining period of 30 months (4 years in total). Employment will become effective on 1 February 2023 or, by mutual agreement, shortly thereafter.
The gross salary ranges between €2,541 in the first year and €3,247 in the fourth year (scale P 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 an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model).

For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.


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.

The Faculty of Humanities has around 6,000 students and 1,100 staff members. It comprises four knowledge domains: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Culture Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. With its research and education in these fields, the Faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural context. The enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent amenities in the historical city center of Utrecht, where the Faculty is housed, contribute to an inspiring working environment.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact: dr. Bram Bouwensb.bouwens@uu.nl.
Note that international candidates needing a visa/work permit for the Netherlands require at least four months processing time after selection and acceptance. This will be arranged with help of the International Service Desk (ISD) of our university. Finding appropriate housing in or near Utrecht is your own responsibility, but the ISD may be able to advise you therewith. For general questions that you might have about working and living in The Netherlands, please consult the Dutch Mobility Portal where much information can be found.



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