Postdoc in Human Geography with a focus on political urbanism and sustainable spatial development


University of Bern


Monday, December 9, 2019

Start Date

Monday, December 16, 2019

Our research team at the Institute of Geography of the University of Bern appraises spatial development processes from a political perspective, with a special – but not exclusive – focus on urban land. We analyze institutions, actors' strategies and power games shaping land and land-related resources, in both the Global North and South. We use concepts drawn from public policy analysis, new institutionalism, political ecology, sustainability studies, social and environmental justice, and transformative research.

We are looking for candidates who are interested in critical theoretical as well as empirical engagement with land policy, land-use planning, housing studies, resource governance, and sustainable spatial development in a context of urban and societal transformation.

Job description

  • You will develop your own research and publish in English in peer-reviewed scientific journals;
  • Participate in the project GoverDENSE (Governing densification – The impact of performance-based planning on qualitative urban densification) funded by the Swiss NSF and closely collaborate with the project's three PhD students;
  • Participate in writing new grant applications;
  • Contribute to outreach activities and connect with professionals of the field;
  • Get involved in light teaching duties, including for example the supervision of Master and Bachelor theses or the organization of field excursions; and
  • Contribute to academic self-management at the Institute of Geography.


We invite applications from candidates with the following credentials:

  • A completed PhD in social science (e.g. human geography, spatial planning, urban studies, political science, political ecology);
  • A demonstrated strong interest in urban development issues, land-use planning and sustainability, and skills and commitment to work in an interdisciplinary field;
  • Strong interest in scientific publication activities and further academic qualification (e.g. "habilitation"), supported by proven evidence of publication capacity;
  • Experience in diverse research methodologies.
  • Fluency in English and German both spoken and written is a key requirement.
  • Teaching experience is desirable.

Conditions of employment

We offer an exciting interdisciplinary project in an international research team. The appointment will initially be for one year and subject to renewal upon satisfactory evaluation of research progress. Gross salary is in the range of 72K CHF per year (80%) and follows the Swiss NSF scale. The successful candidate will use at least half of a 100%-workload to pursue his/her own academic qualifications.

The start date is as soon as possible.

The University of Bern as an equal opportunity employer promotes gender equality and diversity. Therefore, we encourage women and international candidates to apply. Equally, qualified candidates with disabilities or applicants with equivalent status receive preference in the application process.


Please submit the following documents as one single pdf file to

  • a letter of motivation;
  • a curriculum vitae (including copy of university transcripts) and names and contact details of two academic referees;
  • a short one-page research statement for the next four years;
  • Details of publications and one sample writing (e.g. scientific article or book chapter).

For full consideration, please submit your materials by Monday, December 9, 2019. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis after that deadline until the position is filled.

If you have further questions about the position, you are very welcome to contact Jean David Gerber:

Contact Name

Jean David Gerber

Contact Email