Postdoc position in the Energy Transition Dynamics group at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam

The Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies e.V. (IASS) is an international, interdisciplinary center of excellence located in Potsdam, Germany. The IASS is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Federal State of Brandenburg and devoted to promoting science and research for global sustainability, particularly in the areas of climate change, the earth system and the development of new technologies and social pathways to sustainability. Further information about the IASS can be accessed under The IASS is looking for a PostDoc (100%) (f/m/d) with a social scientific background for the project TIPPING+ (Enabling positive tipping points towards clean-energy transitions in coal and carbon intensive regions) Reference Number: TIPPINGPLUS-2020-01The successful applicant will contribute to the EU-funded (Horizon 2020) TIPPING+ project,working closely with the project leader Prof. Johan Lilliestam in the Energy Transition Dynamics (ETD) group.

The ETD group investigates policies and strategies for the complete decarbonisation of the electricity system using only or almost only renewables. More information about the group can be found here: At the core of TIPPING+ stand carbon-intensive regions: areas that are currently strongly dependent on single carbon-intensive activity, such as coal mining or carbon-intense manufacturing, and thus face a potentially far-reaching transformation as Europe seeks to decarbonise energy and industry to fulfil its commitment under the Paris Agreement. In this, TIPPING+ will further our theoretical and empirical understanding of social tipping points in carbon-intensive regions: what causes a carbon-intensive region to fall into decline or to bounce back onto a new positive social and economic trajectory? What can policy do to mitigate negative social and economic effects? To this end, we will investigate social and economic patterns and trends in regions relying strongly on activities that are threatened by stringent climate policy and identify interventions that can help these regions to transform as these industries change or disappear.

The IASS work in TIPPING+ will focus on the policy and governance aspects, in particular the possible policy interventions to avoid social and economic decline in currently carbon-intensive regions also in a climate-friendly future. Our work will entail both theoretical/conceptual work and case study analysis. In particular, our work will have a strong component of empirical analysis of past regional transitions – which interventions had which effect in which social and economic context? – in order to understand what can be done in ongoing and future transitions. Parts of our empirical work will be carried out in Germany, for which fluency in German is necessary.


  • Leading the IASS work within the TIPPING+ project together with the Energy Transition Dynamics group leader, and carrying out the tasks and deliverables for which IASS is responsible, in direct collaboration with the work package partners and the ETD team.
  • Specifically, your work will entail
  1. Analysis of the current research frontier regarding social tipping points and, especially, tipping interventions, as the basis for expanding knowledge in this field;
  2. Definition of policy analysis indicators, to be used in the case studies of TIPPING+;
  3. Case study work to empirically inform the indicators and contribute to the deepened understanding of social tipping points. n salary tariff TVÖD E13.
  • Collaboration with project partners at the national, European, and international level.
  • Collaboration with the ETD team, especially to further our ongoing work regarding tipping points in the energy transition.
  • Contribute to the group’s work, including support of PhD students, attract additional externally funded projects.
  • Writing and/or contributing to publications in different formats (mainly peer-reviewed publications and, to the extent required by the project plan, project reports).
  • Societal outreach work and scientific advice (mainly to policy and civil society).


•Finished PhD degree in an energy-related social scientific field (e.g. political science, public policy) or economics, or similar.


  • Documented scientific excellence, documented especially through the publication record;
  • Knowledge of the European energy and climate policy;
  • Fluent written and spoken German;
  • Excellent spoken and written communication skills in English;
  • Ability to work independently and in an interdisciplinary team together with both natural and social scientists.

We offer an interesting and diverse job in an interdisciplinary team and the opportunity to do high-level research on current pressing energy and climate political issues. Working with us will further give you access to a large network of national and international research institutions and civil society organisations in the European energy/climate field, as well an attractive, international working environment with a good working atmosphere. The position will be remunerated in accordance with the German salary group 13 TVöD (Bund).

The position is a full-time position (100%) from April 2020. The position is foreseen for at least 24 months (i.e. until March 2022) and may be extended, if there is sufficient funding. The place of work is Potsdam, Germany.

The IASS seeks to achieve gender equality and diversity. We encourage applicants of diverse backgrounds. Applications of disabled persons with equal qualifications will be regarded favourably.

If you are interested in this position, we look forward to receiving your application, including a letter of motivation, CV and a writing sample (in English). Please submit your complete application, combined in a single PDF file no larger than 5 MB to Darina Karaivanova-Saase ( citing the Ref. No. given above in the subject line.

Evaluations of applications will begin on 17 February 2020 but applications will be received until the position is filled. Please specify in your application how you became aware of the offered position at the IASS.For questions regarding the IASS and the application process, please contact Darina Karaivanova-Saase (+49 331 28822 320). For further information and details on this position please contact Johan Lilliestam (Tel.: +49 331 28822-393).

If personal interviews are scheduled, travel costs cannot be reimbursed.

Cite this blog post
Nathalie Ortar (2020, February 3). Postdoc position in the Energy Transition Dynamics group at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam. Energy Anthropology Network. Retrieved June 17, 2024, from

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