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Postdoctoral fellow in Economic History - Circular Value & Supply Chains, Department of Economic History, Lund University

06-09-2023 11:39

Agenda 2030

The 2030 Agenda is the framework for sustainable development that the world’s nations have signed to end extreme poverty, reduce inequalities, solve the climate crisis, promote peace and equity and much more. To achieve the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, research has several important roles: to identify challenges and conflicting objectives, contribute to new solutions, generate dialogue and learning between different societal stakeholders and critically analyse the goals.

Lund University aspires to be a part of the solution and has therefore initiated a research programme on sustainable development with postdoc fellowships in interdisciplinary projects. The projects will not only constitute platforms for the postdocs’ career development, but also form a basis for national and European applications, and for future environments for excellence and profiling. The programme is also to develop the postdocs’ expertise in teaching and learning in higher education. For more information about the programme, please visit Excellence Programme for Sustainable Development | Sustainability Forum (

Project Description

Global Value Chains (GVCs) are fundamental in today’s economy accounting for 50% of global trade and having tremendous social and environmental impacts. This project, thus, addresses a critical but hitherto neglected requirement for the Agenda2030, namely the shift from GVCs to Circular Supply Chains (CSCs), the latter being by design restorative and regenerative. We investigate tensions inherent in such a shift relating to i) linear versus circular business logics, ii) processes led top-down by dominant firms versus bottom-up local and inclusive processes, and iii) multi-level policy mixes shifting from deregulations and low taxes supporting GVCs to regulation and governance mechanisms that take environmental and social impacts into consideration. Hence, the overall aim of the project is to generate knowledge fot the transition from global to circular value chains in the multi-level context of local, regional, national, and global systems.

This is important because transformative initiatives are often designed and studied with limited attention to the multi-level interactions between various actors within local, regional, national, and global systems, as well as the potential local and global repercussions. Furthermore, GVCs and large firms may accelerate the shift from GVCs to CSCs with the pitfalls, however, of solutionism and democratic shortcomings. We draw upon our networks in industry and with policymakers at regional, national and EU levels. Involving key stakeholders, we create strong impact and further strengthen Lund University’s role as knowledge curator.

For this position we are looking for one post-doc who will work in an interdisciplinary team with two other post-docs as well as Associate Professor Markus Grillitsch (Department of Human Geography, Social Science Faculty), Professor Fredrik Nilsson (Department of Design Sciences, Faculty of Engineering), and Professor Sylvia Schwaag Serger (Department of Economic History, School of Economic and Management). This post-doc position is placed at the Department of Economic History where you will work under the supervision of Professor Sylvia Schwaag Serger. You and the other post-docs will bring in complementary disciplinary competences related to global value chains, circular supply chains, global production networks, regional and industrial dynamics, multi-level governance, and policy.

Work duties

The main duties involved in a post-doctoral posistion is to conduct research. Teaching and administrative duties are included up to no more than 20% of working hours. The position shall include the opportunity for three weeks of training in higher education teaching and learning.

Detailed description of the work duties include:

Collaborative research within the subject area. Co-creation of theoretical and analytical frameworks. Co-creation of research methodology. Conducting empirical research. Drafting and publish research papers in collaboration. Supervision of degree projects and doctoral students. Actively seeking external research funding. Collaboration with industry and wider society. Teaching in the first, second and third cycles of studies. Administration related to the work duties listed above.

Qualification requirements

To be qualified for employment as a postdoctoral fellow, an individual must hold a PhD in Economic History or related discipline (e.g. Economics, Political Science, Economic Geography, History), awarded no more than three years ago (unless the applicant has been on parental leave or leave due to illness). Under special circumstances, the doctoral degree can have been completed earlier.

Additional requirements

Very good oral and written proficiency in English. Good publication records in the area of economic history or another relevant field.

Assessment criteria and other qualifications

This is a career development position primarily focused on research. The position is intended as an initial step in a career, and the assessment of the applicants will primarily be based on their research qualifications and potential as researchers.

Particular emphasis will be placed on research skills within the subject.

For appointments to a post-doctoral position, the following shall form the assessment criteria:

A good ability to develop and conduct high quality research. Ability to work in research teams and conduct collaborative research.

Additional assessment criteria

Proven experience in collaborating with societal actors (firms, policy makers). Teaching skills.

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant’s experience and skills complement and strengthen ongoing research within the department, and how they stand to contribute to its future development.

Terms of employment

The position involves three year full-time employment. Avtal om tidsbegränsad anställning som postdoktor. 

Instructions on how to apply

Applications shall be written in English and be compiled into a PDF-file containing:

résumé/CV, including a list of publications, a general description of past research and future research interests, with an explicit reflection how this contributes to achieve the project’s aims (no more than three pages), copy of the doctoral degree certificate, and other certificates/grades that you wish to be considered.

Contact information to two or more references (will be required for candidates invited for interviews).


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