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Witten/Herdecke University, which was founded in 1982, is Germany's first privately funded university. At present, it has a staff of more than 800 employees serving over 2,600 students. The university is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and, accordingly, to tackling the complex challenges of meeting these goals. We aim to contribute through our teaching and research to overcoming the climate crisis and to shaping a sustainable, liveable, just, and viable society. In line with this objective, we strive to make our administration and life on our campus as climate-friendly and socially responsible as possible.

Within the context of the newly starting BMBF project “Climate change and global finance at the crossroads: Policy challenges, politico-economic dynamics, and sustainable transformation” at the Heisenberg Professorship of Politics, Transformation and Sustainability (Prof Dr Joscha Wullweber) in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Economics, we are recruiting for the earliest entry date possible

three research associates (65% to 100% PhD or postdoc positions) (f/d/m) in the field of climate change and global finance.

The appointment is limited to three years. Other part-time models are also possible. Follow-up financing is planned at an early stage.

Project aim

Large-scale investment flows are required to decarbonize the economy, society and the state in order for genuine progress to be made in tackling the effects of climate change. Financial players, however, are highly reluctant to change their investment strategies, and so far financial policies have not been very effective in redirecting investments into more sustainable assets and sectors. The BMBF project aims to evaluate internal financial market dynamics and the responsiveness of financial actors related to regulations, climate/fiscal policy, and monetary policy. The project explores how to steer the financial sector toward more sustainable investments, while avoiding major financial crises as a result of regulations (e.g. large-scale stranded assets, “success as failure”) which might seriously hinder or even prevent progress toward sustainable pathways. The goal is to draft realistic proposals for policy instruments and strategies designed to incentivize and push the financial sector towards sustainable investments.

Governing the conduct of financial players accordingly implies influencing the very logic behind their profit-seeking and investment strategies. Central banks and finance ministries can play a pivotal role in this regard. This also means considering alternative means by which state power is or can be exercised and finding different approaches to shape the economy and financial markets. Data (interviews, documents) will be analysed with the computer-aided qualitative and mixed methods data analysis software program MAXQDA. Analysis will be structured and guided by a solid theoretical framework consisting, above others, of theories of International Political Economy, state theories, conflict theories, and reflexive theories of financial performativity.

Your responsibilities

  • Data collection (documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews with relevant financial experts in different countries)
  • Data analysis (supported by MAXQDA)
  • Development of analytical frameworks
  • Project administration
  • Organizing of stakeholder workshops and scientific conferences
  • Publication of research results in policy briefs, research reports, and peer-review journals
  • Presentation of research results at conferences, workshops and the project related policy innovation lab
  • Collaboration with our project partner Institute for Ecological Economic Research (IÖW) in Berlin
  • Transfer of research findings to the public

Your profile

  • Completed very good master's degree in political science, social sciences, International Political Economy, economics, or geography
  • In-depth knowledge of global finance and international political economy
  • Very good command of English
  • Good knowledge of German is an advantage
  • Ability and motivation to conduct independent, theoretically guided empirical research
  • Strong interest in global transformation processes in the field of socio-ecological transformation and global finance
  • Enjoying working in a team
  • Experience in and willingness to engage in interdisciplinary cooperation
  • Experience in research and political activism in the field of global finance or sustainable transformation is desirable

What we offer

  • The opportunity to conduct research in an international context and, on the basis of progressive theoretical and methodological approaches to international political economy, to make an important contribution toward a more profound understanding of the processes and struggles of sustainable and just transformation and global finance
  • A stimulating working environment for political-economic research at the international level
  • Comprehensive support for your PhD or postdoc project
  • A family-friendly working environment (flexible working hours, with the possibility of also working partly from home).
  • 30 days of paid annual leave and extended holiday weekends (from the 24th to 31st of December plus three additional days that fall between a public holiday and the weekend)
  • Child care subsidy of up to 200 euros per month (depending on salary level and age of child)
  • Occupational pension scheme and disability insurance
  • Comprehensive advanced training programme
  • Promotion of environmentally-friendly transportation options (bicycle leasing, electric car rental, etc.)
  • Local public transport season ticket at a reduced price
  • A wide selection of (also vegan) food choices in our cafeteria at reduced employee prices
  • A variety of sports and leisure activities for staff members
  • Excellent infrastructure and modern technical equipment

Contact/ Application

Interested applicants are invited to submit detailed applications online via the application portal of Witten/Herdecke University.

Applications must include:

  • A statement of motivation
  • Curriculum vitae
  • A two- to three-page synopsis outlining the methodology and theoretical framework with which you would approach the research project described above
  • If you writing a PhD: additionally, add a one-page synopsis of your dissertation project
  • Writing sample (one to two thematically appropriate published articles, or Master’s thesis)
  • Documentation of qualifications and competencies, certificates

The deadline for applications is 5 August 2022. Interviews will be held shortly after the application deadline (probably on 9 and 10 August).

For any questions regarding the content of the call for applications, please contact Professor Joscha Wullweber (

Diversity concept

Witten/Herdecke University explicitly fosters a culture of diversity and inclusion ( We are committed to create a diverse environment across campus, and value the competence and special skills our members contribute, e.g. due to their age or physical abilities. We proactively strive to increase the share of women in our scientific and academic staff.


Die Universität Witten/Herdecke lebt den Vielfaltsgedanken ausdrücklich ( Sie verfolgt das Ziel, die Vielfalt ihrer Mitglieder zu fördern und berücksichtigt die Kompetenzen und Besonderheiten, die diese z.B. aufgrund ihres Alters oder ihrer körperlichen Konstitution mitbringen. Eine Erhöhung des Frauenanteils am wissenschaftlichen Personal wird proaktiv angestrebt.