Professor of Urban Resilience and Global Development

The Chair in Urban Resilience and Global Development will be expected to spearhead research, teaching and social valorization activities at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), primarily on the link between urbanization, local and global development.

The position forms part of the ISS-wide research programme, Global Development and Social Justice. The Chair will contribute to the ISS research programme and collaborate closely with the ISS-based Centre for Frugal Innovation in Africa, part of the strategic alliance between Leiden University, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam (LDE). The Chair is expected to play a major role on behalf of ISS in the Erasmus Initiative Vital Cities and Citizens (VCC), a collaboration with the faculties of social sciences (ESSB) and the humanities (ESHCC). In addition, the chair will also link to the LDE Center for Migration and Diversity and the LDE Centre for BOLD cities.

The post will suit an academic with a strong track record in research and teaching in the broad field of development studies with a particular focus on the role and potential of urban resilience as a discourse and set of practices in tackling development challenges brought forth by global urbanization. Potential applicants should be able to address both the worldwide implications of urbanization and have in-depth knowledge of urban resilience, especially in relation to the cross-cutting research themes adopted by the ISS. 

Description of academic area

Cities in both the so-called Global South and North face multiple and ever-growing crises and stresses such as poverty, inequality, competition over living space and services, exclusion, violence, environmental degradation and disasters.

An examination of local responses to urban precarity and marginality reveals diverse ways of people making-do in terms of financial resources, security, health and/or climate change. This makes visible dynamic urban practices of individuals, groups and institutions with particular orientations to labour and livelihood, security, and/or disaster management that do not offer a mere alternative to top-down approaches, but instead become part of a wider commitment to exploring diverse urban responses ‘in their own right’. This becomes especially important when seeking to rethink the urban worldwide from a Southern vantage point and explore:

  1. existing and unfolding urban practices to 'make-do' in uncertain terrains from the perspectives of people who live through marginality, risk and violence
  2. whether and how such strategies 'from below' interact with top-down arrangements geared towards coping with, adapting to and/or transforming urban cities

Urban governance is thus perceived as a process which emerges through - and is constituted by - interactions between ideas, actors and practices at different scales and sites.

To elaborate, urban governance constitutes multiple actors (groups) at various administrative levels – not only the government with its politicians and bureaucrats, but also civil society and the private market – that interact and act to solve societal problems. Governance implies the sharing and interdependence of resources which make coordination and collaboration between actors with different organizational backgrounds and variety in perceptions and interests necessary - but also exceedingly complex. One risk is the depoliticization of the governance discourse where it may refer more to technical fixes or (formal) administrative dynamics, whereas the notion of power is - or should be - central in theories on urban resilience and development and ultimately addresses issues of exclusion, urban livelihoods and urban land grabbing.

Building on these ideas and without being prescriptive, the ISS expects the successful applicant to develop and generate research projects, including attention to knowledge uptake and policy recommendations, around thematic areas such as:

  • Research on urban resilience that looks at the interactions between the formal/top-down and informal/bottom-up governance activities at various jurisdictional, organizational and geographical scales and whether and how these engender configurations of resilience to violence, destitution and disaster.
  • Theoretical development of the concept of urban resilience, integrating various research disciplines (such as, social sciences, policy studies, political science, ecology, disaster studies, international studies).
  • Urban development, governance and politics to explore multiple crises affecting cities such as poverty, violence, dismal services, or disasters, from the perspectives of people and communities affected by these crises.
  • Connecting local, multi-actor and multi-scalar practices and relationships of urban resilience to government and corporate actors to encourage multi-stakeholder collaborations in local arenas. This would in turn yield insights for global urban development that build from - rather than operate against - local connections, knowledges and practices.
  • Focus on solidarity (and resistance) initiatives that respond to the haphazard and unplanned ways many cities develop, thus bringing into view innovative opportunities and policy options for urban inclusivity, disaster response and social justice.

More details can be found in this Structure Report.

Expected tasks


In its recent research evaluation, ISS received high ratings on academic excellence, societal relevance and viability of its research. The Institute wants to maintain or exceed this level of performance and the candidate will be expected to contribute to this aim. The candidate will be expected to:

  • conduct and develop excellent research within the ISS research programme
  • collaborate with researchers in ISS, EUR and outside
  • publish
  • acquire external funding
  • contribute to societal relevance of research
  • co-supervise PhD researchers
  • engage in management and other duties in the research programme


The candidate will be expected to:

  • contribute to teaching and teaching innovation (including where desirable by (co-)developing new courses within ISS, EUR and the LDE network
  • take up MA thesis supervisions
  • engage in coordination and management of teaching activities


The candidate is expected to be able to embed and link research and teaching activities to societal developments, in the global South and/or in the global North. Valorisation, contributions to public debate and capacity building projects are also part of the engagement tasks to which the candidate will be expected to contribute.

Required skills and expertise

We are looking for candidates who meet the following requirements:

  • A PhD in a relevant field, such as development studies, sociology, anthropology, public policy and management, political science, urban geography, or urban planning;
  • Recognized authority in the field;
  • Proven capability and sensitivity required for inter-disciplinary work;
  • Ability to embed the field in the overall ISS research programme and themes;
  • Open to working with both qualitative and quantitative methods;
  • Excellent and proven academic research skills, including a strong publication record;
  • Demonstrated ability in developing and leading research programs;
  • Demonstrated capacity to acquire and manage research funding;
  • Proven ability to supervise PhD and MA students;
  • Demonstrated capacity and skills in developing, leading and delivering courses in the area of urban resilience and global development at the post-graduate level (for PhD/MA students);
  • Possession of UTQ certificate (University Teaching Qualification) = formal higher education teaching qualification, referred to in Dutch as BKO (Basis Kwalificatie Onderwijs)) or willingness to obtain this qualification soon after joining ISS;
  • A coaching and facilitating leadership style;
  • Ability to engage with relevant non-academic actors by demonstrating the societal relevance of academic research through contributions to public debate, interacting with media or taking up advisory work;
  • Demonstrated experience and commitment to teaching, research and service in a multicultural environment.

Required competences

(see overview of VSNU competences)

  1. Persuasiveness, ability to inspire and lead research/teaching teams
  2. Clear vision regarding technology and global development
  3. Managing for results
  4. Working in teams, in collaboration/cooperation


The International Institute of Social Studies is committed to building and sustaining a community based on inclusiveness, equity and diversity and the ISS community believes this will contribute to the ISS mission and vision of being the best institute in its field. ISS is an equal opportunities employer and we encourage applications from candidates of all genders, ethnicities and nationalities. Given the current composition of the ISS and priorities relating to staff diversity, the Institute has a preference for applicants originating from the Global South.

Conditions of employment

Special procedures apply to the appointment of professors. The selected candidate will be proposed to the Rector/Dean ISS, who in turn will propose the candidate to the College of Promoties consisting of all deans of Erasmus University Rotterdam plus the Rector Magnificus. After approval, the Executive Board of Erasmus University appoints the candidate.

The selected candidate will be offered an initial 5-year contract at the level of Professor, with the possibility of extension and a permanent contract, conditional on performance. The candidate will be expected to take up the position as soon as possible.

In accordance with the conditions applied at Erasmus University Rotterdam as indicated in the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO NU) of the Dutch universities, the salary is dependent on the candidate’s experience corresponds to scale H2, which is between € 5,843 and € 8,508 gross per month, on a fulltime basis.
In addition, EUR pays an 8% holiday allowance and an end-of-year payment of 8.3% and offers excellent secondary benefits including 41 annual leave days, on a fulltime basis. Furthermore, EUR is affiliated with ABP for the pension provision and we offer partially paid parental leave, fully paid extended birth leave for partners, a personal education budget, work-life balance coaches and more. Employees can also use EUR facilities, such as the Erasmus sports center and the University library.

More information and application

Additional information on the specific vacancy may be received by contacting Professor Jurian Edelenbos (

How to apply

To apply, please submit:

  • a motivation letter which includes a description of your vision of the field and the areas you would like to focus on in your research and teaching in the next five years (max four pages)
  • a detailed CV which provides information on your publications, grants, teaching activities and teaching evaluations, valorisation activities, details on Ph.D supervision and contact details of three referees. This document lists specific details to be included in the CV.

Please submit your documents in one pdf file to

Submission deadline = 15 March 2022

The International Institute of Social Studies

The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) is a leading academic centre for international development studies. While based in The Hague, the ISS is part of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
ISS was established in 1952 as a post-graduate institute of policy-oriented critical social science and development-oriented research. ISS offers a PhD in Development Studies, a 15,5 month MA in Development Studies, a joint MA in Public Policy (Mundus MAPP), a MPA in Governance delivered in Suriname, and post-graduate Diploma courses.
While currently most of our courses are taught predominantly in person again (after a period of fully online and hybrid teaching due to COVID-19), ISS has embarked on a process of exploring the further potential of developing online courses.

ISS brings together a highly diverse international community of scholars and students from both the global South and the global North, on average originating from over 50 different countries. The Institute brings together people, ideas and insights in a multi-disciplinary setting which nurtures, fosters and promotes critical thinking and innovative research on fundamental social problems. Our strong partnerships with organizations and individuals in developing countries make up a vibrant network where we co-create knowledge so that teaching and research remain societally relevant. Key to the ISS philosophy and practices is the wish to contribute to achieving social justice and equity on a global level.

The ISS Strategic Plan aims to further develop ISS further into a research-intensive university institute in The Hague, focussing on academic excellence and high societal relevance of its research and teaching. ISS considers engagement that links research and teaching to society and societal challenges, to be an important task of the university.

All ISS staff members participate in the Institute’s research programme ‘Global Development and Social Justice’. As part of its Research Strategy, the Institute currently pursues four multidisciplinary, cross-cutting research themes: environment and climate change; conflict and peace; social protection and inequality; and migration and diversity.

Tuesday 15 Mar 2022, 23:59

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