4 PhD Positions - Science, Technology and Innovation in a post-growth era (PROSPERA), University of Vigo, Portugal

Publish Date: Mar 20, 2021

Deadline: Mar 31, 2021

Calls for 4 PhD positions

Prospering without growth

Science, Technology and Innovation in a post-growth era (PROSPERA)

The project

The University of Vigo offers 4 PhD student positions for conducting a PhD within the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant) project “PROSPERA”, led by Dr. Mario Pansera. The successful candidate will join the Post-growth InnovationLab at the University of Vigo.

PROSPERA questions the feasibility and desirability of endless economic growth. While envisioning alternative economic models is key to assure the sustainability and wellbeing of present and future generations, few studies have analysed what might be the role of ‘innovation’ in a post- growth era. Innovating has become the imperative for the survival and expansion of any form of organisation. But this ‘innovate or die mania’ underpins assumptions – such as technological determinism and productivism - that neglect the socially constructed character of technological development, its politics and its capacity to enable just and equitable societies but also dystopian technocratic futures. PROSPERA posits that untangling innovation from growth is key to imagining a post-growth era. If growth is going to be unsustainable, we need new narratives for innovation that would accordingly also have to change and increase the scope of the innovation concept itself, beyond technology, into cultural and institutional change, and indeed social life and social order. Organizations – in particular capitalist enterprises - are the core of modern industrial societies but are also one of the places in which the discourse of growth is legitimised and constantly reproduced. However, they can also be the places in which people can start to build the capacity for developing alternatives to challenges the growth ideology. But how organizations would look like in a different paradigm, in a system that is not based on and doesn’t not rely on endless growth? Under which conditions STI without growth would be able to flourish? What levels of technological complexity can we reach in a non-growing economy? What policies, infrastructures and organizational forms are needed or are more likely to facilitate this new paradigm of STI? These are questions, rarely asked by innovation, management and organization scholars, that PROSPERA will aim to address. 

The project will offer 4 PhD (3 years + 1)

PhD positions 

  • 2 PhD projects focused on Post-Growth Organizations (Code: PHD1&2-Micro postgrowth). These PhD projects will look at the conditions under which post-growth organization are likely to emerge and survive. The candidate would ideally have strong background in organizational studies and institutional theory but also in Political Ecology, Ecological Economics, Science, technology and Innovation (STS) Studies. The capacity of engaging with qualitative research is an essential requirement.
  • 1 PhD project focused on value-chain analysis and management of Post-Growth organizations (Code: PHD3-Network postgrowth). This project will focus on the emergence and survival of network of post-growth organizations (including self-managed factories, coops etc.). The requirements for the position will be a background in value-chain theory combined with institutional theory and ecological economics. Backgrounds in Political Ecology and STS studies will be also considered. 
  • 1 PhD project focused on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy (Code: PHD4 - STI postgrowth). The project will focus on the ideology of endless economic growth as promoted and reproduced by scientific institutions. The ideal candidate would be familiar with theory of innovation, institutionalism, STS and policy analysis.

The PhD students will be enrolled in the inter-university Doctoral Program in Economic Analysis and Business Strategy of ECOBAS. The doctoral programme gathers researchers of different areas of the Economic and Business fields coming from the Faculty of Economics and Business Science of the University of A Coruña, Santiago de Compostela and Vigo.


  • Bachelor and Master degree (minimum 300 ETCS credits) in Engineering, Economics, Organizational studies and Management, Policy Studies, Sociology, Environmental Sciences. We also encourage application from other disciplines as long as the interests and the background of the candidates are aligned with the research goals of the project.
  • Fluent in both spoken and written English

Additional Requirements:

  • Have already published scientific papers;
  • Previous engagement in degrowth / post-growth movements and activism is welcome;
  • Experience in qualitative research is an asset;
  • Great communication skills, highly motivated and able to work in an interdisciplinary team;
  • Willingness to learn, and capacity to generate ideas autonomously and led her/his/their own work;
  • Good verbal and written communication skills in English, to contribute to reports and peer-reviewed scientific publications, deliver presentations, and translate scientific concepts for diverse audiences;
  • Willingness to travel internationally;
  • Willingness to participate in outreach activities.

Salary and Benefits:

  • This is a 3-year contract, to fulfill a PhD, subject to an annual scientific external evaluation. The contract will be extended for a 4th year if needed.
  • Salary level and step commensurate with qualifications, in the range of 21.000 - 24.000€ gross per year.
  • Start date between June and September, 2021.
  • The project covers PhD enrolment and other fees related to the PhD program and research activities.
  • The will project cover research stays, fieldwork, international conferences, etc.
  • The fellow will have access to a wide range of academic activities (research seminars and workshops), as well as ad hoc training in specific scientific skills and career development courses. 

The PhD applications will be sent via email to mario.pansera@uvigo.es indicating in the subject the code of one the PhD projects outlined above. The deadline for applications is March 31 (12pm local time). The application must include:

  • A cover letter detailing a brief account of the applicant's research interests and motivation for applying for the position (1-2 pages).
  • CV
  • A research proposal (2-4 pages) based on one the PhD projects outlined above. The proposal should briefly introduce the research question(s) motivating the PhD research project, the main theoretical approach, the research design and the empirical strategy adopted in the project. The research proposal should also include a reference list of relevant academic sources. Admittance to the PhD-programme will be based on the research proposal.
  • Academic publications that you want to submit for assessment (including the Master’s thesis).
  • The names and contact information for two references. Relevant certificates/letters of recommendation.
  • Transcripts and diplomas attesting the completion of the bachelor’s and master’s degree.

For more info about the positions, please contact Dr Mario Pansera at mario.pansera@uvigo.es

All candidates will have feedback with a message as proof of delivery. All candidates complying with the Required Qualifications will be evaluated based on the Preferred Qualifications by the Evaluation Commission formed by research and administrative staff of the University of Vigo. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an individual online interview in English. The final decision criteria will be based on merits (70%) and the interview (30%). 

The University of Vigo hires on basis of merit and is strongly committed to equity and diversity within its community. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply, they will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Note that if the successful applicant is neither a European citizen nor a permanent resident of Europe, he or she must be issued a work permit prior to commencing the position.

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