Project Manager of Economics
Utrecht University

Project Manager of Economics


Job description

We are searching for an excellent project manager in the newly defined multidisciplinary field of Urban-Rural Interactions in a Circular Economy (URC). You have knowledge of the transition process towards a more circular economy and society and affinity with multi- and transdisciplinary research. Acting as a driving force in further developing our URC theme, you will support our researchers in articulating innovative project ideas and help them in building up and strengthening a strong network within our EWUU alliance home institutes, and bridging this to relevant societal partners. On top of this, you are determined in tracking and stimulating actual progress in terms of deliverables and impact of our URC theme, hereby contributing to the visibility and appreciation of the work of all staff and partners involved. Inherent part of your work is the continuous spotting of opportunities for external research funding or business contracts, bringing this to life in actual development of consortia and research proposals wherein EWUU researchers participate.

The transition to a circular economy and society is a priority but unruly policy goal. The EWUU alliance has chosen Circular Society as one of its main programmes for collaboration. Within this programme, a thematic focus on the interface between cities and their surrounding rural areas is made. This interface is essential for a successful and rapid transition to a circular society. Within the URC theme, we touch on issues such as regional circular water management, the agrotransition but also the development of tools and methods for digital twinning and serious gaming, as to help policymakers and stakeholders in planning and decision making. The ambition of the alliance is to become a booster of developments in this area and contribute concretely to the acceleration of the transition. A number of collaborative projects have already been launched; joint programmes are also being worked on within education. The project manager will be the overarching liaison for cooperation within and with she/he/they will help shape research and education projects in which the alliance partners can be complementary.
The Circular Society programme is led by a working group in which the four alliance partners are each represented. The project manager will report to this working group. Daily management will be done by the programme director Circular Society.  

The project manager will make an essential contribution to the fulfillment and implementation of the alliance's ambitions in the area of Urban-Rural Interactions in a Circular Economy (URC). This involves the following activities:
  • Drawing up (parts of) URC research lines, addressing regional circular water management, the agrotransition and digital twinning/serious gaming;
  • Further identifying and connecting researchers of all four EWUU institutions who might contribute to these research lines;
  • Initiating and managing joint platform activities, such as workshops, sandpit sessions, symposia and conferences;
  • Initiating and managing internal seed funding calls that EWUU provides as to spark new cross disciplinary cooperations and community building within our home institutes;
  • Exploring new research ideas and supporting researchers in clearly articulating research questions, approaches, solutions and impact in project proposals or business contracts;
  • Identifying promising funding opportunities and specific calls for proposals - both national and international. The project manager scouts for possibilities in relevant (NL and EU) networks (Public Private Partnerships, Associations and thematic working groups) related to the transition to a circular economy and more specific to the URC theme;
  • Consortium formation connecting EWUU researchers as well as public and private partners outside EWUU to respond to such calls;
  • Managing the proposal development process of (typically) complex multi- or transdisciplinary projects, in good cooperation with researchers involved, aligning this with relevant decentralized departmental support staff within our home institutes;
  • Contributing to the building of longer-lasting communities and partnerships that will form a basis for applying to specific calls for proposals; 
  • Bringing the activities and outcomes of URC to the attention of the academic community and societal parties.
The alliance is still developing and therefore the content of the function has also not yet been defined in detail. This provides great opportunities to bring in and realize your own ideas, in consultation with the committee and in alignment with the EWUU researchers involved. You will work closely with the project manager of our second thematic focus, " Circular Society programme", the Circular Society programme director, and other members of our working group. You are part of the larger EWUU organization where we are constantly looking for opportunities to realize relevant cooperations and make efficient use of our resources.

We are looking for excellent candidates that would ideally meet the following requirements:
  • A MSc or PhD degree level in a relevant field (e.g. sustainable transition processes, circular economy);
  • A deep understanding of thematic programmes and relevant rules and regulations of both the national and European funding landscape and the ability to match the opportunities to the expertise and research interests of researchers of the EWUU partners;
  • A proven track record in defining and attracting innovative research projects and funding in national or international consortia;
  • Over 2 years of comparable work experience, working for industry, a research institute or an academic or applied science university;
  • Excellent networking skills with a demonstrable external network in sustainability transitions, preferably the transition to a more circular economy and society, and ability to maintain and pro-actively develop this further;
  • Ability to build longer-term partnerships between academics and (inter)national external networks as a basis for well balanced consortia for successful research proposals;
  • Affinity with the CE transition and its challenges;
  • Excellent communication skills (both written and oral);
  • Strong analytical, organizational and negotiation skills
  • Fluent proficiency in both Dutch and English;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, team player;
  • Well-organized, autonomous, flexible, service- and result oriented; deadline-driven, proactive, driving force in cooperations.  


We offer a temporary position (0,5 - 0,8 FTE) for one year in an international working environment. After positive evaluation, this can be turned into a permanent position. The gross salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience - ranges between €4,332 and €6,737 (scale 11 or 12 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year.

In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, professional development, (partly paid) parental leave, sports and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.

About the organization
A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow.

The Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance is a faculty at the heart of society, with a strong focus on social issues. Our subjects of Law, Economics and Governance give us a strong mix of academic disciplines that complement and enhance each other. This is a unique combination and a mark of our faculty's strength.

TU Eindhoven, Wageningen University & Research Center, Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht together form the EWUU alliance, connecting knowledge and experience to contribute to societal transitions in the fields of energy, sustainability, health and nutrition. The alliance started in December 2020. The theme "Circular Society" is one of the focus areas.

Additional information
For more information about this position, please contact: dr. Jurgen Ganzevles (Programme Director Circular Society) at or +31 614 68 07 97, or professor Chris Backes (Scientific coordinator ‘Urban-Rural Interactions in a Circular Economy’) at or +31 646 70 50 84.

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation via the 'apply now' button.

For this vacancy, internal and external recruitment takes place simultaneously. If a candidate is selected who already works at one of the four partner institutions, they will remain employed by that partner. In other cases, Utrecht University will be your new employer.

*Note to recruitment agencies: Please refrain from contacting us regarding this job posting.

The application deadline is

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