Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Global Development Studies

Deadline: 31.03.2024

University of Agder

The University of Agder has more than 1500 employees and almost 14 000 students, making us one of Southern Norway's largest workplaces. Our dedicated staff engage in research, teaching and dissemination across a diverse range of fields.

fields. The university is located on two modern campuses in Kristiansand and Grimstad.

Creating knowledge together

When people who are committed come together to further knowledge, anything is possible.

The University of Agder combines the unique warmth and charm of Southern Norway with first-class scientific, technological and artistic expertise.

Would you like to work with us to create better solutions to our shared challenges?

About the position

A fixed-term 100% position is available at the University of Agder, Faculty of Social Sciences as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in global development studies, affiliated to the Department of Global Development and Planning, for a period of 3 years (eventually 4 years with 25% teaching duty, to be agreed). The position is located at Campus Kristiansand.

The starting date is negotiable with the faculty.

The Faculty of Social Sciences has four departments, the Department of Global Development and Planning, the Department of Information Systems, the Department of Political Science and Management and the Department of Sociology and Social Work.

The Department of Global Development and Planning offers two bachelor programmes, one in Planning and Communication, the other in Global Development Studies. The department also offers a master’s programme in Global Development, Crisis and Change, and one in Planning, Place and Process. We also have a PhD program in Global Development and Planning (hosted at the Faculty of Social Sciences) and an active research environment, divided into research groups. The Department currently hosts 35 academic staff, of which 10 PhD candidates and 1 postdoc.

The position is linked to the Battery Justice Research Network (BATJUST), a global network of social scientists and sustainability scholars on five continents working on issues related to justice and transparency in global lithium-ion battery value and supply chains. BATJUST is hosted by the Department of Global Development and Planning, and is linked to the Sustainability, Digitalisation and Communication focus area of CeDiT - Centre for Digital Transformation and to the inter-faculty Battery Coast Initiative.


The successful candidate will be based at Campus Kristiansand and work closely with BATJUST researchers based in the Department. The successful candidate is expected to conduct global development and critical social science research on global lithium commodity flows in relation to the broader topics of justice and transparency in global lithium-ion battery value and supply chains. BATJUST pursues the study of these chains through a dual approach: A focus on value chains, that studies activities in specific sites of extraction and production (from battery raw materials’ extraction to battery recycling); and a focus on supply chains, which focuses on the physical movement and commodity trading of battery materials at different stages of transformation (from raw materials to refined products, battery components and battery cells).

The plan for the individual research project to be attached to the application should fall under the supply chains focus and should address the following:

  • Be informed by critical social science approaches to the study of global development and green transition, such as, for instance: Political economy, political ecology, global value chains, global production networks, the cultural biographical approach, energy/environmental justice.
  • Focus on the interconnection of social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainability of lithium-ion battery supply chains.
  • Produce empirical and theoretical knowledge about inequalities and injustices in global lithium commodity flows linking Latin America, East Asia and Europe, with a specific focus on North-South relations.
  • Map global lithium commodity flows linking Latin America, East Asia and Europe, and encompassing commodities that contain lithium in various stages of transformation in battery supply chains – e.g. from lithium as raw material to refined lithium products, and battery components and battery cells containing lithium.
  • Conduct ethnographic research in key logistics and commodity trading hubs and by following commodities along transport routes connecting Latin America, East Asia and Europe, with a focus on multiple forms of logistics (e.g. cargo ships, trains, trucks) and different kind of trading arrangements.
  • Include multiple actors and their perspectives in the ethnographic study: lithium commodity traders, logistics companies, workers, local communities, national policymakers and global trade institutions.
  • Produce policy recommendations to address inequalities and injustices in these supply chains, with a focus on ways to increase transparency and to foster a more equitable distribution of social, environmental and economic costs and benefits between Global North and Global South. These recommendations should engage with Global South perspectives on topics such as, for instance, global trade reforms and tax justice.

The majority of the time (2 years equivalent) will be dedicated to the individual research project focused on the topics described above. It is anticipated that the research project will be self-driven but involve collaboration with new and existing research partners across disciplines (primarily social sciences, but also engineering, chemistry, and industrial ecology) and across the world, in particular in Europe and Latin America. Researchers in the Department have developed a strong and expanding network on related topics, which the candidate can benefit from and will be expected to expand.

Specific required duties (1 year equivalent) will include contribution to coordination of the BATJUST network hosted at the Department, and to the preparation of research funding proposals on topics related to the critical social science of lithium-ion battery value and supply chains.

A further 1-year equivalent, to be agreed, of the position’s time may be dedicated to teaching at the bachelor and/or master’s level on relevant topics, such as (but not limited to) development studies, political economy and political ecology.

Required qualifications

Further provisions relating to the positions as Postdoctoral Research Fellows can be found in the Regulations Concerning Terms and Conditions of Employment for the post of Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Research Fellow, Research Assistant and Resident.

  • Doctoral degree in a relevant social science field, such as development studies, human geography, anthropology, sociology or other closely related field. Potential applicants must have successfully defended their PhD thesis by the time of the application deadline.
  • Experience with ethnographic research and fieldwork.
  • Experience with research in Global South settings.
  • Excellent knowledge of English, both written and oral.
  • Working knowledge of Spanish to conduct fieldwork interviews and read documents and secondary sources.

Desired qualifications

  • Demonstrated critical social science research experience in one or more of the following areas would be a major advantage: Raw materials’ extraction; raw materials’ sourcing and/or use in industrial production; transport and logistics of mineral or industrial commodities; value or supply chain studies for green technology or other industrial products.
  • Knowledge of global value chain analysis and/or global production networks approach.
  • Experience of carrying out research in Latin America.
  • Working knowledge of other relevant languages for potential fieldwork locations in the project.

Emphasis will be placed upon the plan for the individual research project, and the relevance it has with regard to the subject in question and the research environment at the faculty.

Personal qualities

  • Willingness and availability to conduct long-term multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork across different countries and international transport routes.
  • Ability to adapt to changing needs and requirements.
  • Good contact and communication with colleagues and students, including good understanding of and experience managing cultural and personal differences.
  • Self-directed, motivated, and independent, but also able to work well in collaboration with people of diverse backgrounds and expertise.

Personal qualities and suitability for the position will be emphasised.

We offer

  • professional development in a large, exciting and socially influential organisation
  • a positive, inclusive and diverse working environment
  • modern facilities and a comprehensive set of welfare offers
  • membership of the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund

More about working at the University of Agder.

The position is remunerated according to the State Salary Scale, salary plan 17.510, code 1352, NOK 625 000 – 640 000 gross salary per year. Higher salary grades may be considered for particularly well-qualified applicants. A compulsory pension contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund is deducted from the pay according to current statutory provisions.

General information

The University of Agder is an open and inclusive university. We believe that diversity enriches the workplace and makes us better. We, therefore, encourage qualified candidates to apply for the position independent of gender, age, cultural background, disability or an incomplete CV.

The successful applicant will have rights and obligations in accordance with the current regulations for the position, and organisational changes and changes in the duties and responsibilities of the position must be expected. Appointment is made by the University of Agder’s Appointments Committee for Teaching and Research Positions.

Short-listed applicants will be invited for interview. With the applicant’s permission, the University of Agder will also conduct a reference check before appointment. Read more about the employment process.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act § 25 (2), applicants may request that they are not identified in the open list of applicants. The University, however, reserves the right to publish the names of applicants. Applicants will be advised of the University’s intention to exercise this right. 


The application and any necessary information about education and experience (including diplomas and certificates) are to be sent electronically. Use the link "Apply for this job".

The following documentation must be uploaded electronically:

  • Diplomas and certificates, with grades
  • List of publications
  • Doctoral thesis
  • Up to 3 academic works which the candidate wishes to emphasise for the assessment process
  • Academic CV
  • A plan for the individual research project (max 5 pages), including a description of the applicant’s research interests, the rationale for the research questions that the applicant wishes to address, and a methodology. The plan should demonstrate the project’s relevance for the advertised position and address the research dimensions and research activities listed in the Responsibilities section.

The applicant is fully responsible for submitting complete digital documentation before the closing date. All documentation must be available in a Scandinavian language or English.

Application deadline: 31.03.2024


For questions about the position:

  • Head of the Department of Global Development and Planning Morgan Scoville-Simonds, tel. +47 38 14 17 29, email morganss@uia.no

For questions about the application process:

Apply for this job

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