Postdoctoral fellow in Sustainable Early Childhood

Deadline: 09.06.2024

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

With about 17,500 students, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences is one of the largest higher education institutions in Norway. A broad range of academic programmes are offered at Bachelor, Master and PhD levels, spread out on five campuses Førde, Sogndal, Bergen, Stord og Haugesund.

Our ambition is to build stronger and more solid academic and research environments that will interact nationally and internationally. The aim is to become a recognized actor on the international higher education arena. Increased international cooperation and engagement in externally funded projects will work towards this goal.

The Faculty of Education, Arts and Sports has four departments with staff in Bergen, Sogndal and Stord. This Faculty is one of the largest teachers training institutions in the country with around 6600 students and a staff of 550, offering kindergarten teacher training, primary and secondary school teacher training for Classes 1-7 and 5-10, practical pedagogical education and Bachelor’s, Master's and PhD programmes.

The faculty will offer an extensive programme of continuing and further education. Research activities at the Faculty are organised into research programmes and research groups.

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Education, Arts and Sports has available a 2-year Postdoc position in Responsible Economy and Sustainability in the field of Early Childhood Education and Care

The postdoc position is affiliated with the The KINDknow Research Center [BARNkunne – Senter for barnehageforskning]. The Center has high ambitions in terms of Sustainability research in the field of Early Childhood Education. KINDknow aims to conduct excellent research on early childhood and systemic research of Diversity and Sustainable Futures relevant to early education, families with young children and educational policy.

Position Overview:

We call for an excellent researcher with an interest in values, economy, and conditions children live by, who, through a post-doctor position, will study the kindergartens and their practices and/or conditions, through the lenses of responsible economy. The individual research agenda can explore and disclose how children are entwined in wicked problems like equity issues, consumption, green or circular economy, etc.

The research at KINDknow Research Center (RCN grant number; 275575, for the period of 2018-2028) focuses on understanding children, families, and teachers' practices, and how society and institutions shape conditions for persons in the context of early childhood education. The milieu has large research projects on social sustainability in the thematic areas of Move, Play, Explore, Pedagogical innovation, Systemic leadership, and Ecological citizenship.

The new postdoc will be encouraged to work on Responsible Economic Sustainability to broaden our contributions thematically and methodologically, through developing an individual research agenda in collaboration with the milieu.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), the economic aspects of sustainability have emerged as a pivotal yet under researched area of concern. As we navigate the salient agenda of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, it becomes imperative to understand how the economic aspects of sustainability, e.g. consumption, green economy, circular economy, equity, and fair societies, intersect with the lives of children, how societal domains intersect their lives in families and ECEC institutions. This third pillar of sustainability, that of economy, not only has profound implications for the economic viability of ECEC institutions but also for the holistic development of our children and their growth and formative development. The postdoctoral project should expand on the knowledge of economy in the lives of children from a perspective of sustainable futures. We are open to cutting-edge studies e.g. socio-ecological innovation of relevance for children, childhood and education:

Examples of relevant studies are:

  • Childhood economy – mapping the knowledge landscape
  • Intergenerational (younger children and older adults) perspectives on daily essentials - foundational economy and green transitions
  • Critical glance at the toy and playground industry and the conditions for childhood
  • Children at risk and the role of the economy
  • Socio-economical innovation in efforts to solve the wicked problem of high sick leave rate of kindergarten staff
  • Responsible leadership for innovation in the early educational sector

The position will involve minor administrative duties. The position is based in Bergen, but research travel will be encouraged and there are also opportunities for research stays at collaborating institutions. As a post-doc, you will get two mentors, one from the HVL Business School and one from the KINDknow Research Centre.

The duration of the postoc position is two years.

Desired starting date is 01.10.2024, or according to agreement.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Spearheaded research initiatives on the economic facets of sustainability in ECEC.
  • Employ a diverse array of scientific methods, spanning mixed methods design, qualitative inquiry, and quantitative empirical methods.
  • Collaborate with interdisciplinary teams and established research projects ensuring the real-world relevance of research outcomes.
  • Within two years, disseminate findings through esteemed journals, international conference presentations, and other salient impact channels (at least send five articles to respected journals).
  • Engage with a broad spectrum of stakeholders, translating research into actionable insights for the ECEC community of practitioners.

Qualification requirements:

Essential Qualifications:

  • A recent PhD in a pertinent field (e.g., Economy, Sustainability, ECEC, Environmental Studies, Childhood Studies). The PhD project must be approved before the application deadline.
  • Mastery of diverse scientific methodologies (eg. Qualitative, Quantitative, Comparative, Mixed or Merged methods)
  • Proven experience in interdisciplinary collaborations.
  • The candidate needs to have good written and oral skills in English. Some competence in Norwegian or another Scandinavian language is an advantage.

Desired Soft Skills and Capabilities:

  • Reciprocal collaboration and team mentality.
  • Anti-Fragility/Resilience: The tenacity to evolve from challenges and uncertainties.
  • Communication: Exceptional ability to articulate complex ideas to varied audiences.
  • Discipline: A proven record of time management and punctuality.
  • Pressure Management: The capability to maintain productivity even under pressure.
  • Digital agility and responsibility

Application procedure:

 Applications will be evaluated by an expert panel of three members.

Applicants are asked to submit their application and CV online. Please use the link “Apply for this job” (“Søk stillingen”).

The following documentation should be uploaded as an attachment to the online application:

  • An outline of a postdoctoral project (up to ten-pages)
  • A comprehensive Curriculum Vitae with a complete list of academic publications
  • Copies of selected academic publications (no more than 5)
  • The Phd
  • Diplomas and certificates

If the documents submitted are not in a Scandinavian language or in English, the applicants must submit certified translations of these. The transcripts must specify the topics, the course works, and the grades at the bachelor`s and master`s degree levels.

Applicants with a degree from a country other than Norway, need to attach a certified translation of the diploma and transcripts of grades to English or a Scandinavian language, in addition to the original documents, if the original is not in any of these languages. It is required that the applicant encloses a recognition document showing that their degree is equivalent to a Norwegian bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or PhD. You can read more about applying for recognition of foreign higher education here

The Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (HK-dir) offers an automatic recognition document for certain degrees from selected countries. If the applicant’s degree is covered by the automatic recognition, it will be sufficient to attach this document. Read more about automatic recognition here

As the HK-dir application process may take some time it is recommended to apply to HK-dir as soon as possible. If you have not received a recognition document from HK- dir within the application deadline, please enclose documentation from HK-dir showing that they have received your application.

Applicants should note that the evaluation will be based on the documentation submitted electronically via Jobbnorge within the submission deadline. The applicants are responsible for ensuring that all the documentation is submitted before the closing date. It is of utmost importance that all publications to be considered in the evaluation are uploaded as an attachment with the application, since these are sent electronically to the expert panel.

Applications cannot be sent by e-mail or to individuals at HVL.

We offer:

  • Exciting and stimulating tasks in a strong international academic environment.
  • An open and inclusive work environment with dedicated colleagues.
  • Favourable terms in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.
  • Employee benefits.

The position as Postdoctoal Fellow is paid according to the Government's salary regulation, in position code 1352 - Postdoctor.

There is a compulsory 2 % deduction to the pension fund (see http://www.spk.no/en for more information). The successful applicant must comply with the guidelines that apply to the position at any time.

General information:

The appointment will be made in accordance with the regulations for State employees Law in Norway (“Lov om statens ansatte”). Organizational changes and changes in the duties and responsibilities associated with the position must be expected.

State employment shall reflect the multiplicity of the population at large to the highest possible degree. Western Norway University of Applied Sciences has therefore adopted a personnel policy objective to ensure that we achieve a balanced age and gender composition and the recruitment of persons of various ethnic backgrounds.

Information about the applicant may be made public even though the applicant has requested not to be named in the list of applicants. The applicant will be notified if his/her request is not respected. 

Applicants may be called in for an interview.

Employed on condition that you are granted a work and residence permit (must be considered individually).

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences is subjected to the regulation for export control system. The regulation will be applied in the processing of the applications.


  • KINDknow [BARNkunne]Center Director, Elin Eriksen Ødegaard, email: elin.eriksen.odegaard@hvl.no
  • Assistant Head of Department, Torunn Herfindal, e-mail: torunn.herfindal@hvl.no

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