Postdoc fellowship in Valuing Water (Designing norms and behaviours for water positive lives at home)

Linnaeus University
Småland, Sweden
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 


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The Department of Design is located at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, one of five faculties at Linnaeus University. The faculty is a dynamic, flexible and international knowledge environment with both scientific and artistic activities in a wide range of main areas. We build complete academic environments where the exchange between teaching, research and external collaborations creates a driving force for the quality of the university and the surrounding society.

Design is a strong force for change and sustainable societies. At the Department of Design, we provide education that offers the student solid design knowledge and a solid foundation in the field of sustainability. Teaching takes place in work teams where teachers with different practical, theoretical and artistic perspectives work together. Through our research, the department contributes to sustainable development.

The Bridge is a multidisciplinary research and education collaboration between Linnaeus University, IKEA and Södra. The vision is to create a common platform for challenge-based knowledge development for sustainable competitiveness. The aim is a dynamic exchange between the academic world and the business arena with the ambition to bring new perspectives, breakthrough innovations and shared utility and thereby contribute to sustainable solutions, regional competitiveness and international visibility.

Field of subject for the position: Valuing Water - designing norms and behaviours for water positive lives at home.
Placement: Department of Design, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Växjö, Sweden.
Extent and period: Start date of employment is 2021-03-01, for duration of two (2) years. Extent is 100%.

Context of position:
Which values can we share and celebrate to achieve access to clean and healthy water for all?
Which stories about life at home can lead to less water use?
How can design enable positive water use in the home?

Access to clean water is a fundamental condition for life on Earth. How we live our lives at home plays a significant part on water security for all. Sustainable Development Goal 6 targets Clean water and Sanitation. Water is an essential part of our lives, yet when we have access to it often unnoticed. Water usage is dependent on cultural norms, habits, notions of hygiene, infrastructure, cost and much more. The water issue therefore epitomizes the complexity of sustainability, where ecological dimensions interplay with social, cultural and economic factors. Pathways to using water in such a way that everybody on Earth has access to clean and healthy water therefore also need to engage with this complexity. Similarly, the water issue requires collaboration between knowledge institutions, government, industry and citizens.

This postdoctoral project will focus on the citizen perspective on water, and specifically all touchpoints to water in the everyday life at home. What values, mindsets, norms, attitudes, behaviours, lifestyles are conducive to ensure access to clean and healthy water for all? What current and future innovations can support sound water usage? How can design support and inspire a healthy water culture and nudge sound everyday water practices?

By situating this exploration into water in the home, this project will tease out and address individual and households’ perceptions, norms, values, habits and practices in relation to water use. It translates a global sustainability  challenge into tangible and actionable solutions in the everyday life of people at home.

The project may involve cross-cultural comparisons of domestic water usage. It may take place in co-creation with home makers and other key water stakeholders. It is expected that the project seeks multidisciplinary perspectives on the water issue.

The main working task is to conduct research within Sustainable water use/Valuing water.

Other duties include:

  • Collaborate with researchers in the Department of Design focusing on sustainable home making. 
  • Establish and keep close co-operation with main actors within the project, i.e. The Bridge, and IKEA Range and Supply as the stakeholder representing the needs of the industry, and other relevant stakeholders, such as government agencies and citizen organisations.
  • Create links with leading research groups at international level to further advance the area of design for sustainable water use.
  • Co-author manuscripts to refereed journals and other relevant dissemination channels.

As part of the post, you are expected to actively participate in the department's working environment and network both internally and externally.

10 % of the work can include teaching and tutoring in the Innovation Master program as well as in undergraduate and graduate programmes of the Department.  

Qualification requirements:
Qualified for the position the one who holds a PhD in Design, with a focus on sustainability, norm criticality or adjacent areas. You should have completed the degree no more than three years before the application deadline.

Applicants must not have previously been employed as a postdoctoral fellow for more than a year in the same or related subject area at Linnaeus University.

To be eligible for this position is also required ability to speak and write in English.

Assessment criteria:
Qualifying otherwise is:

  1. Research experience within the mentioned fields, and experience from participatory, co-creative, transdisciplinary research.
  2. Publications in peer-reviewed journals and relevant dissemination channels.
  3. Ability to undertake a research project independently and meet strict deadlines
  4. Team player willing to work with others, high interest in life at home, basic knowledge of democratic design parameters and interact with leading academic groups in Sweden and abroad

The holder of a postdoc position is assumed to have the ability to carry out research within the described area.

Applicants will be evaluated through a qualitative overall assessment of their competences and skills by following the before mentioned order of qualifications. For the final selection, suitable applicants will be asked to attend an interview. 

About IKEA:
IKEA Range & Supply has the responsibility to develop, design, produce and supply IKEA retail channels with home furnishing solutions available to the many people. Each year IKEA Range & Supply introduces 2,000 new products in the 443 IKEA stores and other multichannel touchpoints around the world. The total range is almost 10,000 products. So, what happens in Älmhult definitely doesn't stay in Älmhult. It reaches practically every corner of the globe.

At IKEA, we only create products we love. To do this, we apply five dimensions: low price, function, form, quality and sustainability. Together, they create something we call Democratic Design.

Range & Product Innovation is part of IKEA Range & Supply in Älmhult and leads strategic innovation and ensures preconditions for innovation to be developed in the business – democratising innovation at all levels of range and product development and throughout the value chain to create better products at lower cost.

Further information:
Professor and acting head of Department of Design: Mathilda Tham,
Human Resource Partner: Stina Andersson,

Please mark your application with dnr 2020/589-2.2.1. Last day to apply is 11 October, 2020.

Linnaeus University has the ambition to utilize the qualities that an even gender distribution and diversity brings to the organization.

Please apply by clicking on the "Apply" button at the bottom of the ad. The credentials you invoke must be verified with certification and they must be attached digitally in your application. The application and other documents to be marked with the reference number. All documents cited must be received by the University no later than 24.00 (Local time in Sweden) on the closing day.