Postdoc Position: Urban Energy Systems in East Africa

Deadline: 20 April 2015 - 12:00am


Where: Darmstadt, Germany

Venue: Technische Universität Darmstadt

The research group on Spatial and Infrastructure Planning at the Darmstadt University of Technology investigates the interplay between cities/regions and technical infrastructures as well as their innovation patterns and governance. We are currently inviting applications for a

Postdoctoral Position

starting in June 2015, initially for two years (with a possible extension of the term). The collaborative research project “Translating the networked city: adaptation and creativity in urban infrastructures in Africa” is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) under its interdisciplinary priority program “Adaptation and Creativity in Africa – Significations and Technologies in the Production of Order and Disorder” ( The research focuses on the energy supply of the East African cities of Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, particularly on the interplay of networked power supply and incremental or unplanned forms of energy provision beyond centralized networks. Reflecting recent debates in science and technology studies and in postcolonial (urban) studies, we critically investigate the tensions between, on the one hand, internationally circulating technological ideals and models in the planning, design and construction of cities and, on the other hand, local processes of appropriation and modification. More specifically, we analyze how the internationally circulating ideal of a “networked city” has been “translated” into distinctive local practices and socio-technical arrangements in the supply and use of energy in the two cities. In addition to this research position (75% of a full-time position) the successful candidate will be given the opportunity to teach in our faculty’s B.Sc./M.Sc. programs (one seminar per year) and in this way to extend her/his contract to that of a full-time position.


Your tasks:

  • to conduct critical research on urban energy infrastructure in the cities of Dar es Salaam and Nairobi and to conceptualize and empirically analyze processes of adaptation and creativity in the “translation” of the networked city;
  • to collaborate with our project partners from another German university who investigate urban public transportation and to participate actively in the academic networks of the DFG priority program;
  • to teach one course/year in our bachelor and master programs and to advise the students on research for their theses (depending on the contract);
  • to present your research at conferences and to publish internationally, especially in peer-reviewed academic journals;
  • to participate in the academic activities of the research group and the department.

Your profile: We invite applications from candidates with a completed doctorate in urban/regional planning, geography, science and technology studies or a related field with excellent academic records, research experience in cities of the Global South and a burning interest in African cities. Your previous research activities and your publication record reflect your strong interest and extensive knowledge in the fields of urban studies, and urban governance and planning, as well as your strong methodological skills in empirical social/urban research. Knowledge in the social studies of technology and/or postcolonial (urban) studies is desirable for this position. You have international experience and a proven ability to manage research projects and to apply for third-party funding. Your working style is team-oriented and you have strong written and oral communication skills.


Conditions: We offer an excellent research environment in a motivated, international team at a leading academic institution as well as the possibility of exchange in national and international networks. We encourage you to participate actively at the interdisciplinary Urban Research Center of TU Darmstadt, its specialized PhD program on cities and infrastructure in East Africa (currently with two postdoctoral researchers and 11 PhD students) and the academic networks of the DFG priority program. We offer a salary according to the German public service pay scale and depending on qualification and experience. For more information, please contact Professor Jochen Monstadt (+49-6151 16 2248[email protected]) or visit our website.


Your application: The TU Darmstadt has an affirmative action program to promote equity in the employment of women, members of underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities. Interested candidates are asked to send their application (in English or German) as an email attachment directly to the following address:

[email protected]. Please include (1) a letter of motivation including first ideas on how you might contribute to our research project, (2) your CV including a list of publications, (3.) unofficial graduate transcripts, and (4.) two short samples of recent publications (article and/or dissertation chapter); please merge the documents into one single pdf-file, max. 6 MB. The application deadline is April 20, 2015. The job interviews will take place on April 27-28, 2015 in Darmstadt (or via skype).


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