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University Assistant (prae doc) at the Department of Cognition, Emotion, and Methods in Psychology
The University of Vienna (20 faculties and centres, 178 fields of study, approx. 9.800 members of staff, about 90.000 students) seeks to fill the position from 01.12.2020 of a
University Assistant (prae doc)
at the Department of Cognition, Emotion, and Methods in Psychology
Reference number: 11445
The Faculty of Psychology consists of the Dean’s office and the studies service center, as well as • Department of Cognition, Emotion, and Methods , • Department of Occupational, Economic and Social Psychology, • the Department of Applied Psychology: Work, Education and Economy, • Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology • the Outpatient Unit for Research, Teaching and Practice. Currently, nearly 3,500 students of Psychology are enrolled in Bachelor's, Master's and PhD programmes, attending nearly 200 courses per semester, which are taught and supervised by 220 teachers, within more than 200 courses per semester. To strengthen our team in the Urban and Environmental Psychology Group (Part of the Institute for Cognition, Emotion and Methods and the Cognitive Science Hub) ), we are looking for a well-versed pre-doc with excellent methodological skills, preferably in one of the following research areas: environmental psychology, health geography, epidemiology. Participation in research, teaching, dissemination and administration beyond the PhD studies will be expected as defined by the Collective Agreement. We expect the successful candidate to sign a doctoral thesis agreement within 6 months. The position is limited to 4 years.
Participation in research, teaching, and administration - Participation in research projects / research studies - Participation in publications / academic articles / presentations - We expect the successful candidate to sign a PhD agreement within 6 months. Participation in teaching and independent teaching of courses, as defined by the collective agreement. In Austria, PhD candidates are expected to combine their PhD studies with being an active member of an academic team, taking part in research, teaching, dissemination activities (e.g. talks and media work) and administration. They are contracted for 30 hours a week and have 4 years to complete their PhD. The University of Vienna has a ‘collective agreement’ that sets out the roles, responsibilities and rights of all prae-docs to ensure they are able to successfully blend their PhD studies with these other tasks. A major advantage of this approach is that it provides a wide range of academic experiences and roles, and enhances employability prospects at the end of the PhD. In order to provide time to settle in, the PhD agreement only needs to be finalised 6 months into the post, allowing the applicants and supervisors time to work out the precise details of the research to be developed. The supervisors for this post have worked in Germany and the UK and so are highly familiar with different systems and will be able to support applicants with or without previous experience of the Austrian system. - Participation in teaching and independent teaching of courses as defined by the collective Agreement:
The current position and PhD will focus on a selection of the following possible topics, determined by the candidate’s interest and background: environmental risk perception, environmental protection and pro-environmental behaviours, with connectedness to nature as a potential explanatory variable. This could be investigated in the context of topics such as plastic pollution including microplastics, biodiversity loss or climate change. Another potential research area builds on the literature around benefits of nature in terms of mental and physical health, nature benefits for social groups and relationships, interactions with social inequality. In conjunction with the supervisors, the researcher is expected to define their own theoretically based research questions, which might include: a) What is the nature of risk perception about emerging environmental risks such as microplastics?; b) What are the drivers for environmental behaviours?; c) How can we change actual behavior?; d) Do degraded or polluted environments undermine the nature benefits typically experienced?; e) How does nature exposure affect the outcomes of social interactions? The post would suit an applicant with an interest in psychological processes at the individual and social level, very good quantitative skills, and skills/interest in a variety of analytical approaches from descriptive to experimental. Advanced knowledge of statistical packages such as SPSS or R are essential. Broad interest and understanding of issues such as pro-environmental behavior and benefits of nature are desirable. The applicant will be supported to disseminate and publish their work during the 4 years to facilitate timely completion of the PhD and enhance their subsequent career prospects. Training options in line with a career development plan are also provided.
Potential references (though these will very much depend on the focus of the suggested research)
Boomsma, C., Pahl, S. & Andrade, J. (2016). Imagining Change: An Integrative Approach towards Explaining the Motivational Role of Mental Imagery in Pro-Environmental Behaviour. Frontiers in Psychology, DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01780
Pahl, S., Wyles, K. J. & Thompson, R. C. (2017). Channelling passion for the ocean towards plastic pollution. Nature Human Behaviour (Commentary), 1, (10) 697-699, DOI: 10.1038/s41562-017-0204-4.
Wyles, K. J., Pahl, S., Thomas, K. & Thompson, R.C. (2016). Factors That Can Undermine the Psychological Benefits of Coastal Environments: Exploring the Effect of Tidal State, Presence, and Type of Litter. Environment and Behavior, 48(9), 1095-1126, DOI:10.1177/0013916515592177
Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively in a team with good social and communication skills. Reliability, flexibility, and willingness to continuously develop their skills base, including the skills necessary to apply for research grants. Teaching experience desirable. Please include the following documentation in the application: copies of degree certificates, an academic curriculum vitae (including publication list if appropriate), a letter of motivation (1 page), an outline of a potential PhD project linking to the data set (see above), which draws on the broader literature on nature and human health (1 page).
Main research field
Special research fields
Applied psychology;Social psychology
Very good knowledge
Type of computer skills
Specified computer skills
Applications including a letter of motivation (German or English) should be submitted via the Job Center to the University of Vienna (
http://jobcenter.univie.ac.at) no later than 11.11.2020, mentioning reference number 11445.
For further information please contact Edl, Martina +43-1-4277-47102, Pahl, Sabine +43-1-4277-47150.
The University pursues a non-discriminatory employment policy and values equal opportunities, as well as diversity (http://diversity.univie.ac.at/). The University lays special emphasis on increasing the number of women in senior and in academic positions. Given equal qualifications, preference will be given to female applicants.