Professor in design for sustainability

Umeå Institute of Design (UID) is hiring a Professor for design in sustainability. Seize the opportunity to shape one of Sweden's most international and innovative academic institutions. At UID, you will become part of a forward-thinking and open environment where you can develop your own research, preferably with a strong foundation in 'research through design'. We're looking for a candidate to influence design practices through the lens of sustainability, supporting exploration in the shift from user-centred to life-centred, as well as towards new materialities beyond existing forms of production and consumption. A research profile characterised by a visionary and experimental orientation, combined with a genuine engagement with practice across disciplines, is central.


The employment currently enables research time of 75 percent for five years. After this first five year period, the balance between research, teaching and other duties may change. The employment also includes teaching in the subject at undergraduate and advanced level as well as teaching and supervision in postgraduate education. Central to the employment is to initiate research projects and apply for research funding, as well as plan and lead research projects in collaboration with stakeholders both within and outside the institute. The professor is expected to be involved in and actively participate in the development of the design subject, as well as education at all levels and organizational activities at Umeå Institute of Design. Overall, collaboration and communication, internally and with the surrounding society, is an important part of the employment. The employment includes administrative tasks connected to the areas previously described and may include management assignments. Place of employment is Umeå.

Eligibility requirements

A person who has demonstrated both research and educational expertise shall be qualified for appointment as a Professor (Chapter 4, Section 3, Higher Education Ordinance). Research expertise refers to independent research work, the ability to plan and lead research activities and the ability to impart information about research to the outside world. Educational expertise refers to documented experience of planning, implementation, examination, and evaluation of teaching and is shown in a reflective approach to student learning and one's own teaching role.

The applicant shall demonstrate administrative skills, very good ability to express oneself in English, orally and in writing and excellent abilities in communication and collaboration.

Assessment criteria and their weight

When selecting applicants for the position, scientific expertise will primarily be taken into account. Secondly emphasis should be on pedagogical expertise. Furthermore, administrative expertise, good ability to communicate and collaborate, and the expertise and suitability in general required to complete the work duties satisfactorily will also be taken into account.

Scientific expertise

Scientific expertise shall be demonstrated through independent scientific productivity. The criteria for assessment are:

  • Breadth and depth of research -quality and extent
  • Originality in research
  • Contributions to the international research community
  • Commissions of trust within the research community
  • Ability to competitively obtain research funding
  • Documented ability to attract external funding for research
  • Collaboration with the surrounding community
  • Ability to initiate, plan and lead research projects in collaboration with several stakeholders

For this position, a research profile characterized by research in design, where internship-based design plays a central role, will be taken into account.

The research profile has a foundation in research through design, and aims to inform and redirect design practice with respect to sustainability, including but not limited to issues such as 'more-than-human' rather than 'user-centred' design, and new materialities beyond existing forms of production-consumption and prevalent economic models. Areas of design research of special interest and importance to the profile include, (ethics and aesthetics of) new materialities, transitions, futuring, alternative economic and development models, post-humanistic perspectives and regenerative and re-directive design practices. A research profile characterised by a visionary and experimental orientation, combined with a genuine engagement with, and concern for practice, both within design and across disciplines, is central. A doctoral degree in an area that is relevant to the employment is particularly meritorious.

Educational expertise

The educational expertise for employment as professor should be demonstrated by documented experience of teaching with scientific foundation at university level. The criteria for evaluation are:

  • an ability to plan, implement and evaluate teaching and an ability to supervise and examine students at every level of education
  • an ability to vary teaching methods and examination formats in relation to anticipated study results and the nature of the subject
  • experience of collaboration with the surrounding society in planning and implementation of education
  • participation in the development of learning environments, teaching aids and study resources
  • a reflective approach to student learning and one's own role as a teacher
  • documented ability to contribute to the collaborative development of educational and research environments in design

Educational expertise can be attained through education in university pedagogy, other education of relevance for teaching at a university level or documented and proven experience teaching at the university level.

Further qualifications

Administrative skills refer to the ability of developing, organising, conducting, leading and following up projects, activities, and staff, primarily in higher education but also in other relevant contexts. Of merit will be an interest in and ability to communicate design and design research also with a more general audience, and to develop close interactions between academia and society. Of merit will be experience of administrative issues in relation to for example committee participation or assessment in national or international research funding bodies.

Further details

The place of employment is Umeå and the person offered employment is expected to move to Umeå.


The application should preferably be written in English, and include the following items:

  1. A personal cover letter, including contact information
  2. Certified copies of relevant university degrees and diplomas
  3. Copies of ten research publications relevant to the position, numbered according to the publication list
  4. Attachments to a pedagogical portfolio (see p. 3.6 in Umu Application form)
  5. Certificates or documents from appraisals from e.g. the Head of Department, Director of Studies, colleagues, external assessors and students.
  6. Optional: Evaluations of own scientific research from a national research council or the equivalent over the past five years.
  7. CV/Umu Application form
    Fill in the  application form (link). Submit it attached to your application in the Varbi system as your CV.  Following information must be provided in the application form:
  • basic information that includes academic and professional qualifications
  • a list of articles published
  • an account of research experience
  • an account of pedagogical experience and activities
  • an account of experiences of developing and managing activities and staff
  • an account of experiences regarding interacting with the surrounding society and popularizing science
  • a research plan (maximum 5 pages)
  • references, including contact details

See instructions for what to include in the application, as well as how to describe scientific and educational activities (pdf)

Applications should be made via e-recruitment system Varbi and be received no later than 2021-02-07.

Umeå University is one of Sweden's largest institutions of higher education with over 34,000 students and 4,000 faculty and staff. We are characterised by world-leading research in several scientific fields and a multitude of educations ranked highly in international comparison. Umeå University is also the site of the pioneering discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 genetic scissors - a revolution in genetic engineering that has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

At Umeå University, everything is nearby. Our cohesive campus environment makes it easy to meet, collaborate and exchange knowledge, which promotes a dynamic and open culture where we rejoice in each other's successes.

Type of employment Permanent position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment Upon agreement
Salary Monthly
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100%
City Umeå
County Västerbottens län
Country Sweden
Reference number AN 2.2.1-1399-20
Contact Linda Bresäter, Act Head of Department, 090-786 88 19
Union representative SACO, 090-786 53 65
SEKO, 090-786 52 96
ST, 090-786 54 31
Published 22.Dec.2020
Last application date 07.Feb.2021 11:59 PM CET