Research assistant (Budapest)

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Starting date: 1 February, 2017 (negotiable)

Application deadline: 27 January 2017

Full Or Part-Time: Full-Time

Proposed duration: 12 months (renewable)

Unit Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy


Vacancy summary

The Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy invites applications for a full-time Research Assistant position related to the study of sustainability transformation and transition of urban systems. Initially offered for a period of 12 months but renewable, the position is tied to the recently started 4-year NATure based URban innoVATION (NATURVATION) project funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 mechanism that will conduct research on the potential use of nature based solution (NBS) in cities. The Research Assistant will work as an integral member of CEU’s project delivery team and the broader international NATURVATION consortium led by Durham University in the United Kingdom.

In the face of global change and increasing environmental, economic and social pressures in an increasingly urban world, sustainable development and resilience are more important than ever for cities in Europe and beyond. NBS are seen to hold significant promise in enabling the urban transition to sustainability and meeting sustainable development goals. They have potential to provide multiple benefits across a range of sustainability challenges facing cities – such as managing flooding, supporting improved health outcomes or increasing resilience in the face of a changing climate and other closely interlinked global and local challenges.  Yet despite their significant potential, the use of NBS remains marginal, incidental, and highly uneven.

The NATURVATION project will bring the required branches of science and expert practitioners together to forge a unique transdisciplinary partnership capable of advancing the use of nature-based solutions in urban environments. More specifically, the project will:

  • Create transdisciplinary analytical foundations required to respond to this agenda; 

  • Map the use and impact of NBS in 100 European cities to characterise existing practice; 

  • Develop a novel Nature Based Solutions Assessment Framework to capture their multi-faceted & 
systemic impacts as well as their diverse economic & cultural values; 

  • Undertaking in-depth, internationally comparative analysis to identify the innovation potential of NBS; 

  • Investigating the regulatory, financial and development conditions that limit & enable the use of NBS;
  • Build capacity, enabling replication and embedding cultural change through communication, dissemination and impact activities.


Description of the position

We are looking for a Research Assistant interested in understanding the potential of cities as key driving forces in the global sustainable development agenda, tracking, analyzing and learning from the many technical innovations taking place related to NBS, including their technical, social, environmental, governance and business aspects. The Research Assistant will work with members of a network of urban-regional innovation partnership (URip), with particular emphasis on Győr, as a URIP member in Hungary. The position will be based at CEU’s Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy in Budapest with travel to project meetings in Hungary and occasionally abroad.


The Research Assistant, working closely with other project team members, will undertake the following activities:

  • Contribute to a literature review of social indicators in the urban context;
  • Play a key role in the conceptual design of an interactive database to document , analyze and allow users to explore the use of NBS in 100 European cities based on data from EUROSTAT’s Urban Audit;
  • Close collaboration with international partners responsible for developing the technical back-end and user interface for the database;
  • Contribution to the design of a survey of NBS in 100 European cities to document which types of NBS are being implemented, where, how they are being delivered and with what impact;
  • Contribute to training and assisting graduate students in delivering the survey, quality controlling the produced data, and providing assistance with uploading survey results to the NBS database as needed;
  • Help analyse the data to identify, visualize and analyze key patterns and interlinkages to help understand how and why NBS evolve, how they are governed and managed, and how they may contribute to specific aspects urban sustainability in measurable ways;
  • Contribution to the in-depth analysis of NBS in the city of Győr (Hungary) as CEU’s main case study city and other comparative cases as required;
  • Assistance with the organization and facilitation of project events in Hungary and abroad as required, involvement in participatory research with stakeholders;
  • Contribute to project reports and articles, general project communication, dissemination and management tasks.


The position is for 12 months, starting from February 1, 2017, with a possibility for extension.

Required qualifications

  • Masters degree in natural or social sciences with relevance for the themes of the NATURVATION project, a background in urban studies, urban and regional planning, environmental engineering, science and technology studies, sustainable development, environmental science, may be particularly interested. Applicants well rooted in one of these or similar disciplines but demonstrated inter- and transdisciplinary background are particularly welcome.
  • Proven experience with the design and analytic use of large non-numerical databases
  • Excellent quantitative and qualitative analytic skills
  • Precision and persistent attention to detail, good organizational and time management skills
  • Fluency of written and spoken English
  • Good communication skills and ability to write publishable quality text in English
  • Team player but self-starter and high level of ability for independent work

Desirable qualifications

  • Experience with the creative visualization of data and analytic results
  • Previous work experience with projects focusing on sustainable development, the environment or urban development
  • Previous experience with European Union-funded projects
  • Experience with participatory, particularly interview based research methods
  • Knowledge of Hungarian and other European languages


Central European University, Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, 1051 Budapest, Nador utca 9., Hungary


This is a full time position, for a fixed term of 12 months (maternity leave replacement) with possibility of extension. We offer a competitive salary, as well as a dynamic and international academic environment.

How to apply?

Applicants need to submit:

  • CV in English,
  • Cover letter in English
  • Motivation letter up to 500 words


Please send your complete application package - including job code in subject line: 2017/024 Only complete applications will be considered.

CEU is an equal opportunity employer.

About Central European University:

Central European University (CEU) is a graduate research-intensive university specializing in the social sciences and humanities, public policy and management. It is located in Budapest, and accredited in the United States and Hungary. CEU’s mission is to promote academic excellence, state-of-the-art research, and civic engagement, in order to contribute to the development of open societies in Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and other emerging democracies throughout the world. CEU offers both Master’s and doctoral programs, and enrolls more than 1400 students from 100 countries. The teaching staff consists of more than 180 resident faculty, from over 40 countries, and a large number of prominent visiting scholars from around the world.



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