Post Doctoral Fellowship in the History of Technology/Energy Transitions

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Area: Energy History/Canadian History/History of Science and Technology.

Duration: 1 year with an Option for Renewal Based on Funding.

Start Date: Flexible.

Salary: $55,000 CAD per annum, plus University of Calgary Plan C health benefits.

The Department of History in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Calgary is accepting applications for a Postdoctoral Scholar in the History of Innovation and Transitions.

Job Description:

This is an opening for a 1-year Postdoctoral Fellow in History with dedicated funding as part of a large multi-disciplinary, and multi-institutional project on Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) as part of Canada’s 2050 net zero goal. As an institute moving towards more transdisciplinary research, the applicant will have the opportunity to interact with students from natural and applied sciences, law, and business. There are scholarships that an applicant can apply for that would extend the term to two years if successful, but not guaranteed.

Can historical examples of technological innovation and/or energy transitions teach us how to, or how not to manage the implementation of CDR in an equitable manner? This project will examine either the history of hydrogen as a fuel and what has hampered implementation OR the transitions from fossil fuels to renewables in the past and how either might inform CDR uptake and use.

What role does society play in energy transitions and how do Canadians view and react to deployment of new technologies, including CDR, to attain net zero by 2050? This question is especially pertinent in light of repeated climate-change-driven crises that are impacting public opinion and priorities.

The development of a historical case study on the social implications of technological shifts or lack of shift in Canada will provide context and insights into the potential of enabling the sustainable, equitable and rapid deployment of new CDR technologies. Results of this work will be presented in a research report that assesses historical technological precedents and energy transitions as a means of exploring the future of CDR technologies.

Supervisor: Dr. Petra Dolata is an energy historian researching 20th-century energy histories in Western Europe and North America as well as the history of energy transitions.

Summary of Key Responsibilities:

  •    Perform historical study of energy transitions and/or technological innovation, including archival research on either hydrogen or renewables.
  • Translate archival research and findings into an academic summary, relating forward to CDR.
  • Support Dr. Petra Dolata in her research on the history of energy transitions.
  • Interact with an interdisciplinary team including social scientists, engineers, law students, and policy makers on the results of both their work and the work of others through project meetings and symposiums. 


  • PhD in History or related field – Ideally with experience in the History of Science and Technology; 20th Century Energy History; or 20th Century Canadian History.
  • Be willing to study in-person at the University of Calgary, Alberta.
  • Demonstrated English language proficiency and academic writing ability.
  • Demonstrated experience in translating historical evidence into academic reports and/or papers.
  • Ability to work independently in a research setting.
  • Proficient in the use of the MS Office Suite and Zotero.

Successful candidates will be students a historians with a passion for contemporary history, who are interested in examining how the history of energy and/or technologies relates to climate change and the various approaches to address it. Ideally, they would be looking to continue their studies or work in the energy, technology, or environmental fields.

Application Details:

Candidates should email Dr. Petra Dolata by May 15, 2024 and indicate how their research interests and experience are suited to this funding opportunity.\

The Project:

For more information on the project please visit our website

The terms and conditions of employment are covered under the UCalgary and PDAC Collective Agreement. To find out more about postdoctoral scholar program at the University of Calgary visit our Postdocs website.  

To learn more about postdoctoral scholar opportunities at the University of Calgary, view our Postdoc Careers website.

About the University of Calgary

UCalgary is Canada’s entrepreneurial university, located in Canada’s most enterprising city. It is a top research university and one of the highest-ranked universities of its age. Founded in 1966, its 36,000 students experience an innovative learning environment, made rich by research, hands-on experiences and entrepreneurial thinking. It is Canada’s leader in the creation of start-upsStart something today at the University of Calgary. For more information, visit

About Calgary, Alberta

Calgary is one of the world’s cleanest cities and has been named one of the world’s most livable cities for years. Calgary is a city of leaders – in business, community, philanthropy and volunteerism. Calgarians benefit from the strongest economy in the nation and enjoy more days of sunshine per year than any other major Canadian city. Calgary is less than an hour’s drive from the Rocky Mountains and boasts the most extensive urban pathway and bikeway network in North America.

The University of Calgary has launched an institution-wide Indigenous Strategy committing to creating a rich, vibrant, and culturally competent campus that welcomes and supports Indigenous Peoples, encourages Indigenous community partnerships, is inclusive of Indigenous perspectives in all that we do.

As an equitable and inclusive employer, the University of Calgary recognizes that a diverse staff/faculty benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been historically encountered by some people in our society. We strive to recruit individuals who will further enhance our diversity and will support their academic and professional success while they are here. In particular, we encourage members of the designated groups (women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible/racialized minorities, and diverse sexual orientation and gender identities) to apply. To ensure a fair and equitable assessment, we offer accommodation at any stage during the recruitment process to applicants with disabilities. Questions regarding [diversity] EDI at UCalgary can be sent to the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion ( and requests for accommodations can be sent to Human Resources (

Feature Image: Balzac Fresh Food Distribution Center – Hydrogen Fuel Cells” by Walmart Corporate is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
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Petra Dolata is an energy historian at the University of Calgary and co-convenor of the Energy In Society working group at the Calgary Institute for the Humanities.

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