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  3. PhD Candidate in project “Complexity Theory and Experimental Governance Design: searching for a complexity acknowledging approach to multi-problem families“ (1.0 FTE)

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PhD Candidate in project “Complexity Theory and Experimental Governance Design: searching for a complexity acknowledging approach to multi-problem families“ (1.0 FTE)

The Dutch ministry of Justice and Security is currently developing new ways of dealing with multi-problem families. While many families have few problems and …

bijna 4 jaar geleden


Burgemeester Oudlaan, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur


The Dutch ministry of Justice and Security is currently developing new ways of dealing with multi-problem families. While many families have few problems and are able to solve these problems themselves, supported by their social network and public service organizations, some families are confronted with a diversity of resistant problems. These families seem to lack a supportive social network and are often not open for help from public service organization.

Nevertheless many different public organizations such as the police, municipalities, Council of Child Protection, social neighborhood teams, Public Prosecutor, youth care and mental health organizations are involved due to the problems these families have or create for others.

This leads to a situation with substantial efforts and costs on the side of public organizations and persisting problems and dissatisfaction among the targeted families. The single problem approach does not seem to deliver a long term result. This research project aims to develop new and much more complexity-embracing approaches that match much better the multi-problem situation and the lack of positive self-organizing capacity in the family system. The context of each family is crucial, and often unique. Tailor-made and joint actions seem to be needed. The PhD we are looking for has to understand this context and will design and test new options of actions that fit with the multi-faceted, complex situation. The PhD will work on the edge of science and real life practice of multi-problem family actions. At the university the PhD will be embedded in a group of scientists dealing with complex systems, complexity leadership and multiple problem situations.

The project will be executed in close collaboration with the Department of Justice & Safety who will get an active role in the supervision of this project. There are regular moments at which preliminary results of the empirical research will be discussed with the ministry in order to facilitate the learning and reflection process among those who are involved in these two issues.

Research- and education tasks

The research for this Ph.D. project can be typified as longitudinal participatory (action) research. The Ph.D. student is expected to devote 10% of his/her time on educational tasks in the public administration bachelor program. Another 10% is available for training and development.


  • A Master’s degree (to be obtained before October 1, 2018) in Public Administration, Sociology, Political Science, Communication Science, or a related field (preferably a Research Master);

  • Knowledge of and/or affinity with complexity theory is highly appreciated;

  • Affinity with the subject matter (families, youth groups) is welcome;

  • Experience with qualitative and participatory research methods;

  • Excellent writing and communication skills;

  • Excellent command of both Dutch and English;

  • A strong drive to conduct societal relevant social-scientific research;

  • Flexibility and dedication;

  • A creative, open personality with excellent analytical, advisory and organizational skills;

  • Ability to work well in a team, as well as autonomously.


Internationally-oriented and varied work within an enthusiastic and ambitious team of top researchers and lecturers, with attractive fringe benefits in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (Cao NU).

Employment preferably starts in September 2018. The initial contract will run for a term of 1,5 years, which – depending on performance – will be extended with a second term of 2,5 years. The conditions of employment correspond with the CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten (CAO NU). The Erasmus University offers a salary of € 2.266,- gross per month in the first year up to a maximum of € 2.897,- gross per month in the final year in accordance with the Promovendus scale of CAO NU. Salary is based on a fulltime occupation. Objective of the temporary 4-year position is the production of a thesis leading to a PhD degree. Candidates are to submit yearly progress reports to the faculty’s standing committee for research.

The EUR has attractive employment conditions, which include holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, an end-of-year payment of 8.3% of the yearly salary and 232 hours leave per year (based on a full-time appointment of 38 hours). In case of a working day of 8 hours, you will weekly save 2 hours extra for annual leave (totally 328 hours).

In addition, EUR takes part in the ABP pension scheme, and we also offer partially paid parental leave. Moreover, EUR staff members can make use of the facilities at the EUR campus, including the Erasmus Sports Centre and the University Library. Substantial tax benefits apply to non-Dutch citizens, conditional on permission granted by the Dutch Tax Office. Applicants should have the right to work in the Netherlands for the duration of the contract.

More information about working conditions a can be found at: https://www.eur.nl/english/workingat/

Diversity is one of our strategic priorities. Female candidates and/or candidates from an ethnic minority, candidates with an international background are encouraged to apply. Under the condition of equal quality and suitability, these candidates will have a priority position.

Additional information

You can obtain more information about the Erasmus University Rotterdam on https://www.eur.nl/english/

You can obtain more information about the Department of Public Administration and Sociology on https://www.eur.nl/fsw/english/publicadministration/ and https://www.eur.nl/fsw/english/sociology/ respectively.

For additional information on this vacancy please contact prof.dr. Geert Teisman: teisman@essb.eur.nl or prof.dr. Arwin van Buuren. They will supervise this Ph.D. traject.