PhD Platformisation of Education (1.0 FTE)

We are looking for a PhD for a project on Platform infrastructures and the shaping of public education.
  • WO
  • Tijdelijk
Universiteit Utrecht


The department of Media & Culture Studies at Utrecht University recruits a PhD student for a research project on “Platform infrastructures and the shaping of public education” which is part of the larger Spinoza-funded research program Governing the Digital Society, chaired by prof. dr. José van Dijck.
Platformisation of education—the embedding of digital platforms into educational practices—unfolds through increasingly complex integrations of local European educational technology (‘edtech’) companies and global American providers of platform infrastructures like Google (Alphabet), Amazon, and Microsoft. This project will critically investigate how these integrations are shaping and governing public education and use its findings for furthering our understanding of the power of platforms and how they should be governed.

In the project, you will 1) map and analyse technological and organizational integrations of big and local (ed)tech in The Netherlands and/or other European countries); 2) study how big tech cloud infrastructures and strategic partnerships shape the functions and services that third-party companies provide to educational institutions; and 3) contribute methods and/or theories to the field of platform studies based on the empirical findings.

In the second and/or third year of the project you are expected to teach a few classes at the BA-level at the department of Media & Culture studies at a rate of 10 percent of the total workload.


We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD student who:
  • has an (R)MA degree in (new) media studies, communications, or a similar research area;
  • has excellent research skills, as demonstrated in the (R)MA thesis or any publications assessed as such;
  • has an academic interest in and thorough knowledge of platform studies;
  • has affinity with the use and development of digital methods (experience is recommended but not a prerequisite, can also be acquired during the PhD trajectory);
  • has an excellent command of English (an additional command of Dutch is preferred).


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.
The Faculty of Humanities has around 6,000 students and 1,100 staff members. It comprises four knowledge domains: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Culture Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. With its research and education in these fields, the Faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural context. The enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent amenities in the historical city center of Utrecht, where the Faculty is housed, contribute to an inspiring working environment.

The Department of Media and Culture Studies supports teaching and research in the fields of film, television, games, new media and digital culture, theatre, dance and performance, gender and ethnicity, musicology and cultural policy. Culture is a dynamic mix of artistic, creative and everyday practices with which people shape their identities and actions, and within which societal structures and institutions take shape. Media (old and new) are crucial factors in these processes.


We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for a period of 18 months. Upon good performance and positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for the remaining period of 30 months (4 years in total). The gross salary ranges between €2,541 in the first year and €3,247 in the fourth year (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information please visit working at Utrecht University.

Meer informatie

For more information about this position, please contact dr. N. Kerssens (Assistant Professor) via N.Kerssens@uu.nl or +31 30 253 97 41.