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Assistant Professor of competences in development through public engagement in the field of health and life sciences (tenure track)

Society is increasingly confronted with a wide range of complex problems, which have impact on health and well-being, such as new (re)emerging diseases, the …

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De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 - 40 uur
€ 3807 - € 5211 per maand


Society is increasingly confronted with a wide range of complex problems, which have impact on health and well-being, such as new (re)emerging diseases, the vicious circle of poverty and health problems, comorbid conditions in an aging population, increase of chronic diseases, insufficient access to healthy food and climate change. Addressing complex problems requires transdisciplinary collaboration between scientists from different disciplines and various stakeholders (in various countries with different interests, views and needs). Although it is increasingly recognized that a transdisciplinary approach to research might result in a better link between science and society, transdisciplinary research raises various challenges. One of these challenges addressed by the Athena Institute is how to develop the competences needed to conduct transdisciplinary research. While much is known about the varied competencies that can be developed through engaged learning, there is a dearth of evidence on how these competencies are shaped and developed, interlinked, and how the level of participation/engagement in such processes affect the level of competencies they develop. Addressing complex health issues in an international context, also requires skills and competences to deal with the different cultural backgrounds. Your duties
This tenure track position involves research on development of competencies through transdisciplinary processes that involve engagement of academic and non-academics actors in an international setting. Further, it is of importance to understand how these competencies developed through engaged learning can lead to supporting goals relating to reciprocity between academic and non-academic stakeholders. To do so, a combination of qualitative methods (literature review, interviews, focus groups) and quantitative methods (surveys, experiments) will be used.The tenure track position starting at the level of assistant professor (research, education, management. 40:40:20%) is located at the Athena Institute. Your research is focused on the field competences development through public engagement in the field of health and life sciences. Your research does justice to this complexity and enables you to design and facilitate multi-actor stakeholder processes that contribute to solutions to realize participatory processes in the field of health and life sciences in an international context. You draw inspiration and contribute to discussions in transdisciplinary research but also in innovation studies and system innovation (e.g. Science, Technology in Society; STS). Acquisition of external funding for research is an important task. On the longer term, you are expected to build up a successful group around your field of expertise in collaboration with Athena colleagues and others. Your educational tasks comprise course coordination of, and lecturing in, relevant courses offered by the Athena Institute (e.g. related to interdisciplinary research). You will also supervise BSc and MSc student projects. In addition, you are expected to fulfil more overarching tasks with respect to curriculum development and quality control. With respect to management you will supervise several PhD students, junior researchers/lecturers and postdoc researchers and participate in coordination and strategic meetings of the Athena Institute (and beyond).


  • A PhD degree in an inter- or transdisciplinary program preferably related to the field of Global Health
  • Strong and relevant publication track-record, commensurate with the candidates career stage and complementing and extending the Athena Institute research portfolio
  • Experience with participatory research methods and an interest in transdisciplinary research
  • Experience of working in an international context
  • Good communication skills to interact successfully with students, communities, users, other stakeholders as well as researchers of other disciplines
  • Experience with applying for research grants and externally funded projects;
  • Extensive experience in working in interdisciplinary teams (open, flexible, adaptive, pro-active)
  • A basic qualification education certificate (BKO)
  • Experience in teaching (development and coordination of courses) amongst others in the field of science and health communication
  • The ability to establish and foster networks with both science-based institutions and societal organizations


A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3,807 (scale 11) and a maximum €5,211 (scale 11), depending on your education and experience. The job profile Assistant Proffessor 2 (UD2) is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 1 FTE. We offer a tenure track position for the duration of 6 years. After 2 and 4 years the performance will be evaluated in terms of teaching, publication record, and acquisition of project funding (in addition to the annual assessment with your supervisor). After a successful evaluation in your final year, permanent employment will be granted and a path will be outlined for future academic development. Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • possibility to save holiday hours, for sabbatical leave
  • child daycare facilities available on campus

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 5 November 2021.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Prof.dr.M.B.M. Zweekhorst
Position: Chair Innovation and Education in the health and life sciences
E-mail: m.b.m.zweekhorst@vu.nl

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