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Phd Position In Competencies Development Through Public Engagement

The VU Amsterdam has the ambition of fostering research and education that contribute to (local) societal issues. This contribution can be realized, amongst …

ongeveer 2 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
32 - 40 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


The VU Amsterdam has the ambition of fostering research and education that contribute to (local) societal issues. This contribution can be realized, amongst other forms, through transdisciplinary approaches that promotes students’ learning through their active participation in experiences of community/public engagement. It is not only beneficial for students and teachers for improving social engagement and enhancing skills and aptitudes, but also to community partners to address pertinent issues in the society.
This PhD position involves research on development of competencies among students through transdisciplinary processes that involve engagement of academic and non-academics actors. Engaged learning is a form of transdisciplinary process that promotes students’ learning through their active participation in experiences of community/public engagement. While much is known about the varied competencies that students can develop 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. Further, it is of importance to understand how these competencies developed through engaged learning can lead to actual broadening of minds and/or ‘transforming’ of students, teachers and community partners, and 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.

Your duties

As a Ph.D. student on these projects your main tasks and responsibilities are:

  • to work in close collaboration with the community service learning (CSL) team, and students, teachers and community partners.
  • to carry out literature study, surveys, interviews, and focus groups with stakeholders to understand how competences are developed in public engagement processes within VU Amsterdam.
  • to develop new ideas and insights which will lead to international publications and a Ph.D. thesis
  • to assist in teaching activities of the department
Your work will be supported with committed supervision and additional training in methods you are not familiar with. If you share our enthusiasm for the academic challenges and relevance of the proposed research topic and meet the requirements below, then we encourage you to apply for the position.


We are looking for an enthusiastic, curious, and creative candidate who has:

  • a master’s degree preferably in the field of science or a related field with interdisciplinary and/or transdisciplinary focus
  • practical experience with qualitative research methods: collection or analysis of interviews/focus groups (knowledge of Atlas.ti, NVIVO, or comparable is an advantage) and/or practical experience with quantitative methods: statistical analysis (SPSS, STATA, or R)
  • previous experience with one or more of the following: participatory methodologies, mixed-methods research approach, stakeholder interaction, or other co-creative processes
  • Good organizational, networking and communication skills to interact and connect successfully with students, lecturers, community partners, other stakeholders as well as researchers of other disciplines
  • fluency in spoken and written English and Dutch are essential
  • the ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • strong track record and research skills, relative to experience, and excellent academic writing and presentation skills


A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,395 (PhD) and a maximum €3,061 (PhD) based on full-time employment. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FT. The PhD student can choose to divide their duties between either 75% research - 15% education - 10% other activities or 50% research - 40% education - 10% other activities. With the 40% education option there is the possibility of obtaining BKO qualification

The appointment will initially be for 1 year with a possible extension conditional upon assessment of adequate functioning.

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 7 october 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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