Postdoc researcher and lecturer in Community Services Learning

Postdoc researcher and lecturer in Community Services Learning

Published Deadline Location
14 Jun 29 Aug Amsterdam
Do you have experience  in Community Service Learning? / Do you want to employ your experience in educational innovation to the benefit of students as well as the community?

Job description

Social awareness and communal involvement are core values of the Vrije Universiteit. One of the means through which we add a concrete dimension to these values, is by the implementation of a central Community Service Learning (CSL) program. Through CSL students deploy their academic skills to contribute to societal issues. CSL has the potential to be a transformative learning experience for the students, while at the same time impacting society. We have multiple successful ongoing CSL projects and collaborate with key partners in civil society.
Within this research project an innovative CSL curriculum for all bachelor and master students at the VU will be developed. The bachelor program includes multiple courses in which students address issues such as loneliness and circular economy in collaboration with community partners. The aim is to strengthen the link between various courses and society and to scale up CSL across the university.
We are developing a master program in which students identify and analyze complex societal issues with various stakeholders from society through a participatory approach. Interdisciplinary student teams conduct in-depth participatory research on the identified challenges. We aim to make the master program available to other (international) universities. The master program is the result of the Comenius Leadership Fellow of prof. Zweekhorst (financed by the NRO).

Overall we aim to identify the design principles for CSL, based on literature research and best practice analysis. Based on these insights, we will develop a framework for the implementation of CSL. To this end, your duties as a postdoc researcher within this research team will include working together on the design, execution, monitoring and evaluation of pilot studies to investigate the effects of the implementation of CSL within the course and the curriculum. On top of that, we conduct research on the interaction between education and society.
Your duties

As a postdoc you collaborate in a lager team executing this project and conducting research on this project. Next to being involved in the research you are also involved as a coach or coordinator in teaching of various courses offered by the Athena Institute.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • PhD degree, preferably related to Management Policy Analysis and entrepreneurship in de health and life sciences, Health sciences, or another master program related to the field of health and life sciences. Experience and interest in education or educational sciences is preferred
  • preferably expertise in both qualitative and participatory research methods and open to transdisciplinary research work
  • excellent teaching skills and you are an engaged and inspiring lecturer, as proven by student-evaluations
  • well capable to supervise a theoretical thesis, research projects and student internships
  • publications in refereed international journals or books
  • write and speak Dutch and English fluently
  • network of relevant contacts
  • team player
  • keen to work on the topic “community service learning’’ and innovations in education

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2.709,-) and a maximum of €4.274,-) in accordance with salary scale 10, depending on your education and experience. The job profile (researcher 4) is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0,8 FTE.
The initial employment contract will affect a period of 1 year, with the possibility of extension. 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
  • considerable employer’s contribution to the ABP pension scheme
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package 


The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 23,000 students. We employ more than 4,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.
About the Athena Institute
The position is offered within the Athena Institute, Faculty of Science. The institute’s mission is to study and design interfaces between science and society. How to organize an inclusive multi-stakeholder innovation process which contributes to solving complex societal challenges? This requires an understanding of the dynamics within and between science and society; methodologies (principles and heuristics) that can guide inclusive multi-stakeholder innovation processes; strategies that can sustain and upscale such processes; methodologies to monitor and evaluate such innovation processes; as well as approaches to train students and professionals in these methodologies. One of the research fields of Athena is Education for Science and Society in which the main question to be addressed is how students can be trained in science-society interaction and transdisciplinary research  in order contribute to realizing the development of science and technology in a more sustainable and equitable way.   
For more information about the Athena Institute:

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter before 30 August 2019.

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: Professor, Innovation and Education in the Health and Life sciences

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Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV, Amsterdam

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 29 Aug 2019 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).