Postdoc in Interdisciplinary Social Science (1.0 FTE)

Postdoc in Interdisciplinary Social Science (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
27 Feb 20 Mar Utrecht

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Job description

Do you wonder why gender inequality in paid work, care work, or leisure continues to persist? Do you wonder how these inequalities relate to short-term and long-term health and wellbeing outcomes? Do you have a passion for quantitative research? Consider applying for an exciting postdoctoral research opportunity on the ERC CAPABLE project!

The postdoctoral researcher will work under the supervision of Dr. Mara Yerkes, principal investigator of the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator project CAPABLE and Associate Professor in Interdisciplinary Social Science at Utrecht University.

The CAPABLE project

CAPABLE is a 5-year research project investigating the role of national and local policies across Europe in shaping men and women’s real opportunities for work-life balance. Significant work-family policy advancements designed to help men and women more equally combine employment with other spheres of life have been made in recent decades, yet gender inequality persists. Improving gender equality in work-life balance is therefore high on policy agendas throughout Europe. Decades of research in this area have produced key insights but work-family theories fail to sufficiently explain the tenacity of this inequality. This large-scale project is developing and applying complex models derived from Sen’s (1992) capability approach to generate fundamentally new knowledge on how work-life balance policies impact men and women’s capabilities to achieve work-life balance in Europe. We focus explicitly on the understudied dimension of community, integrating locality, local relationships, and local policies, thereby offering new ways of theorizing work-life issues, such as gender inequality. Focusing on capabilities in work-life balance means ultimately focusing on human flourishing, well-being, and equality. For more information on the project, see:

Job Description

We are seeking a Postdoctoral Researcher for a two-year position. During the two years, the postdoc will be responsible for managing the piloting, fielding and analysis of a cross-national quantitative survey on capabilities in work-life balance. In addition, the postdoc will study the tension between short-term and long-term work-life balance decisions for health and wellbeing outcomes from a capability perspective. The latter will be done by conducting both cross-sectional analyses of the CAPABLE survey data as well as longitudinal analyses using the EU-SILC (Survey of Income and Living Conditions) data. It is expected that the postdoc is highly skilled in a range of quantitative methods, such as fixed and random effects modelling and structural equation modelling. 

Duties of the postdoc include:

  • conducting cross-national quantitative data analysis (both cross-sectional and longitudinal), resulting in high quality journal publications;
  • managing the piloting and fielding of a cross-national survey (i.e. managing contact with the survey company, making adjustments to the survey following piloting, ensuring quotas are met, etc.);
  • assisting the PI with the development of the survey;
  • cleaning and checking the survey data after delivery and creating a codebook for data archiving purposes;
  • co-organizing the CAPABLE mid-term conference;
  • when relevant, assisting with the supervision of interns on the CAPABLE project;
  • participating in the research activities of the CAPABLE team and the Public Health chair within the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Science.

A high degree of independence and responsibility is expected from the Postdoc. Because the Postdoc works in a larger research project, teamwork and communication are also essential. In addition to individual work, the Postdoc will contribute to regular project team meetings, joint conference presentations and academic publications.


Utrecht University


We are looking for a candidate who:

  • holds a doctoral degree in the social sciences, sociology, political science, public administration or a related discipline. Exceptional candidates expected to obtain their doctoral degree by September 2020 will be considered, but preference will be given to candidates who have already completed their doctorate;
  • has a track record appropriate to the stage of their career, and an obvious curiosity and enthusiasm for academic research;
  • has a strong affinity with and interest in quantitative research methods, in particular the analysis of longitudinal data. Experience in carrying out cross-national surveys and/or working with the EU-SILC data is an asset;
  • is capable of conducting original research independently as well as working in a team;
  • is a strong conceptual thinker. Previous experience with the capability approach is an asset;
  • is highly proficient in English (C2 level). Proficiency in Dutch is an asset but is not required.

Conditions of employment

We offer a 2-year full-time appointment as a Postdoctoral Researcher. The first year will be a probationary period; following a positive assessment in the first year, the position will be extended for another year.

The postdoc position is full-time (1.0 FTE) or part-time (0.8 FTE). The salary ranges from € 2,709 to € 4,978 gross per month (pay scale 10 to 11 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities), depending on qualifications and experience. Utrecht University also offers an annual holiday premium of 8% and an end-of-year premium of 8.3%. We offer a pension scheme, (partly paid) parental leave, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information is available at: about working at Utrecht University.


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 city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old center and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old University. Utrecht city has been consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the Netherlands.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in Cultural Anthropology, Educational Sciences, Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Pedagogical Sciences, Psychology and Sociology. Research and teaching activities are concentrated in five areas: Behaviour in Social Contexts, Child and Adolescent Studies, Cognitive and Clinical Psychology, Education and Learning, and Methodology and Statistics. More than 5,600 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 850 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues.

The Department of Interdisciplinary Social Science, located within the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, offers an exciting and dynamic environment for undertaking research. Societies face complex challenges today, such as labour market discrimination, re-integration at work, growing inequality and accessibility of care, and risk behaviour among young people. Individuals embedded in these societies are growing up in multicultural neighbourhoods and cities, developing their own identity, and throughout youth and adulthood are facing the problems associated with these complex societies. At the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Science, we focus not only on understanding these problems but on looking for solutions to them from an international and interdisciplinary perspective. We do this across three main themes: Youth; Migration and Cultural Diversity; and Social Policy and Public Health.

The postdoc will join the research group of Social Policy and Public Health, chaired by Professor John de Wit.


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2709—€4978 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 1093136



Domplein 29, 3512 JE, Utrecht

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