2 postdoctoral positions on public participation and informality (in health and medicine), School CAPHRI/Department of Health, Ethics and Society

2 postdoctoral positions on public participation and informality (in health and medicine), School CAPHRI/Department of Health, Ethics and Society

Published Deadline Location
22 Jan 10 Mar Maastricht

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We are looking for two postdoc researchers to join an ERC-funded project “Public participation by other means? Informal practices to engage with matters of collective concern in nondemocratic settings”. The project is focused on the field of health and medicine.

Job description

Postdoc researchers will work in a team with two PhD candidates and the project PI, Dr Olga Zvonareva. The work is largely collective. It entails сlose collaboration with the rest of the team and exchange of insights from the individual subprojects to reach the overall goal of theorizing informal practices as forms of public participation. However, postdoc researchers will also have the opportunity to expand on their subprojects based on their expertise, own ideas, and data generated, in consultation with the PI. Research will constitute 80% of the overall workload; the contracts also involve 20% teaching.

Postdoc researchers will:
-       Be responsible for their subprojects
-       Play a crucial role in methodological innovations necessitated by the project
-       Contribute significantly to the development of the overall theoretical outcomes of the project
-       Lead and contribute to academic publications
-       Be involved in framing and editing a special issue on the topic of the project
-       Be involved in the organization of workshops and other project-related events
-       Participate in the team meetings and offer active support to the PhD candidates
-       Present and disseminate the project results
-       Be based in Maastricht

With regards to teaching: teaching load of each postdoc researcher will consist of co-coordinating one course and a series of workshops for bachelor’s and master’s level students (sociology and philosophy of public health).

Research project

The project seeks to develop an understanding of public participation beyond institutionally sanctioned formats, public spaces, and deliberative notions. In order to do so, project researchers will look for new modes of public participation in informal practices creatively employed by citizens to contest governance arrangements, especially in settings where they are discouraged from doing so. The overall aim is to identify the kinds of informality that enable people to participate in governing matters of their shared concern and to explicate mechanisms whereby it happens.

To study informal participation in health and its implications, this project employs a case-based qualitative comparative approach. One line of comparison is between in vitro participation performed in controlled laboratory-like settings and more spontaneous in vivo participation emerging ‘in the wild’. Postdoc researchers will focus on the circumstances of the first kind, which characterize participatory openings created from the top, with pre-defined boundaries between what is open for intervention and what is not, and embedded opportunities for steering citizen input.

Postdoc 1 will focus on the subproject ‘Standardizing participation’ and practices of designing toolkits and frameworks for patient engagement in drug development by pharmaceutical industry.

Postdoc 2 will focus on the subproject ‘Channeling participation’ and practices of regulating patients organizations’ activities by the Russian state.


Maastricht University (UM)


Ideal candidates for the postdoc positions should be motivated, self-driven, open to working together in a team of five scholars on a collaborative project, interested in moving forward theorizing of public participation, and have experience in using qualitative research methods. Applicants must have completed a Ph.D in a relevant discipline (STS, Sociology, Political Science, Anthropology or related fields) within the last three years and demonstrate potential to publish in top journals. In terms of qualitative methodologies, applicants should have experience in all aspects of research, including building and managing research materials database, conducting interviews and observations, doing data analysis, and preparation of manuscripts. In addition, they need to be fluent in written and spoken English, be willing to travel, and have excellent organizational abilities.

Specifically for the position of Postdoc 2 (subproject ‘Channeling participation’) command of Russian language is an asset.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year with the possibility to extend with 2 years (total 36 months).

The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website http://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl > Support > UM employees.

What we offer:

- You will be a part of an exciting project studying whether and how informal practices can facilitate meaningful engagement with collective affairs.

- Initially, you will be employed on a 1-year contract as Postdoctoral researcher and agree to specific development goals. After a positive assessment the position will be extended for the remaining two years.

- Remuneration will be according to standard salary levels, depending on education and relevant work experience. Each year the standard salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.

- You will be working in interdisciplinary and international environment of Health, Ethics and Society Department (HES) in Maastricht University. At HES philosophers, sociologists, health law and gender studies scholars, historians, and anthropologists work together in order to contribute to the identification of effective, legitimate, and just solutions and policies for better health in different geographic regions and cultural settings. Department collaborates closely with public health and biomedical researchers.

- You will be based in Maastricht, a wonderful city to live in. Exactly the right size, inviting and lovely city centre, historic buildings besides cutting-edge architecture and industrial heritage. The city is vibrant, not in the least thanks to the many students. Since the Maastricht Treaty (1992) the city is known as the birthplace of the European Union and the ‘Schengen Treaty’. It is an international city that opens up to young and old, to people from all cultures and backgrounds, for students and working people. Maastricht counts over 100 international institutes and organizations.


Maastricht University

Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 20,000 students and 4,700 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.


  • Postdoc
  • Health; Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €3217—€4402 per month
  • Doctorate
  • AT2021.15


Maastricht University (UM)

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Peter Debyeplein 1, 6229 ER, Maastricht

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