PhD student Donor Studies

PhD student Donor Studies

Published Deadline Location
10 May 11 Jun Amsterdam

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Job description

We have a unique position available for a PhD student at the department of Donor Studies at Sanquin Research and the Center for Philanthropic Studies at Vrije Universiteit (VU).
Social relations (e.g., with family members, teachers or friends) are critical to the onset and maintenance of different types of prosocial behaviour, e.g., charitable giving or volunteer work. Solicitations by others, observation of prosocial behaviour in others, awareness of need, and norms about prosocial behaviour all travel through social relations and may result in social ‘contagion’. Parental role-modeling for example and conversations about giving behaviour are strongly related to adolescents' giving and volunteering. Evidence about whether and how social relations shape blood donation behavior, however, is scarce. Previous research shows that one of the most effective recruitment strategies for blood donors is the donor-recruits-donor strategy. But we do not know which specific relationships are producing this effect: romantic relations, parent-child relations, friends and/or colleagues? In addition, the specific mechanisms at work, such as social learning, awareness of need, and value transmission, remain elusive. Knowledge about such mechanisms increase possibilities for more effective recruitment of new donors. 

With this project we address three objectives:

  • Examine learning and inter/intragenerational transmission in blood donor behavior 
  • Develop and test educational material about donation for children and adolescents (e.g., Science exhibition)
  • Develop and test interventions for blood donor recruitment by using social information (i.e., information about donor status and donation behaviour of others)

The project duration is four years and the PhD candidate will participate in the VU Graduate School for Social Sciences as well as in the PhD network at Sanquin. Supervisors are dr. Eva-Maria Merz (VU/Sanquin) and prof. dr. René Bekkers (VU). 


Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation (Sanquin)


Profile of the candidate we are looking for

  • You are a highly motivated PhD candidate who has received excellent training in the social and behavioral sciences, evidenced by an MSc degree in Sociology, Psychology, Health Sciences, Public health, Demography or other Social Science, preferably in a Research Master program; 
  • You have outstanding organizational skills, and have the flexibility to work at two locations;
  • You have good communication skills for data collection in museums and the ability to work in a team;
  • Excellence in written and spoken English is required. The dissertation will consist of a series of journal articles in English;
  • Some experience and interest in studying pro-social behavior in a micro-macro context is highly desirable;
  • Affinity with serious games, experiments and register data give you an advantage;

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

What we offer 

  • A temporary appointment for a period of 4 years;
  • Salary and employment conditions are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) at Sanquin;
  • a full time contract of 36 hours per week;
  • reimbursement of travel expenses;
  • 8,33% end-of-year bonus and 8,33% holiday allowance;
  • 201 vacation hours on the basis of full-time employment;
  • Working hours will be determined on the basis of mutual agreement;
  • In addition, we offer the challenge to work for two excellent organizations;
  • an interesting multi-disciplinary network and scientific development with high quality supervision;



Sanquin was established in 1998 through a merger between the Dutch blood banks and the Central Laboratory of the Netherlands Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service (CLB). The Foundation is responsible for blood supply on a not-for-profit basis and advanced transfusion medicine as such that it fulfils the highest demands for quality, safety and efficiency. Sanquin delivers products and services, conducts scientific investigations and provides education, instruction, in-service training and refresher courses. On the basis of the Blood Supply Act, Sanquin is the only organisation in the Netherlands authorised to manage our need for blood and blood products. It is also a not-for-profit organisation and thus has no profit motive. Sanquin employs approximately 3,000 workers all across the Netherlands.
The Sanquin organisation is constantly conducting research and developing new and improved blood products. There is also a constant search to replace the roughly 10% of the donors who become unavailable due to age, pregnancy, illness or relocation. At Sanquin, consistent quality and development through improvements therefore go hand in hand.


Donor Studies

This project is a collaboration between the department of Donor Studies at Sanquin Research and the Center for Philanthropic Studies at VU, both located in Amsterdam. The department of Donor Studies is an internationally recognized center for high-quality (blood) donor research. Staff at the department consists of about 15 researchers, including 5 PhD students. The Center for Philanthropic Studies at VU conducts research and educates professionals in all areas of the Dutch philanthropic sector. Since 1995, the Center has been the leading unit for research on philanthropy in the Netherlands and in Europe. 


  • Research, development, innovation; PhD; Patient care: other
  • Health; Behaviour and society
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • AT 5906


Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation (Sanquin)

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Plesmanlaan 125, 1066 CX, Amsterdam

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