Postdoc Healthy living environment and lifestyle for resilient cities and citizens (1.0 fte)

Postdoc Healthy living environment and lifestyle for resilient cities and citizens (1.0 fte)

Published Deadline Location
1 Oct 17 Oct Rotterdam

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We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher in the fields of resilient and healthy cities and citizens, and able to combine interdisciplinary, participatory and intervention research orientation to create societal impact in city regions, specifically in Rotterdam South area.

Job description

A healthy living environment and lifestyle is essential for the creation of resilient cities and citizens. In many, especially deprived, city districts, public health is severely under pressure. In some urban neighborhoods, a combination of cheap housing and unsafe and poor living environments generate concentrations of people with unhealthy lifestyles, few social contacts or networks and unstable socioeconomic positions. The concentration of such people in deprived, urban neighborhoods may cause further negative feedback loop, not only accumulating the negative interplay between physical and social environment and personal conditions with well-being, health, and resilience, but also putting significant socio-spatial barriers for people moving out of these conditions. Many aspects are interconnected, varying from physical and/or mental impairments, obesity, lack of confidence, anxiety, unemployment, illiteracy, depts, social inactivity, etc. which needs a systemic view and approach. The complex and multidisciplinary interplay of these aspects and conditions is an important field of study.

For example, when people experience financial problems and even debts this can have negative consequences for a healthy lifestyle. Personal challenges can be caused by many factors in different policy domains (e.g. housing and labor market conditions), many of which may be to the disadvantage of persons in lower socioeconomic groups. This may lead to a decreasing sense of control and resilience over the events in one’s personal life and well-being. Whereas an increased feeling of well-being (personal/individual and shared) will lead to more resilience and empowerment (personal/individual). An increased sense of resilience and empowerment will lead to an increased sense of control.

Improving the well-being of residents, and thus creating more resilient urban neighborhoods, is not something that neither is the sole responsibility of individuals, nor as the sole responsibility of government. Countering the negative feedback loops between the socio-physical environment, personal conditions, well-being, health, and resilience, requires a critical review of the way in which government agencies have organized existing public policies, measures and services, as well as the involvement of other stakeholders and professionals.


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)


  • Must have a PhD in social sciences and/or humanities, like public administration, culture and communication studies, sociology, social psychology, life sciences or organization & management studies or a related field;
  • Must have a proven affinity with research on urban and public health from an interdisciplinary and systemic point of view;
  • Must have a desire to contribute to creating societal impact and therefore must have a proven ability to translate scientific knowledge in practical solutions and to collaborate with a wide area of stakeholders;
  • Must master a rich plethora of methodological skills, and specifically with participatory forms of research, action and intervention research and citizen science;
  • Must be able to combine different project activities at the same time within complex and demanding stakeholder environments;
  • Must master the Dutch language in word and in speech as the research will take in region Rotterdam, specifically in deprived areas. Next, it is mandatory that the candidate masters the use of English as well.

Conditions of employment

Internationally-oriented and varied work within an enthusiastic team, with attractive fringe benefits in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (cao-NU).

Your initial employment term will be one year at first, it can be extended up to a maximum of three years if your performance proves satisfactory. The trial period is two months. Your remuneration will depend on the position, your specific knowledge and experience It will be calculated on the basis of full-time salary ranging between EUR 3.807 and 5.211 gross per month (salary scale 11, cao NU).

Erasmus University Rotterdam offers attractive terms of employment, including a holiday allowance of 8%, a year-end payment of 8.3% and 41 annual leave days in case of a full work week. In addition, EUR takes part in the ABP pension scheme, and we also offer partially paid parental leave. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Moreover, EUR staff members are allowed to make use of the EUR facilities, including the Erasmus sports centre and the University Library.

We value diversity and believe that a diversity of talents contributes to our vision and strategy to excel as a university on research and education. This means that we are looking for a person who can complement our team well. For more information about EUR and the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, please visit


Erasmus University Rotterdam

The Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), named after Rotterdam-born humanist and theologian Erasmus, is a research university with a strong international orientation and a pronounced social focus, both in its education and research activities. On the lively, modern campus, more than 28.000 students and scholars of more than 100 nationalities are constantly encouraged to develop their talents and meet their ambition. Our more than 2700 scientists and employees work together with all our students to solve challenges faced by global society, drawing their inspiration from the consistently dynamic and cosmopolitan city of Rotterdam. The academic education offered at our faculties is intensive, engaging and strongly focused on practical application. We increasingly perform our research in multidisciplinary teams, which are closely interwoven with international networks. In terms of research impact and the quality of its degree programmes, EUR can compete with the foremost universities in Europe, which is reflected in its consistent top-100 position in most major universities’ rankings. Erasmus University Rotterdam’s key values are daring, curiosity, social involvement, breaking new ground and striving for success


Vital Cites and Citizens is an interfaculty research program of the Erasmus University Rotterdam that combines high excellence research, with interdisciplinary orientation and societal impact. VCC starts a second investment term, from 2021 to end of 2024, and provides a stimulating environment in which scholars from multiple disciplines are active. All VCC members are used to collaboratively work on the knowledge agenda of VCC. Collaboration across fields and disciplines is key to our work. The host organization will be the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (ESSB) and specifically the Department of Public Administration and Sociology (DPAS).


Resilient Delta Institute is one of the Convergence programs between Erasmus University/Woudestein, Erasmus Medical Center and Delft University of Technology. Resilient Delta’s mission is to design resilience solutions in the Rotterdam delta for implementation around the globe. Resilient Delta aims to be a pioneer in designing solutions to the pressing societal issues related to the major transitions of our time. The convergence between the institutions involved, with their close physical proximity and complementary expertise, will allow for long-term resilience solutions for the challenges of the delta.

Through interdisciplinary research and co-creation, we will together design practical, applicable and scalable resilience solutions, including policies, technologies, business models and methodologies that will address the concrete societal issues that are prevalent in urban deltas. Leaders in the humanities and in the hard and soft sciences are coming together at physical co-creation locations in Rotterdam and Delft to conduct research, to design solutions and to develop new educational programs to educate the next generation of professionals. In doing this, we are improving the resilience of the Rotterdam delta while also boosting the earning capacity of the Netherlands.


Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB)

The Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences is home to a vast diversity of scientific disciplines: public administration, pedagogical sciences, psychology and sociology. In addition, the Erasmus University College, IHS, and two research institutes RISBO and DRIFT are linked to the faculty. This also reflects in the content of the (international) bachelor's and master's programs and in research.  Our activities are always focused on people and society. At the ESSB fundamental, internationally oriented research is of paramount importance. In addition, social research for professionals, policy makers, and the society is part of our research activities. ESSB offers a stimulating research environment where major national and international research grants are received. Appealing guest researchers and ambitious PhD candidates come along to conduct their research. Our education is small-scale and works with innovative forms of education such as Problem-Based Learning (PBL). Both the Dutch and English programs are highly ranked by students and alumni. ESSB is home to over 4000 students and more than 400 staff-members. The different disciplines are supported by the Faculty Office (for more information, please visit extern).

Department of Public Administration and Sociology (DPAS)

DPAS covers the disciplines of Public Administration and Sociology. Two related scientific fields with different profiles. Public Administration studies governance capacity and policy interventions. It focuses on the institutional power to organize and intervene in the relations between different social, political and economic actors. Public Administration in Rotterdam goes well beyond the public realm itself and pays attention to public-private cooperation and networks of organizations. Sociology investigates the social structure of societies and the way it evolves. Sociologists in Rotterdam focus among other things on processes of globalization and individualization and on the effects of these processes on international social relations, the labor market or family relations. Related social problems that are studied are migration, flexibilization and solidarity. The perspectives of Public Administration and Sociology complement each other. Together they guarantee a highly relevant and scientific approach to topical administrative and social issues. The bachelor- and master programmes of DPAS are built on this profile and educate students to become scientifically schooled professionals.

Other information

The issues of healthy living environment and lifestyles in relationship to resilience in urban areas thus needs a direct target group of citizens followed by participatory, intervention and citizen science approaches, and the active engagement of other societal actors (such as private sector firms, NGOs, citizens, community-based initiatives, other governments, and the media). These actors are capable of delivering necessary and additional resources that contribute to enhancing the problem-solving capacity, through the development and (re-)design of new public services. These actors can be perceived as co-producers or co-creators in developing and implementing public services as ways to deal with and/or solve societal challenges. Consequently, it is important to understand what drives citizens and stakeholders to participate, what are relevant triggers and how their participation can be organized in an effective an appropriate way and how this can be facilitated and coordinated?

Researchers need to be capable of working with community members and local practitioners, to be acquainted with participatory, intervention and citizen science approaches; and able to understand and contribute to the achievement of research objectives, i.e. by data collection and interpretation.

This postdoc research on healthy living environment and lifestyle will take place in the Rotterdam region, specifically in the Rotterdam-South area, in close cooperation with the National Program Rotterdam South, the Rotterdam region at large, and the Resilient Delta Initiative which is cooperation between Erasmus University Rotterdam, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus Medical Center.

The postdoc is stationed at the Vital Cities and Citizens program, which is interfaculty research for impact program, in which interdisciplinary research and creating positive societal impact are core values. The postdoc is considered to also develop the collaboration further between different scientific schools and disciplines and city of Rotterdam. The postdoc will also be closely working together with scholars from the Resilient Delta Initiative (RDI) especially the pillar ‘city’ within that initiative. RDI deals with the cooperation between Delft University of Technology, Erasmus Medical Center (EMC) and Woudestein and its aligned schools.


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €3807—€5211 per month
  • Doctorate
  • ESSB/DPAS-20211001


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

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Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, 3062PA, Rotterdam

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