PhD Position community engaged education in Global Health

PhD Position community engaged education in Global Health

Published Deadline Location
11 Nov 2 Dec Amsterdam

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Job description

The social issues related to health and wellbeing that we face today are becoming increasingly complex and in order to respond to these developments, education needs to be adjusted to prepare students for working in this context. In addition to professional knowledge, it is important that students also understand the complexity of social issues both locally and globally and possess the competences to make a relevant contribution to them. Society can provide a rich learning environment for this as societal challenges are integrated into the educational curriculum. Students can integrate insights from various disciplines and work in collaboration with societal partners to address complex societal challenges on a local, national or global scale. This is also in line with the ambition of VU Amsterdam of fostering research and education that contributes to societal issues both locally and globally.
This PhD position involves research on the design, implementation and evaluation of community engaged education in global health for students in higher education, and to find answers to questions like how this type of education can be best realized, what competences students need to effectively work with societal partners on complex global challenges, how to scaffold such competences across courses, what support teachers need in implementing this type of education, and how to design tools and methods to assess achievements in different contexts. The research includes a pilot project in the field of Global Health in which students work on global health challenges together with societal partners. It is our ambition that results from this pilot project will be implemented in various existing and new higher education programs, and contribute to building education theory on this topic.

Your duties

As a PhD student your main tasks and responsibilities are:
  • to work in close collaboration with the community service learning (CSL) team, and students, teachers and community partners
  • to carry out literature study, surveys, interviews, and focus groups with stakeholders to understand development of transdisciplinary programmes
  • to develop new ideas and insights that will lead to international publications and a PhD thesis
  • to assist in teaching activities of the department (50%)
  • Your work will be supported with committed supervision and additional training in methods you are not familiar with. If you share our enthusiasm for the academic challenges and relevance of the proposed research topic and meet the requirements below, then we encourage you to apply for the position.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


We are looking for an enthusiastic, curious, and creative candidate who has:
  • a master’s degree preferably in the field of health and life science, global health or a related field with an interdisciplinary and/or transdisciplinary focus
  • practical experience with qualitative research methods: collection or analysis of interviews/focus groups (knowledge of Atlas.ti, NVIVO, or comparable is an advantage) and/or practical experience with quantitative methods: statistical analysis (SPSS, STATA, or R)
  • a strong interest in research on innovation in education
  • previous experience with one or more of the following: participatory methodologies, mixed-methods research approach, stakeholder interaction, or other co-creative processes
  • good organizational, networking and communication skills to interact and connect successfully with students, lecturers, community partners, other stakeholders as well as researchers of other disciplines
  • fluency in spoken and written English and Dutch are essential
  • the ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • strong track record and research skills, relative to experience, and excellent academic writing and presentation skills

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,434 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,111 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 0.8 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for a period of one year with a possible extension conditional upon assessment of adequate functioning. The maximum duration of the appointment is 6 years. It is possible to obtain the Basic Education Qualification (BKO).

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
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • possibility to save holiday hours, for sabbatical leave
  • child daycare facilities available on campus


The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

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.
Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences
The position is offered within the Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences. The institute’s mission is to study and design interfaces between science and society to contribute both to a deeper understanding of innovation processes as well as a responsible implementation of research and innovation in society. Athena’s research program amongst other focuses on analysing complex global health challenges, designing interventions and conducting participatory monitoring and evaluation research. The section presently has a position vacant for a Postdoc/Lecturer.
For more information about the Athena Institute visit our website.


  • Postdoc
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 32 hours per week
  • €2434—€3111 per month
  • University graduate
  • 8628


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV, Amsterdam

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