PhD Local public infrastructure and agency in times of disasters (1 FTE)

PhD Local public infrastructure and agency in times of disasters (1 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
4 Aug 5 Sep Rotterdam

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Erasmus MC, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam have joined forces in the Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Center.
The research project is " Local public infrastructure and agency in times of disasters and part of the program “Towards social and urban resilience for pandemics and disasters”.

Job description

The School of Social and Behavioural Sciences of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (ESSB-EUR) seeks to fill a PhD position for the research project Local public infrastructure and agency in times of disasters. The research project is part of the frontrunner program “Towards social and urban resilience for pandemics and disasters (SURE) of the Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness Center (PDPC).

The research project investigates: (1) the conditions under which citizens' initiatives and forms of community participation arise and continue to exist in times in the event of disasters and pandemic, and the roles a local public infrastructure can play to support them; (2) The functions and governance that a local public infrastructure must meet in order to respond adequately to problems that arise in disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the event of disasters and pandemics (e.g. reliable information, healthcare, income, food supply). Connecting both aspects, group-based forms of (self) resilience and institutional resilience, gives insight in how local public institutions can stimulate, but also obstruct, the capacities of disadvantaged populations to resist and recover from external threatening conditions, such as covid 19, urban heat or energy poverty. 

The candidate will perform theoretically-informed qualitative analyses, contribute to  a Living Lab in Rotterdam South and connect them to other living labs, among possible others the living lab The Hague South-West. The aim is to develop, try out and test innovative urban solutions in a real-life context; present the results at conferences, and write a dissertation based on a set of research articles, publishable in international refereed journals. The candidate will be supervised by Prof. Godfried Engbersen (Erasmus Universiteit) and Prof. Jet Bussemaker (Universiteit Leiden/LUMC, campus The Hague). The PhD will work together with a postdoctoral researcher who will have a leading role in setting up the Living Lab.

About the Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness Center

Erasmus MC, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam have joined forces in the Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Center (PDPC). PDPC aims to prepare society for future pandemics and disasters. We will reduce vulnerabilities and risks and build resilience through effective disaster prevention, preparedness and recovery measures. Convergence of the technical, medical and social sciences is essential for developing the next generation of approaches to disasters and pandemics. In the foreseeable future, our society can expect many more and unforeseen virus outbreaks and extreme events because of climate change. But how do we protect society from the next pandemic or disaster? Which of the lessons learnt could develop prevention and intervention measures, and how could research contribute to preparedness?


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)


The PhD candidate should have

  • A master degree in Sociology, Public Administration, Political Science, Human Geography, Health Sciences, Public Health or a related discipline. Candidates currently finalizing their Master are also invited to apply, with the condition that the diploma must be completed by the time the project starts.
  • a qualitative empirical research focus and knowledge of, or the willingness to learn, specific skills, including (but not limited to) research in urban real-life contexts (‘living labs’) and forms of action research.
  • proven proficiency in qualitative statistical software.
  • excellent Dutch and English language proficiency.
  • a scientific mindset, inquisitive personality, enthusiasm for working in an interdisciplinary team, and the capacity to work independently.
  • Communication skills for interacting with local residents and urban stakeholders in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Conditions of employment

An internationally oriented and varied job in an enthusiastic team, with good working conditions in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU).

The start date of this position is ASAP and you will be based at ESSB/DPAS. The position is for 1,0  FTE. The salary starts from a minimum of € 2541,- to a maximum of €3247,-gross per month on a fulltime basis, in accordance with scale PR of the CAO-NU. Upon good performance position if offered for 1 year with the possibility to extend the position with another 3 years (4 years in total)

In addition, we offer an 8% holiday allowance, an end-of-year payment of 8.3%, and a very generous paid leave scheme. Furthermore, EUR is affiliated with ABP for the pension provision, and we offer partially paid parental leave, fully paid extended birth leave for partners, a personal career budget, work-life balance coaches, discounted collective health insurance, and more. As an employee, you can also use EUR facilities such as the University library and receive a discount on subscriptions for the Erasmus sports center.

Erasmus University Rotterdam offers a Dual Career Programme (DCP) to assist the life partners of new academic staff (on payroll) in finding employment in The Netherlands. The programme is offered in close cooperation with the nearby universities of Delft and Leiden.

Erasmus University Rotterdam aspires to be an equitable and inclusive community. We nurture an open culture, where everyone is supported to fulfill their full potential. We see inclusivity of talent as the basis of our successes, and the diversity of perspectives and people as a highly valued outcome. EUR provides equal opportunities to all employees and applicants regardless of gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, age, neurodiversity, functional impairment, citizenship, or any other aspect which makes them unique. We look forward to welcoming you to our community.


Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam (EUR)

Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam (EUR) is een internationaal georiënteerde universiteit met een uitgesproken maatschappelijke oriëntatie in haar onderwijs en onderzoek. Onze wetenschappers en studenten werken in nauwe samenwerking met interne en externe partijen aan het oplossen van mondiale, sociale uitdagingen, geïnspireerd door het altijd dynamische en kosmopolitische Rotterdam. Onze missie luidt dan ook ‘Creating positive societal impact’. Ons academisch onderwijs is intensief, actief en toepassingsgericht. Ons onderzoek vindt steeds vaker plaats in multidisciplinaire teams, die sterk verweven zijn met internationale netwerken. Met onze onderzoeksimpact en dankzij de hoge kwaliteit van onderwijs kan de EUR zich meten met de top van de Europese universiteiten. De Erasmian values fungeren als ons interne kompas en maken de Erasmus Universiteit herkenbaar voor de buitenwereld: ondernemend, maatschappelijk betrokken, wereldburger, ruimdenkend en verbindend.


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

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 masterprogrammes of DPAS are build on this profile and educate students to become scientifically schooled professionals.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • ESSB/DPAS/04082022


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

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