PhD position: Street-level decisions superdiverse neighbourhoods

PhD position: Street-level decisions superdiverse neighbourhoods

Published Deadline Location
31 Oct 30 Nov Rotterdam

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Looking for an exciting opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research on Dilemmas of street-level policymaking?

Job description

Are you looking for an exciting opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research? This PhD position Dilemmas of street-level policymaking: working in the context of superdiverse neighbourhoods is part of the Policies and politics of inequality and its consequences for society project, led by Dr. Mark van Ostaijen and Dr. Agnieszka Kanas.

Job description
Imagine yourself as a healthcare professional facing a challenge. Some of your patients require specialized care that aligns with their religious beliefs. However, the state does not register religious affiliations. This puts you in a delicate position, as you are obliged to uphold principles of equal care under the law, while also providing ‘culturally sensitive care.’ In essence, you are expected to treat everyone equally, yet differently, which could potentially lead to healthcare disparities. How do you navigate such a complex situation?

Such challenges are an emerging reality in the frontlines of public services since new levels of migration and mobility have changed the face of European cities. This had led to changing ‘superdiverse’ social realities, especially in ‘majority-minority’ neighbourhoods. The novelty of this emerging situation creates challenging circumstances particularly for ‘street-level workers’ in the frontlines of these neighbourhoods, such as teachers, police officers and healthcare professionals. This demands renewed understanding of the decision-making process of street-level workers.

The aim of this project is to study the institutional consequences of superdiversity in the Dutch context. Using mixed methods approaches, you will comparatively contextualize street-level decisions and investigate whether and why these decisions differ. The project's primary objectives are threefold: examining the underlying mechanisms behind street-level decision-making; comparing street-level decisions across neighbourhoods with varying levels of diversity and comparing street-level decisions across sectors with different institutional logics (rule vs. client-oriented sectors).

More general, as PhD researcher, you will have the opportunity to shape and adapt elements of the research project to align with your expertise, interests and goals. This project is embedded in a broader research project, titled “The policies and politics of inequality and its consequences for society”, which aims to understand the relationship between societal challenges caused by rising populism, migration, climate change, welfare reforms, and institutional responses to these challenges. You will be joining a young and dynamic research team – including another PhD, a Post-Doc and experienced staff members. By the embeddedness within this team you will be supported to develop your research, teaching and impact skills.

Tasks and Responsibilities:
  • Getting acquainted with the state-of-the-art literature and developing a theoretical framework to examine it;
  • Conducting innovative fieldwork leading to four research papers which constitute the basis of a PhD dissertation;
  • Collecting and analyzing (qualitative and/ or quantitative) data for example by content analysis, narrative interviews, shadowing, vignettes and/ or surveys among relevant stakeholders;
  • Participating in project activities, such as organizing a workshop, contributing to public debate, and managing outreach activities of the project;
  • Contributing to the teaching activities (10%) of the department and the opportunity to develop teaching skills (BKO);
  • Collaborating with other researchers within the Team Policy, Politics and Society and department of Public Administration and Sociology.


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)


  • Completed (or in the completion of a research Master or) MSc in Political Science, Public Administration, Sociology, Anthropology or related disciplines;
  • Strong and explicit motivation for scientific research;
  • Profile: independent, entrepreneurial and creative working attitude;
  • Excellent command of Dutch and English (multilingualism is considered an asset).

Candidates are selected on the basis of their CVs, motivation and academic references (no need for reference letters).

Conditions of employment

We offer you an internationally oriented and varied job in an enthusiastic team, with excellent working conditions in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU).

The start date of this position is 1 February 2024 and you will be based at in Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB). This position is for 0.8 fte - 1 fte FTE. The salary starts with € 2.770 gross per month on a fulltime basis in your first year and ends up with € 3.539 gross per month on a fulltime basis in the fourth year, in accordance with scale P of the CAO-NU. In total the PhD contract is for four years. You start with a contract for one year and depending on good performance this will be continued with a contract for the other three years. In case of a 0,8 fte contract the period will become five years.

Everything else we offer you, you can find below!


Erasmus University Rotterdam

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is an internationally oriented university with a strong social orientation in its education and research, as expressed in our mission ‘Creating positive societal impact’. EUR is home to 3.700 academics and professionals and almost 33.000 students from more than 140 countries. Everything we do, we do under the credo The Erasmian Way – Making Minds Matter. We’re global citizens, connecting, entrepreneurial, open-minded, and socially involved. These Erasmian Values function as our internal compass and create EUR’s distinctive and recognizable profile. From these values, with a broad perspective and with an eye for diversity, different backgrounds and opinions, our employees work closely together to solve societal challenges from the dynamic and cosmopolitan city of Rotterdam. Thanks to the high quality and positive societal impact of our research and education, EUR can compete with the top European universities.

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. 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.

Team Policy, Politics and Society
The team Policy, Politics and Society (PPS) is an interdisciplinary team that does research and provides teaching around a broad set of complex policy issues. Working together based on the principles of team science, PPS aims to provide a stimulating and creative environment for academic development. Besides scientific impact, societal impact and engagement (with communities, governments, organizations) are key trademark of the team. Within PPS, specializations have emerged on a number of complex policy issues, such as institutional reform, welfare and inclusion, European and global governance, resilient cities, e-governance, and on migration and diversity.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3825


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

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Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, 3062PA, Rotterdam

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