PhD position: Artificial Intelligence in Science Education

PhD position: Artificial Intelligence in Science Education

Published Deadline Location
6 Nov 29 Nov Amsterdam

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Are you driven by a passion for education and intrigued by the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in shaping the future of learning? If so, the PhD student role within the Innovations in Health & Life Sciences group at Vrije Universiteit Amsterd...

Job description

In this role, you will focus on scholarly research on educational innovations in science education, specifically focusing on the design, implementation, and impact of active learning and the use of supportive educational technologies. You will investigate the use of feedback and generative AI-tools, such as ChatGPT, in relation to teacher and peer feedback and evaluate the effects. Generative AI applications will become increasingly commonplace and thus have a major impact not only on the work field but also on education. To adequately prepare students for this future, we need to teach them how to use these types of tools responsibly. However, much is still unknown about how we can use generative AI most effectively in STEM education. Questions we aim to answer in this PhD project include:
  • What design principles are important for effective deployment of generative AI tools within STEM education?
  • How effective are these types of tools in terms of practicality?

Your duties
  • You are involved in setting up qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods research on authentic activating teaching approaches supported by (AI) technology within courses of one or more programs within the science faculty
  • You support teachers in the responsible implementation of activating teaching approaches in their courses using peer feedback and generative AI
  • You collect and analyze data (e.g. interviews, surveys, student products, process data), and communicate about your research through common scientific channels (oral presentation, poster, journal)
  • You will perform coordinating and administrative tasks for the purpose of the research


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • You have a relevant master's degree and already some experience in educational or social science research (qualitative and/or quantitative)
  • Working with new digital tools and software programs is not a problem for you, and you are quickly able to master them (e.g., office, SPSS, R)
  • You have a proactive attitude and can work systematically both independently and as part of a team
  • You possess a robust level of perseverance and self-regulation, equipping you to navigate the unforeseen challenges that may arise within the research project
  • You have good oral and written communication skills (English)
  • You have an affinity for science (education)
  • Being able to read and speak Dutch is a plus

Conditions of employment

Embark on a stimulating career with a socially conscious institution. This role is perfectly tailored for those starting their professional journey. Enjoy a competitive starting salary of €2,770 per month, progressively increasing to €3,539 gross by the fourth year.

Initially, the contract will be for one year and can start immediately. After the first year, there will be an intermediate evaluation. If everyone sees enough potential, your contract will be extended for three more years. The appointment will, in principle, be full-time (1.0 fte), and will be concluded with a written dissertation. During these four years of developing into an independent researcher, you will follow a customized training program of six months. Your main base of operations will be the Vrije Universiteit Campus in Amsterdam, yet you have the option to work from home up to a maximum of 40% per week.

In addition, the Vrije Universiteit has attractive fringe benefits and arrangements that enable a good work-life balance, such as:
  • up to 41 vacation days for full-time employment
  • 8% vacation allowance and 8.3% year-end bonus
  • contribution to commuting travel expenses
  • choice model for tax exchange of certain working conditions
  • good and inexpensive sports facilities


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

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 31,000 students. We employ over 5,000 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
Working at the Faculty of Science means working together with students, PhD candidates and scientists who are focused on their discipline, yet also have a broad view of the world. We are proud of the collegial working environment within the faculty, which is characterised by an ambitious and pragmatic attitude with commitment to the bigger picture. At the Faculty of Science, scientists and students work on fundamental and complex social issues for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, from genetics to pharmaceuticals and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research cover the full breadth of the natural sciences. Scientific teaching and research is highly experimental, technical, computational and interdisciplinary in nature. This is why we collaborate extensively with leading research institutes and industry. The faculty has over 11,000 students studying across 40 educational programmes and employs over 1,600 staff spread over 10 scientific departments, making us the largest science faculty in the Netherlands.

About the iH2LS division
The division Innovations in Human Health & Life Sciences (iH2LS) is part of the Department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences within the Faculty of Science and consists of a young and dynamic team of (university) teachers and researchers led by Prof. Dr. Jacqueline van Muijlwijk. The group iH2LS strongly focuses on scientific research on the implementation and effects of educational innovations related to activating learning within STEM education. We also teach and develop education within programs such as Pharmaceutical Sciences, Drug Discovery Sciences, Mechanical Engineering and Science, Business & Innovation. You will be supervised by Prof. Jacqueline van Muijlwijk and Dr. Danny Scholten of iH2LS and Dr. Hanna Westbroek of the VU Learn Research Academy.


  • PhD
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 16487


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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