Post-doctoral Researcher position: Informal learning paths in Smart Industry

Post-doctoral Researcher position: Informal learning paths in Smart Industry

Published Deadline Location
14 Nov 3 Dec Enschede

Job description

The Dutch industry needs a skilled workforce to keep up with and contribute to digital and green transitions. However, finding qualified employees is challenging, and skills quickly become outdated due to fast-developing technologies (AI, VR, robots). Currently, most Smart Industry companies lack human capital and knowledge to achieve their maximum potential.

Smart Skills@Scale connects 5 universities, 3 universities of applied sciences, eleven Smart Industry communities, 450 SMEs, and several social partners and educational partners in an eight-year program to realize a major breakthrough aimed towards creating a sustainably employable workforce. We stimulate the development of human-centric production systems, smart workplaces, jobs and careers, and (regional) partnerships. With this integrated approach, we want to empower production employees and organizations to achieve a human-centric, resilient, and sustainable Smart Industry sector. The program will kick-off at the beginning of 2024. We invite new researchers to join our team and help creating smart workplaces that optimize production processes by reinforcing (informal) learning pathways for production workers to support their continuous development.

Your job
As a Post-doctoral researcher, your responsibilities will entail designing and carrying out a multi-sited ethnographic study on learning in production work when smart technologies are introduced. The objective of the research is to examine the impact of such technologies on workplace learning practices, including the dynamics between novice and more experienced workers, and identifying alternative informal learning paths to enhance the skill development of production workers. You will work independently on your research while maintaining close connections with other researchers in the project team, as well as with Smart Industry communities and stakeholders from small and medium-sized enterprises. You will be expected to report and present your findings for both scientific and non-scientific audiences, such as at scientific conferences, in journal publications, and during stakeholder meetings.

In this project, we embrace the concept of team science. You will have a homebase for your research at the University of Twente, but you are also part of a larger research team of PhD-students, post-doc researchers, and senior researchers from multiple universities and universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. Also, our research team involves experts that help disseminate findings, coordinate with our partners from practice, and build tools. You will have ample opportunities for knowledge exchange with them too. Additionally, eight world-renowned researchers agreed to be part of our international scientific committee and will provide feedback on your work and offer you international experience. Within this project, we currently have five new positions open. Please, check our website for the other positions:

It is possible to apply for more than one position. We ask you to send separate letters but indicate in your letter the other position(s) you applied for. We value diversity for our team and highly encourage minorities and candidates with a background in vocational education to apply.


University of Twente (UT)


To be considered for this role, you should:
  • hold your PhD* in Organization Studies, Educational Sciences, Communication Science, Business Administration, Human Resource Development, or a related field.
  • have expertise or demonstrable interest in informal and on-the-job learning; technological change in organizations; sociomaterial practices; and the implications of smart technology on work and social practices.
  • have strong methodological knowledge, specifically on participatory observations and interviews;
  • have experience with field research and qualitative designs;
  • have an interest in the challenges related to Industry 5.0, with a focus on human capital rather than technical matters;
  • be able to relate to production workers and connect your research to their values and interests;
  • have good social and communication skills in academic as well as non-academic contexts;
  • are fluent in English and able to understand and communicate in Dutch (hard requirement);
  • have excellent writing and organization skills;
  • have proven ability to work independently, but also to collaborate within a team and with relevant stakeholders.

Conditions of employment

A 4-year post-doc position (1.0fte), starting between January – March 2024. The gross salary is in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU) € 3.877,- to € 5.929,- per month for a fulltime position, depending on experience. On top of this, you receive a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.

We offer excellent auxiliary terms of employment, such as professional and personal development programs; a secondary remuneration package; a dynamic environment with enthusiastic colleagues; an organization focusing on internationalization and a high degree of responsibility and independence.


The position is affiliated with two sections.

The section Communication Science investigates the role of communication in today's digital society, driven by technology. Our research is centred around societal issues and challenges, and we investigate the ways in which communication and technology are intertwined and affect individuals, relationships, collectives, and organizations. Our research is focused on three main themes: digital society, changing organizations, and persuasive technology. We use various research methodologies and cutting-edge technology to advance our findings for the betterment of society. Our educational programme was ranked as a ‘Top-Rated Programme’ in the 2023 Keuzegids Universiteiten.

The section of Professional Learning & Technology is specialised in research on professional learning in and across organisations. Researchers at our department study formal and informal learning of (future) employees, including the use of technology to measure and support professional learning. Our studies often take place in the high-tech, health, and educational sector with the intention to understand, evaluate and optimize professional learning in these various contexts. We aim to understand the interactions between learning processes on the individual, team, and organizational level and design (technology based) interventions to optimize these processes. In our research group, we combine expertise from a range of disciplines (e.g., educational sciences, communication sciences, psychology, business administration). Staff members participate in the ICO research school (the Interuniversity Centre of Educational Sciences) and the Twente Graduate School.Our department is responsible for the courses of the Human Resource Development track of the Master Educational Science and Technology, and the corresponding pre-Master program.

Additional information

Your application should include the following documents:
  • a cover letter (in English or Dutch) which explains your interest in the position and your qualifications for it;
  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a copy of your PhD thesis or, if it is not yet available, an outline and summary of your thesis and one of your scientific papers.

Applications should be uploaded via the button below. Since only three documents can be uploaded per application, please combine documents if needed.

The application deadline is December 3. The first round of interviews will be held mid-end of November. The second round takes place on December 7th and 12th. The starting date for the position is as soon as possible but at the latest by March 2024.


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €3877—€5929 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 1474


University of Twente (UT)

Learn more about this employer


Drienerlolaan 5, 7522NB, Enschede

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 3 Dec 2023 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).