Postdoctoral Researcher on Reading in a digital world

Postdoctoral Researcher on Reading in a digital world

Published Deadline Location
23 Jan 20 Feb Leiden

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The Institute of Education and Child Studies at Leiden University is looking for a

Postdoctoral Researcher on Reading in a digital world (0.8 - 1.0 fte)

Vacancynumber: 14338

Job description

Are you interested in reading processes, in reading in a digital context, do you enjoy conceptual challenges? Then you may find this position of interest!
The digital world has transformed the way we read, offering both challenges and opportunities. To understand these challenges and opportunities it is important to consider reading processes and outcomes from multiple perspectives. We are searching for a postdoctoral researcher who can assist us in developing a comprehensive, multidisciplinary model of the processing of written texts in a digital age. This model will serve as the starting point for national and international research.

This project is supervised by Dr. Paul van den Broek and Dr. Anne Helder and is part of the national research programme Becoming literate in a digital age: Adapting reading education in the Netherlands financed by the Dutch government ( ). The theoretical model developed in the postdoctoral project will be the foundation for the development of teaching methods and materials that effectively support students’ reading and reading processes by other projects in the programme. The ultimate goal of the programme as a whole is to develop educational interventions that aid individual students, especially those who are at risk of a delay in their development as readers, to acquire the ability to process written information in the digital age.

The project
As postdoctoral fellow you are member the Institute of Education and Child Studies at Leiden University as well as of the consortium for Becoming literate in a Digital Age.
You will combine insights from cognitive sciences with insights on reading comprehension and reading behavior from literary studies, psycholinguistics, educational psychology, educational developers and AI experts, teachers and students. Current theoretical models are scattered across disciplines, and users of one model often are either unaware of other models or struggle to find common ground, hindered by the variety in disciplinary terminology, methodology, and so on. For example, cognitive science focuses on identifying the properties of the mental representations resulting from reading comprehension; Linguistics and communication science focus on text properties and markers of perspective-taking that play a crucial role in comprehension; Social and behavioral sciences address the psychological processes underlying habit formation of reading behavior in offline and online settings; Literary studies focus on the collective experience of readers and how readers are affected by and interpret texts. Moreover, there is increasing recognition that reading behavior is influenced by the reader’s personal and/or social context. You will gather these various insights to build an integrative conceptual model of reading comprehension and reading behavior in the digital age.

Your activities
Your activities will include:
  • Review of existing research literature in the various disciplines to identify current theoretical models of (the teaching of) reading in a digital age;
  • Consultation with consortium members from different disciplines, partnering educational organizations, reading specialists, and other stakeholders;
  • Design and evaluate the integrative conceptual model;
  • Engage in empirical research on the described topics;
  • Collaborate with other postdoc/PhDs in the consortium;
  • Participate in writing scientific and professional publications and presenting at national and international meetings.
  • Teaching is not included in these activities but may be possible should opportunit


Leiden University


We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate who
  • has obtained a PhD in a field relevant to reading research, such as (educational) psychology, pedagogy, literary studies, psycholinguistics;
  • is familiar with models of reading and/or reading development;
  • has affinity and experience with scientific, evidence-based research;
  • has knowledge and skills concerning quantitative and, preferably, qualitative research;
  • possesses strong interpersonal and communicative skills, can work independently as well as collaboratively, and has affinity for multi-disciplinarity;
  • is proficient in speaking/writing in English and, preferably, Dutch;
  • enjoys conceptual challenges and abstract thinking.

Conditions of employment

About the institute
The Institute of Education and Child Studies provides education for over 1500 students across various programs: Bachelor's, Academic Teacher Training Program (ACPA), Pre-Master's, and three Master's programs. The institute's staff believes in the power of collaboration. The academic staff provides education on and conducts research into how children and young people are raised, educated, and supported. They also investigate how differences in upbringing, education, and other forms of guidance impact children's development. Both in its research and in its teaching the institute focuses on how evidence-informed approaches can contribute to the optimal development of children, for instance through support programs, diagnostic and intervention strategies, and teaching methods. The institute offers several programs: Bachelor's in Pedagogical Sciences, Master's in Education and Child Studies, Research Master's in Education and Child Studies, Academic Teacher Training Program (ACPA), and the Educational Master's in Primary Education. Monthly meetings are held to discuss these educational and research themes. Additionally, there are regular informal gatherings that allow you to get to know your colleagues in a different way. Examples of these are pub quizzes, bake-offs, and table soccer matches.

The Faculty of Social Sciences
The Faculty of Social Sciences comprises five institutes: Center for the Study of Science and Technology, Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Education and Child Studies, Political Science, and Psychology. The faculty has approximately 7,000 students and 1,000 staff members. The Faculty of Social Sciences combines high-quality research with excellent education and a multidisciplinary approach. Visit the faculty's website for more information.
Information about the Institute of Education and Child Studies can be found at:

What we offer
A temporary employment contract for 12 months ( 0,8 fte is guaranteed, an additional 0,2 fte is subject to financing) in accordance with the Dutch Universities' Collective Labour Agreement (CAO UNL). With positive performance, the appointment will be extended by an additional 24 months. The salary ranges from a minimum of Euro 4.332,00 to a maximum of Euro 5.929,00 gross per month (scale 11) depending on qualifications and relevant work experience, based on a full-time workweek (38 hours).

Additionally, Leiden University offers excellent employment conditions. These include an annual year-end bonus (8.3%), holiday allowance (8%), excellent training facilities, paid parental leave, sabbatical leave, and the option to customize employment conditions through a benefits-choice model. All information can be found at: The Faculty of Social Sciences is located within walking distance of Leiden Central Station. If you come by car, you can park it at a discounted rate next to the faculty building.


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • €4332—€5929 per month
  • University graduate
  • 14338



Rapenburg 70, 2311EZ, Leiden

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