PhD on Upper Secondary to Higher Education Challenge-Based Learning transition

PhD on Upper Secondary to Higher Education Challenge-Based Learning transition

Published Deadline Location
21 Feb 27 Feb Eindhoven

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 27 Feb 2024).

Browse the current job offers or choose an item in the top navigation above.

Are you interested in studying innovative educational practices in both secondary and higher education settings? Are you passionate about improving the quality of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education?

Job description

Challenge-Based Learning (CBL) supports the capacity development (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) necessary to become a STEM professional.  This approach is becoming more prevalent in both secondary and higher education settings due to its relevance to current societal challenges and that it motivates students to engage with and take ownership of their education.  However, as a novel approach in both upper secondary education (SE, in Dutch: Voortgezet Onderwijs, VO) and higher education (HE, In Dutch: Hoger Onderwijs, HO) settings it presents challenges for both the students and the teachers.

So far, both settings (VO/SE and HO/HE) have been working on these issues primarily on their own, leading to (part of) answers that are grounded in one setting, but that could be of interest to the other. Moreover, from a student's perspective, the student's transition from VO/SE to HO/HE with respect to CBL capacities have not been considered at both ends, leading for instance to unnecessary repetitions in HO/HE and/or lack of follow-up activities. 

The aim of this study is to gain an understanding on how the transition between upper secondary education and higher education can be streamlined both from a student and teacher perspective. 

To reach this aim, three sub questions are considered: 

SQ1: What are characteristics of CBL in both settings and what do we know with respect to transitions between both settings? 

SQ2: What are high-quality (i.e. relevant, consistent, practical, and effective) bridging activities to help the transition between both settings with respect to CBL? 

SQ3: What are the effects of the bridging activities and what mechanisms are at play that support or hinder CBL transitions?

The research will use an Educational Design Research approach with three phases:
  • Phase 1- Literature review and case studies with multiple perspectives to describe the landscape of CBL in both settings and provide the basis for a CBL transition design-aid,
  • Phase 2- Co-design activities: design and formative evaluation of bridging activities involving teachers and students in both settings using the transition design-aid and,
  • Phase 3- Implementation and evaluation of the designed bridging activities and the evaluation of their impact of the mechanisms related transition between settings and impact for the design aid.

Job Description

As a PhD student you will contribute to and be part of the programme of the Eindhoven School of Education (ESoE). ESoE performs research in both secondary and higher education. This project brings together both settings by investigating questions on the challenges of transition from secondary to higher Education in STEM domains in relation to student's and teacher's perspective in CBL practice.

The project contributes to the Sustainable Development Goal on Quality of Education and touches on topics around socio-scientific issues, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary education through perspective taking, collaborative and cooperative teamwork. The project will impact directly on education systems by improving the transition between upper secondary and higher education. In the long-term, the project will also contribute to the development of socially responsible STEM professionals that are global citizens. Moreover, you will contribute to the knowledge base concerning upper secondary to higher education CBL transition.

In your role you will:
  • Conduct research related to the three proposed phases
  • Take part in the co-design teams
  • Develop methodologies and instruments for the evaluations of the interventions
  • Disseminate your research results via academic publications and participation at national and international conferences.

We value diversity and inclusivity in our team, and we encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply. If you are eager to contribute to a field that shapes the way future STEM professionals learn and work together, we are looking forward to your application.


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)


  • A master's degree (or an equivalent university degree) in educational sciences, STEM education or any other related field.
  • A design research-oriented attitude.
  • Knowledge of or affinity with innovations in secondary and/or higher education.
  • Knowledge of or affinity with STEM education.
  • Positive attitude towards innovative teaching and learning.
  • Ability to work both independently and in an interdisciplinary team and interested in collaborating partners.
  • Excellent communication skills both verbally and in writing.
  • Creative and analytical mind.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English (C1 level) and Dutch (B2).

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:
  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2770 max. €3539).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • V34.7273


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

Learn more about this employer


De Rondom 70, 5612 AP, Eindhoven

View on Google Maps

Interesting for you