PhD position Just transformations in Global Health systems

PhD position Just transformations in Global Health systems

Published Deadline Location
21 Mar 9 Apr Amsterdam

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 9 Apr 2024).

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

Are you interested in the concepts of ‘justice’ and ‘solidarity’ in the area of Global Health? Do you think that fostering collaboration between a range of marginalized groups is a way that could lead to more impact? If yes, please apply!

Job description

The recent pandemic, mental health crises, climate change, malnutrition, maternal mortality, NCDs, and increasing inequities make it evident that our health systems are unsustainable. Conventional ways of innovating prioritize expert knowledge and are thus not well-geared to adequately respond to the complex health challenges we face today. Moreover, this expert-based approach tends to neglect the needs of vulnerable and marginalized groups and, worse, increase the divide in health outcomes between these groups and privileged groups. We therefore need a ‘just’ and ‘equitable’ transition towards a more sustainable health system. Key is to give voice in these innovation processes to those groups that have so far been largely neglected.

As a PhD researcher, you will contribute to strengthening an actionable participatory approach that puts justice and equity at its core, providing guidance on how to achieve it and highlighting its challenges and opportunities. To this end, it is important to investigate what a just and equitable health system transformation is, as well as to contest institutionalized ways of working and thinking, including institutionalized inequality. You will investigate whether "solidarity" is a concept that may, when operationalized in action, contribute to realizing a ‘just’ and ‘equitable’ transition in health systems. Together with your supervisors, you will select a case study (e.g., within the area of maternal health, mental health, neglected tropical diseases) and a study setting (e.g., Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Uganda, Nigeria) that you can study over a longer period of time. You will conduct field research that will be primarily transdisciplinary in nature, involving marginalized groups who normally do not engage.

Your duties
  • conduct a literature review on how the concepts of justice and equity is applied in sustainability transformations in the field of Global Health
  • facilitate the making of an innovation agenda by including marginalized groups using a system-oriented dialogue model
  • gain insights into capturing stories of often unheard voices and how these can have a meaningful and lasting impact on decision makers / key actors and their work by applying a range of qualitative methods
  • make a theoretical and methodological contribution by analyzing how the insights obtained from this study and broader knowledge base on the use of "solidarity" approach/paradigm contribute to fostering justice and equity in sustainability transformations in the field of Global Health


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • a master’s degree in the field of Global Health, International Public Health, Health Sciences, or a related field such as Anthropology, Sociology
  • proven experience with qualitative research methods, such as interviews and focus groups
  • experience with engagement of societal stakeholders (patients) in health research and innovation processes
  • strong affinity with transdisciplinary research, prior experience is a plus
  • a network in connection to potential case (e.g., maternal health, mental health, neglected tropical diseases) is a plus
  • able to work independent and within interdisciplinary teams (able to listen, flexible, adaptive, creative, pro-active)
  • excellent command of English is imperative
  • a strong research record and excellent writing skills

As a university, we strive for equal opportunities for all, recognising that diversity takes many forms. We believe that diversity in all its complexity is invaluable for the quality of our teaching, research and service. We are always looking for talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences. This also means that we are committed to creating an inclusive community so that we can use diversity as an asset.

We realise that each individual brings a unique set of skills, expertise and mindset. Therefore we are happy to invite anyone who recognises themselves in the profile to apply, even if you do not meet all the requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A challenging position in a socially engaged organisation. This appointment is for 4 years, with a division of duties as follows: 85% research - 15% education (as a coaching lecturer on working groups of courses of your preference). The trial period is 12 months. Your dissertation at the end of the fourth year forms the end of your employment contract.

At VU Amsterdam, you contribute to education, research and service for a better world. And that is valuable. So in return for your efforts, we offer you a salary of € 2.770,00 (PhD) and maximum € 3.539,00 (PhD) gross per month in the fourth year, for a full-time employment.

We also offer you attractive fringe benefits and arrangements. Some examples:
  • A full-time 38-hour working week comes with a holiday leave entitlement of 232 hours per year. For part-timers, this is calculated pro rata.
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • child daycare facilities available on campus
  • the possibility to work partly from home


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences
The position is offered within the Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences. The institute’s mission is to study and design interfaces between science and society to contribute both to a deeper understanding of innovation processes as well as a responsible implementation of research and innovation in society. Athena’s research program amongst other focuses on analysing complex global health challenges, designing interventions and conducting participatory monitoring and evaluation research. The section presently has a position vacant for a Postdoc/Lecturer.
For more information about the Athena Institute visit our website.

Faculty of Science
Researchers and students at VU Amsterdam’s Faculty of Science tackle fundamental and complex scientific problems to help pave the way for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, and from molecules to the moon: we cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. Our teaching and research have a strong experimentally technical, computational and interdisciplinary nature.

We work on new solutions guided by value-driven, interdisciplinary methodologies. We are committed to research, valorisation and training socially engaged citizens of the world who will make valuable contributions to a sustainable, healthy future.

Are you interested in joining the Faculty of Science? You will join undergraduate students, PhD candidates and researchers at the biggest sciences faculty in the Netherlands. You will combine a professional focus with a broad view of the world. We are proud of our collegial working climate, characterised by committed staff, a pragmatic attitude and engagement in the larger whole. The faculty is home to over 11,000 students enrolled in 40 study programmes. It employs over 1,600 professionals spread across 10 academic departments.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam stands for values-driven education and research. We are open-minded experts with the ability to think freely. - a broader mind. Maintaining an entrepreneurial perspective and concentrating on diversity, significance and humanity, we work on sustainable solutions with social impact. By joining forces, across the boundaries of disciplines, we work towards a better world for people and planet. Together we create a safe and respectful working and study climate, and an inspiring environment for education and research. Learn more about our codes of conduct

We are located on one physical campus, in the heart of Amsterdam's Zuidas business district, with excellent location and accessibility. Over 5,500 staff work at the VU and over 30,000 students attend academic education.

Diversity is the driving force of the VU. The VU wants to be accessible and receptive to diversity in disciplines, cultures, ideas, nationalities, beliefs, preferences and worldviews. We believe that trust, respect, interest and differences lead to new insights and innovation, to sharpness and clarity, to excellence and a broader understanding.

We stand for an inclusive community and believe that diversity and internationalisation contribute to the quality of education, research and our services.

Therefore, we are always searching for people whose backgrounds and experience contribute to the diversity of the VU community.


  • PhD
  • Health; Behaviour and society
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3882


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

Learn more about this employer


De Boelelaan 1085, 1081HV, Amsterdam

View on Google Maps

Interesting for you