Published Deadline Location
11 Oct 15 Nov Amsterdam

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Job description

The postdoctoral researcher will undertake research on the rise of challenger parties and new political movements in member states of the European Union; the ability of democratic systems to respond to, and accommodate, the political challenges they raise; and whether and under which conditions these challengers threaten to undermine these very democratic institutions. This research takes place in the context of the EU-sponsored RECONNECT project (, in particular Work Package 5 on ‘democratic principles’ that is coordinated by professor Ben Crum. The research combines democratic theory development with comparative case analysis. Specifically, the postdoc is expected to actively contribute to the identification and development of key indicators by which the resilience of democratic systems can be assessed; to apply these indicators in the context of one or two selected EU member states; and to coordinate this research with the case studies executed by other university partners in the RECONNECT project.

Your duties
• analyse and report on literature on democratic theory and its institutional implications
• execute comparative country case analysis, in terms of political institutions and discourse 
• publish in international peer-reviewed journals
• apply research insights to current affairs analysis, for instance in the form of blogs or op-eds
• coordinate with RECONNECT partners across Europe
• write grant proposals for follow-up research (e.g. NWO VENI or ERC Starting Grant)
• help organize an academic workshop
• engage constructively and positively in the departmental life of the department of Political Science and Public Administration


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


• a PhD in political or social science, or in a closely related discipline (e.g. law or history) with sufficient affinity with social scientific research – in hand at the time of starting the contract
• must have proven experience in normative theory development
• have experience with executing qualitative comparative analysis of political institutions and discourses
• have an interest in interdisciplinary cooperation
• a research and publication record commensurate with his/her career stage
• be able to work independently and to make one’s own decisions
• be fluent in English
• a cooperative, collegial attitude and willingness to work as part of a collaborative international team.

Conditions of employment

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of € 2,640.- and a maximum € 4,166.- in accordance with salary scale 10, depending on your education and experience. The job profile (Onderzoeker 4) is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

Envisaged starting date is 1 March 2019. This is a temporary appointment for 2 years, starting with an initial contract of 12 months. Upon good performance and a positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for the remaining 12-month period.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
• a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
• 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
• considerable employer’s contribution to the ABP pension scheme
• contribution to commuting expenses
• optional model for designing a personalized benefits package


The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 23,000 students. We employ more than 4,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.


The Faculty of Social Sciences examines the major social problems of our time from multiple perspectives. From bullying at school to dealing with illegal immigration, from the rise of populist politicians to creating a self-reliant society. Only at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam you will find all the academic disciplines needed to understand these 'wicked problems': alongside the traditional disciplines such as sociology, anthropology and politics, we also research and teach the new social sciences such as communication science and management & organization science. We do not settle for easy answers in our teaching and research. Our researchers and students are critical thinkers and doers who work together to devise surprising solutions to the problems of today. 
Working at the Faculty of Social Sciences means working with colleagues from a range of academic disciplines in an inspiring and personal work and study environment with excellent research facilities. We employ more than 250 staff members, and we are home to around 2,500 students.

Department of Political Science and Public Administration
The Department of Political Science and Public Administration is committed to high quality academic education and research. Our educational programmes include political science (bachelor and master), is public administration & organization science (bachelor), public administration (master), law and politics of international security (master, with the Law Faculty) and a new international programme Philosophy, Politics and Economics (bachelor, with the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration). Our research focuses on public governance issues and is organized in two programmes: ‘Multi-layered governance in Europe and beyond’ and New modes of public governance’’ .


  • Postdoc positions
  • Economics; Law; Behaviour and Society
  • 32—40 hours per week, temporary
  • €2640—€4164 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 18353


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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