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15 Feb 1 Apr Amsterdam

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Job description

Would you like to be trained to become part of a new generation of cultural heritage managers and to work, with a prestigious European fellowship, in an international and multidisciplinary team of heritage researchers? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Location:  Amsterdam (NL), with secondments in Warsaw (PL) and Ispra (It)
FTE: 1,0

Job description
The affordances of serious games and commercial of-the-shelf games as educational strategies are highlighted in recent literature. This project will explore how students, professionals and stakeholders can be trained in collaborative heritage planning through digital game-based learning. You will be hosted by the Spatial Information Laboratory (SPINlab) and the CLUE+ institute at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, which have contributed substantially to the above-mentioned literature. For the theoretical part of the project, you will scrutinize the specific demands that heritage planning makes on digital game-based learning, including training participants to appreciate the historical layeredness of the landscape (temporal change), the relationship with intangible heritage and the potential to improve the area through new uses of the heritage. In addition, you will investigate how game-based learning can support participants to share their views and proposals for change with others participating in collaborative heritage planning projects. You will engage with experts on gamification at the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (through a secondment in Ispra) and develop a framework for adapting the affordances of game-based learning to these specific needs. For the empirical part, you will apply and evaluate the framework in practice in educational settings in the Netherlands and in Poland (secondment in Warsaw).

Your duties

  • Carry out research and training as scheduled in a Personal Career Development Plan;
  • Complete secondments in Poland and Italy;
  • Actively contribute to the activities of the HERILAND training network, including network-wide workshops, surveys and Living Labs, the HERILAND Handbook for Heritage Planning, project reports, a traveling exhibition and a final conference;
  • Deliver oral and poster presentations at academic conferences;
  • Write at least 2 peer reviewed papers together with your supervisors and complete a PhD dissertation


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • An (R)MA/MSc or MPhil degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. Educational Studies, Gamification, Spatial planning, Urban studies, Digital Humanities, (Historical) Geography);
  • Excellent research skills; research experience by means of scientific publications will be favoured (e.g. conference papers, journal articles, book chapters);
  • Excellent written and spoken English;
  • Strong cooperative attitude, strong organizational skills, willingness to engage in international, interdisciplinary collaborative research and a willingness to travel for research, workshops, conferences and secondments;
  • Following the EU Marie Curie eligibility criteria, the researcher to be appointed must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to his/her recruitment. Moreover, he/she shall at the date of recruitment be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of the research career and have not been awarded a doctoral degree.

Conditions of employment

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts € 2.325,- per month during the first year and increases to € 2.835,- per month during the third year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile (promovendus) is based on the university job ranking system.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 2 years.
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
  • contribution to commuting allowance based on public transport
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge


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 School of Business and Economics (SBE) provides high-quality education and excellent research in business administration and economics with a focus on contributing to the social, economic and ecological challenges of our time. Whether it is the use of robots in society or big data, labour market participation or flexibility in the labour market, traffic jams or the housing market, flash crashes in the stock market or choice behaviour in gambling, leadership or change management: we believe in goal-oriented scientific research and understand that progress in academics, the business community and society is achieved through cooperation, openness and social responsibility.

At SBE, all of our highly-motivated colleagues work together closely in a stimulating, dynamic and international environment to achieve our collective goal of encouraging society to make informed choices. Approximately 4,200 Bachelor’s and Master’s students and 1,700 executive students are enrolled at the School, and employs roughly 500 people.

The HERILAND project at CLUE+ research institute
As a PhD student, you will be based at the Spatial Information Laboratory, the GIScience research and education institute,, part of the Department of Spatial Economics in the School of Business and Economics. Furthermore, you will be linked to CLUE+ (, the interdisciplinary VU-research Institute for Culture, Cognition, History and Heritage, and be part of the project HERILAND, coordinated by CLUE+.
HERILAND is a European network that trains 15 young researchers in the dynamic field of spatial heritage. It is a consortium of 7 key academic and non-academic organizations, with 21 partners in civil society and business, from the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Poland, Israel and Italy. The project aims to empower a new generation of academics, policy makers, practitioners, professionals and entrepreneurs. In the 15 PhD positions, we address five key challenges to the heritage management of the 21st century:

  1. The Spatial Turn (the present PhD vacancy is part of this challenge)
  2. Democratisation;
  3. Digital Transformations;
  4. Shifting Demographies and Contested Identities;
  5. Changing Environments.

As one of these 15 young researchers, you will be provided with advanced training, combining theoretical and instrumental knowledge in a series of research seminars, living labs and secondments with our public and private partners. By doing this, you will profit from and contribute to a new pan-European, trans-national, interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral research and training standard.
The HERILAND project is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 813883. For further information on Heriland, partners and other vacancies, see Applications for more than one position are allowed.


  • PhD
  • Economics; Behaviour and society
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2325—€2835 per month
  • University graduate
  • 470


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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