Assistant Professor (tenure track) Data Science and Health (1.0 FTE)

Assistant Professor (tenure track) Data Science and Health (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
14 Jan 15 Mar Utrecht

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Do you have a strong background in data science and computational methods, including programming skills and working with big data?

Job description

In human geography and social science, the relation between different dimensions of the environment with individual health is an old but cogent research problem. Over the last decades this problem - in particular the relationship between the physical environment and mental/physical health - received more and more attention in large-scale empirical research as well as in policy contexts. Environmental factors typically addressed include land use patterns (green and blue areas, recreational and sports facilities, urban densities), transportation system (e.g., walking and cycling facilities) and local air quality and noise. Over the past years new options for studying the impact of environmental factors on health were brought forward. One is the strongly increased availability of (open) environmental and health data. Our research programme has access to a variety of these data, both in house stored and via the CBS data environment in the context of ODISSEI. In addition, new computational methods allow for processing and combining data and finding meaningful patterns and relationships in these data through the use of data science techniques such as AI.

The new Assistant Professor will investigate the impact of the urban environment on health, based on advanced data science and computational techniques, applied on environmental and health data. Since these relationships are investigated within the department’s Urban Futures research programme, the research will pay specific attention to the way in which the relationships between physical environment and health interact with social contexts and structures.

With regard to teaching, the Assistant Professor will play a key role in the renewal of the Bachelor's  programme, as co-teacher in the first year Spatial Data and GIS course and in the transformation of our thesis project in year 3. In addition, s/he will teach courses in the Master's programmes of the department and supervise Bacherlor's as well as Master's theses.

Potential candidates have a strong background in data science and computational methods, including programming skills and working with big data. They can apply these techniques in the domain of physical environment and health, but they also have experience in analyzing the impact of the social context on health outcomes. In summary, the appointee will design an original research line on the impact of the urban physical and social environment on health, where integrative and interdisciplinary theoretical arguments are developed and tested with large-scale novel data and methods of analysis.


Utrecht University


The ideal candidate has

  • a PhD in human geography/data science/social science;
  • a background in computational methods, preferably in combination with a background in social science, such as human geography or sociology;
  • experience/skills in working with big data analyzing techniques;
  • a keen interest in the development and test of interdisciplinary theoretical arguments;
  • an excellent publication record and the willingness to acquire funding;
  • experience and interest in university teaching and the willingness to pursue the Utrecht University Basic Teaching Qualification;
  • good communication and teamplayer's skills; 
  • proficiency in Dutch and the English language; s/he should be able to teach in both languages or willing to master this skill within a very short period of time.

Utrecht University is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity in research, teaching and management. The university invites and encourages applications from all qualified individuals, including groups that are traditionally underrepresented in employment and hence may contribute to the further diversification of our institution.

Conditions of employment

For the tenure track we offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for six years in combination with a 4-year tenure track qualification programme. Your performance will be subject to annual evaluations as well as an end-term evaluation after 3.5 years. Following a positive evaluation - based on the faculty performance indicators - your employment will become permanent after four years, or sooner depending on the moment you qualify. In case the 3.5-year evaluation is not satisfactory, the contract will be terminated. A continuation after the first four years is exclusively possible for the purpose of compensation of maternity or parental leave or other recognized delays. Further career development to Associate Professor (level 2) is possible, depending on qualification. The gross salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience  - ranges between €3,746 and €5,127 (scale 11 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including the choice for a good balance between work and private (a good arrangement for leave, among other things), possibilities for development, an excellent pension scheme and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilization of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning has its focus on the enhancement of long-term economic developments of cities, how to cope with social inequalities, and how to accelerate sustainability transitions of cities and infrastructures. Research on these topics takes place within our research programme “Urban Futures: Transitions Towards Economic and Social Sustainability for Cities”.

Our research programme is the basis for our Research Master's Human Geography and Geographical Information Management and Applications and Professional Master's in Spatial Planning, Human Geography and International Development Studies. The Department also runs a large and highly appreciated Bachelor's programme and is part of the Netherlands Graduate School of Urban and Regional Research for PhD candidates. Unique characteristics of the Department are a special team focusing on innovations within teaching methods, its strong involvement in the transdisciplinary sustainability research theme and professional consultancy for public partners.


  • Lecturer; Assistant professor; Associate professor; Professor; Education
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €3746—€5127 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1137124



Domplein 29, 3512 JE, Utrecht

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