PhD Candidate: Reflexive Regulation Using Narrative Methods of Service Provision for Vulnerable People (RUN study)

PhD Candidate: Reflexive Regulation Using Narrative Methods of Service Provision for Vulnerable People (RUN study)

Published Deadline Location
19 Nov 19 Dec Nijmegen

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Job description

To enable governmental regulatory agencies to better protect and listen to their citizens, critical thinkers have a part to play. As a PhD candidate, your research will focus on citizens in a vulnerable position and the services of regulatory agencies. You aim to co-produce innovative regulatory arrangements that enhance accountability and dialogue with this vulnerable group, thus improving connections between service users, providers and regulators.

Recent failures in listening to and helping citizens in a vulnerable position (think of the child benefits scandal or violence in youth care) have shown the complexity as well as necessity for governmental agencies to better protect and listen to citizens. This also goes for regulatory agencies like the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate or the Justice and Security Inspectorate that are responsible for ensuring the quality and safety of public services. To enable such a shift, users should become the touchstone of regulatory policies. The aim of the RUN study is to develop reflexive regulatory arrangements, using narrative methods, putting service users centre stage and enhancing accountability and dialogue. 
As a PhD candidate, you will contribute to the subproject at Radboud University and focus on children and young adults with mental disorders and behavioural problems and their parents and, in collaboration with stakeholders, co-produce innovative reflexive arrangements for regulation, based on narrative methods. The project aims to innovate and enhance connections between service users, providers and regulators. In addition, it is meant to develop a regulatory toolkit to enhance accountability and dialogue based on the use of narrative methods by networks of multi-sectoral service providers.

The PhD project comprises an action-oriented mixed method approach in which the researcher develops innovative regulatory arrangements together with stakeholders, including service users, service professionals and inspectorates. You will closely work together with stakeholders and researchers, including PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers from the other universities involved. In addition to research, you will participate in our teaching programmes.


Radboud University


  • You have a Master's degree in, for example, public administration, pedagogical sciences, health sciences, psychology, sociology, anthropology, or science and technology studies.
  • You have an affinity with regulation, service provision and groups in a vulnerable position in society.
  • You have excellent knowledge of advanced qualitative research methods, and are familiar with quantitative research methods and keen to further develop this knowledge.
  • You have academic excellence, as demonstrated by your grade transcripts and CV.
  • You have a good command of written and spoken Dutch and English (Fieldwork will be conducted in Dutch.)
  • You should be willing to travel for fieldwork.
  • You act with professional and scientific integrity and have excellent social skills as required for fieldwork and interviews.
  • You are able to empathically interact with vulnerable people and deal with their sometimes distressing situations in a professional manner.
  • You are able to work independently and in close cooperation with the daily supervisor and other members of the research project team and multidisciplinary research group.
  • You have strong skills in project management, flexibility, a proactive approach, and excellent academic writing skills, so that you will be able to finish the PhD project in time.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract).

  • Employment for 1.0 FTE.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,434 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,111 in the fourth year (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment  and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 29 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.
Additional employment conditions Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.


In our welfare state, the government is responsible for protecting and helping vulnerable people, such as children and young adults with mental problems and learning disabilities. But how responsive is the government towards the voices of these young people and their parents, and the experiential expertise they have regarding the services on which they depend so much? Could their experiences make a difference in the supervisory practices of regulatory agencies and, ultimately, in the quality of the services? In this project, which is a multi-centred research programme covering multiple universities and societal partners, we aim to develop narrative-based and responsive regulatory tools and theoretical insights to enhance client-centred regulation.

This PhD position will be part of a RUN study consortium consisting of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Radboud University Nijmegen (RU), the University of Groningen (RUG), and a wide range of societal partners, financed by the NWA (Dutch Research Agenda). Each of the participating universities focuses on developing reflexive regulatory arrangements for a specific group: persons with dementia in the community and their family carers (EUR); low‐educated people who are unemployed (RUG); and children with mental disorders and behavioural problems and their parents (RU). This vacancy is available in the latter project. You will be embedded within the department of Public Administration of the Nijmegen School of Management (NSM).

NSM is an academic centre of research and higher education, focusing on institutional and managerial issues within complex organisations. There are seven disciplines within NSM: Business Administration, Public Administration, Political Science, Economics and Business Economics, Social and Political Sciences of the Environment, Human Geography, and Spatial Planning. NSM strives for a multidisciplinary approach. NSM employs 330 FTEs, 75% of whom are academics. Currently, NSM has approximately 5,000 students. Research activities fall under the responsibility of the interdisciplinary Institute for Management Research (IMR). Under the motto 'Responsible Governance for Sustainable Societies', IMR focuses on academic research into the development, design and effectiveness of the public and private structures that regulate, govern or manage human interactions. You will also be embedded in the multidisciplinary Governance and Innovations in Social Services (GAINS) research group, which unites researchers working on matters concerning social policy, social services and transformative welfare governance. You will work closely with the consortium partners in the RUN study, for example Erasmus University and the University of Groningen, and with the societal consortium partners.

Radboud University
We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • €2434—€3111 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1176584



Houtlaan 4, 6525 XZ, Nijmegen

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