Post-doc Public conversations about science in times of crisis

Post-doc Public conversations about science in times of crisis

Published Deadline Location
5 May 16 Jun Amsterdam

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Are you committed to challenges at the crossroads of science and society? Are you eager to understand and improve the role of scientists, science communication and public engagement in public conversations about science in times of crisis? Are you curi...

Job description

Wicked problems need wicked communication. Science is increasingly expected to demonstrate relevance and deliver social impact. We have also seen how persisting controversies around complex and uncertain issues such as the pandemic, nitrogen pollution or the climate crisis have made the relation between science and society become strained. Science is contested in a public arena where trust and expertise are not taken for granted. Science communication may be important than ever, but has also become more challenging, in light of trends like digitalization, fragmentation and polarization of society. In the face of these developments, scientists, journalists and science communicators need to rethink their roles and responsibilities in the public domain. We believe that science communication can play an important role in co-shaping new roles and conditions for a fruitful democratic dialogue between science and society.
As a post-doc researcher in our team, you will empirically study and help shape science-society relations and interactions in times of crisis. How can we contribute to safeguarding democratic values in the lure of quick fixes and technocratic solutions? How can different forms of expertise be included in public conversations, policy and politics? How should we shape engagement in science when there is pressure to deliver scientific results and impacts quickly? How can artful reflection and imagination trigger a collective learning process in which we can reconceptualize the role of science in society, in times of complexity and uncertainty? How do we shift towards a science communication ecosystem that is more inclusive and adaptive and at the same time reliable and trustworthy?
The position will involve research in different action-oriented, transdisciplinary projects as well as teaching on the subject of science & technology studies, ethics, science communication and public engagement. The language of instruction is English and Dutch.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • have a PhD degree, preferably in the field of science and technology studies, public engagement, responsible research and innovation, research/ technology ethics or other discipline(s) that shows an integrated social sciences and natural sciences background;
  • have expertise in both qualitative and participatory research methods and you are open to transdisciplinary research work;
  • have affinity with art and design as creative methods of inquiry, reflection and dialogue
  • have published in refereed international journals or books;
  • have potential for, or experience with, obtaining research grants;
  • hold a network of relevant international contacts;
  • write and speak Dutch and English fluently;
  • are a team player;
  • have excellent teaching skills and you are an engaged and inspiring lecturer, as proven by student-evaluations;
  • are well capable to supervise a theoretical thesis, research projects and student internships.

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 €2.846 (scale 10)
and a maximum €4,474 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for a period of one year with a possible extension conditional upon assessment of adequate functioning. The maximum duration of the appointment will be 4 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,
  • solid pension scheme (ABP),
  • possibility to save holiday hours, for sabbatical leave,
  • child daycare facilities available on campus


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor - from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam's Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

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.


  • Assistant professor
  • Doctorate
  • 10685


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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