PhD positions in the ERC project FluidKnowledge

PhD positions in the ERC project FluidKnowledge

Published Deadline Location
17 Mar 27 Apr Leiden

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The institute Centre for Science and Technology Studies of the Faculty Social and Behavioural Sciences is looking for 2 PhD positions in the ERC project FluidKnowledge (1,00 FTE)

Job description

The FluidKnowledge team will investigate the past, present and future of evaluating ocean science. Ocean science, like many fields, is under great pressure to be both scientifically excellent, and relevant to industry, and relevant to the future of the planet. How do steering efforts toward interdisciplinary engagement and societal relevance relate to other norms and criteria of scientific quality (e.g. excellence, global competitiveness) in actual practice? 

  1. Regarding the past, we ask how research priorities in ocean science evolved until now, by collecting quantitative data on ocean science worldwide. Which lines of inquiry became hot topics, and which died out? Who became global players, who ended up in the periphery? Who published on what, in which interdisciplinary collaborations?
  2. Regarding the present, we analyze the knowledge cultures in different European marine institutes. This is where research evaluation and the daily practice of research come together. We will study how researchers do their work: in labs, on ships, during team meetings, and in supervisory meetings.
  3. Regarding the future, we will look at priority setting in science policy. We will study how expectations about the role of ocean science are formulated in European policies. Which values and priorities will ocean science be held accountable to? How do policy makers and ocean scientists work together? How and when does this fail?

Key responsibilities 

The primary task of the PhD candidates will be to contribute to an international research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) on how evaluation shapes ocean science. Candidates will pursue a PhD in Social Sciences. The PhD candidates will be based in Leiden and will become part of the Science and Evaluation Studies (SES) research group at CWTS, led by Professor Sarah de Rijcke. De Rijcke is also the PI of the ERC project. The PhD candidates will be enrolled in the graduate training program of the Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science, Technology, and Modern Culture (WTMC), and will also become members of the graduate school of the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Studies of Leiden University.

The PhD candidates are expected to carry out qualitative empirical research, and contribute to (academic) debates by publishing results in relevant outlets as part of a team, as well as independently. They will undertake ethnographies on the knowledge cultures in different European marine institutes. The PhD candidates will work closely together with the PI and two postdoctoral researchers.


Leiden University


  • A Master degree in Science and Technology Studies, Sociology of Science, Anthropology of Science, or a related field;
  • a proven track record of interdisciplinary collaboration with researchers from varied areas beyond the original training discipline;
  • strong skills in designing, organizing and executing qualitative research, especially in conducting interviews and participant observation (an interest in methodological innovation is appreciated);
  • strong analytical capacity;
  • willingness and proven ability to do empirical research independently;
  • ability to work in teams;
  • willingness to travel and do fieldwork abroad;
  • fluency in spoken English and excellent writing skills in English.

Conditions of employment

These fulltime PhD positions will initially be for one year, with potential for renewal. Salary for a fulltime position ranges from € 2325  gross in the first year up  to € 2972 gross per month in the fourth year, in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at


Universiteit Leiden

Leiden is a typical university city, hosting the oldest university in the Netherlands (1575). The University permeates the local surroundings; University premises are scattered throughout the city, and the students who live and study in Leiden give the city its relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere.

Leiden University is one of Europe's foremost research universities. This prominent position gives our graduates a leading edge in applying for academic posts and for functions outside academia. More at


Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences comprises five institutes: Education and Child Studies, Political Science, Psychology and Cultural Anthropology & Development Sociology, and the Centre for Science and Technology Studies. The Faculty is home to 5,000 students and 600 members of staff. Our teaching and research programmes cover diverse topics varying from adoption to political behaviour. For more information, see

The Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) is an interdisciplinary research institute that studies scientific research and its connections to technology, innovation, and society. As a leading research, consulting, and training center, CWTS is dedicated to increasing our understanding of scientific quality, societal impact, and other related concepts. CWTS studies the conditions and consequences of research evaluation for the generation of new knowledge, and the role of research in innovation processes. Special attention is paid to the value of bibliometric and scientometric tools to support the evaluation and management of scientific research. On the basis of its research, CWTS wishes to contribute to the debates about the role of science in society. Research at CWTS is organized in three research groups: Quantitative Science Studies (QSS), Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies (STIS), and Science and Evaluation Studies (SES).

The SES research group analyses the politics and practices of research governance, and does systematic empirical research on how formal and informal governance practices (including evaluation) are re-shaping academic knowledge production. The group takes as a starting point that evaluation processes have constitutive potential - they shape those knowledge practices that are claimed to be simply ‘assessed’ or measured. A crucial societal mission of the group is to contribute to shaping contemporary debates on responsible research governance, evaluation and metrics uses (including policy implications). The research focus of the SES group is part of the research mission of the CWTS, which can be found here:


  • PhD scholarship
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2325—€2972 per month
  • University graduate
  • 19-132



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