One Postdoctoral and Two PhD positions at the Department of Sociology

Faculty/Services:  Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Educational level:  Master
Function type:  PhD position
Closing date:  14 December 2022
Vacancy number:  10873

Are you interested to study inclusion and participation in health research and health practices from a sociological perspective in an interdisciplinary team?


We are looking for two PhD candidates and one Postdoctoral researcher who will work on the interdisciplinary METAHEALTH project, which includes an ethnographic panel study, the Sarphati Etnografie, and focuses on health as a social practice, in particular on oral and gut microbiome health, in families living in vulnerable positions. Employment will be at the University of Amsterdam, department of Sociology, with embedment in the programme group Political Sociology. A third PhD candidate is recruited at ACTA.


Within the METAHEALTH project we have sub-projects which aim to: 1) obtain in-depth knowledge about the interaction between social practices in the context of inequality and care institutions and micro-organisms during pregnancy and the first thousand days, 2) learn how care can better match the needs and complex daily reality of children and families which are hitherto underrepresented in research and intervention and 3) based on this knowledge, co-create interventions for the prevention of overweight and tooth decay.


METAHEALTH is funded by NWA-ORC.


What are you going to do


PhD 1 - inclusion and participation in health research - will:

  • perform a literature review of best practices and processes explaining inclusion and engagement in research with a focus on intersectionality, local contexts, adaptation and complex systems;  
  • conduct participatory and co-creation activities with stakeholders (families, professionals, local community workers) and develop forms of engagement in research which are beneficial to all parties;   
  • study how, when and where specific risks, vulnerabilities, know-how and trust translate into ill health or not, potentially using data available within the consortium;
  • collaborate closely with PhD2 and other researchers in METAHEALTH;
  • publish articles and write a dissertation;
  • participate in teaching (10% of the working time).


PhD 2 - ethnography of health practices - will:

  • identify health practices and understand the longitudinal development of health practices in families with young children;
  • study the potential effect of health practices on weight and/or dental health, for example by using ethnographic insights into practices in a survey (overlaps with PhD1);
  • identify obstacles and opportunities for healthy practices in collaboration with stakeholders (families, professionals, local community workers) (overlaps with PhD1);
  • use existing longitudinal material from 30 families collected over several years; and develop a deep understanding of existing material in the ethnographic panel;
  • recruit expecting mothers/parents especially those hitherto underrepresented in the panel and do interviews and observations;
  • interpret and code interviews and observations and further develop codes and analytic procedures particularly for longitudinal ethnographic data and an interdisciplinary approach;
  • collaborate with PhD1, with the team working at the Sarphati Ethnography and with other members of METAHEALTH;
  • publish articles and prepare a dissertation;
  • participate in teaching (10% of the working time).


The Postdoctoral researcher will:

  • substantially contribute own ideas to the research questions around inclusion (see also PhD1) and health practices (see also PhD2);
  • collaborate with PhD 1 at FMG in enhancing inclusion of and collaboration with families in vulnerable conditions;
  • collaborate with PhD 2 at FMG in recruitment, data gathering and data analysis of Sarphati Ethnography;
  • become the daily lead of ethnographic panel / Sarphati Ethnography and be a key figure in the interdisciplinary collaboration;
  • supervise or collaborate with a PhD candidate at ACTA in engaging stakeholders and system mapping;
  • publish articles and report about progress;
  • preferably contribute to teaching (up to 20% of the working time, to be determined in mutual consultation).


What do you have to offer


In order to qualify for the PhD positions, you have:

  • a Master’s degree in sociology, anthropology or a related discipline;
  • demonstrable experience in qualitative methods;
  • (near) perfect proficiency in spoken and written Dutch and English.


For the PhD 1 position experience with one or more of the following is a pre: inclusion, engagement or participatory methods, complexity/system approaches, as well as knowledge of non-dominant perspectives, vulnerability, minority groups or groups that are underrepresented in health research and policies.


For the PhD 2 position demonstrable experience in qualitative and ethnographic methods of data-collection and analysis is required. You also need to be motivated to closely study everyday health practices at the household level in the context of lived inequalities and trust in professionals.


In order to qualify for the postdoctoral researcher position you have:

  • a PhD degree in sociology, anthropology, or a related discipline; the degree must be obtained before employment starts;
  • a record (appropriate to career stage) of publications that demonstrates your ability to conduct research which is internationally recognized as contributing to the field;
  • demonstrable expertise in conducting qualitative/ethnographic research in health contexts;
  • experience with or willingness to develop interdisciplinary collaboration and research;
  • experience with and ambition to contribute to research and theories on health practices, trust, care, vulnerability or inclusion;
  • good organizational and communication skills and excellent proficiency in spoken and written English.


Experience or affinity with participatory action research is a pre, as is knowledge of non-dominant perspectives, vulnerability, complexity/system approaches, minority groups or groups that are underrepresented in health research and policies is a and affinity with and some experience in teaching is.


For all positions we are looking for candidates who are:

  • creative and innovative;
  • intellectually curious and eager to learn;
  • able and willing to work both independently and collaboratively in an interdisciplinary context.


What we can offer you


Preferred starting date (all positions) is March 2023, or shortly thereafter.


The PhD positions concern full-time employment of 38 hours per week (1,0 fte). The initial employment term will be for one year, with a probationary period of two months. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of three years (for a total duration of four years), which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. The gross monthly salary will be €2541 in the first year and will increase to €3247 in the final year based on full-time employment of 38 hours per week and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. The job profile 'promovendus' is applicable.


The postdoctoral position concerns part-time employment of 30,4 hours per week (0,8 fte). Additional teaching time may in mutual consultation be included in the contract. The initial employment term will be for one year, with a probationary period of two months. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of three years (for a total duration of four years). The starting salary will be based on qualifications, expertise and relevant work experience, ranging from a minimum of €3974 to a maximum of €5439 gross per month based on full-time employment of 38 hours per week, in keeping with salary scale 11, as per the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. The job profile 'onderzoeker 3' is applicable.


We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.


The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.


What else do we offer

  • a position in which initiative and input are highly valued;
  • an enthusiastic and warm team that is open to new colleagues;
  • an inspiring academic, interdisciplinary and international working environment in the heart of Amsterdam with the opportunity to  collaborate with, amongst others, ACTA, GGD Amsterdam, VU University and Hogeschool Amsterdam.


About us


The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. The social and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.


Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.




Do you have any questions, or do you require additional information? Please contact:


  • Christian Bröer (after 11 December), Associate Professor in Sociology,


Job Application


Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application.


The Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences strives for and puts conscious efforts into having a work and academic environment that is inclusive. We commit to providing the grounds for equal treatment and empowering you to become a full participating member of our academic community, regardless of your background, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability and/ or age. We especially invite members from historically disadvantaged/under-represented groups to apply.


Applications should include the following material bundled in one single .pdf which we kindly request you to upload on the next page in the field labled 'CV/Resume' (not the movitation letter field):


  • your letter of motivation for the position, including some provisional ideas about the direction you would like to go in the research (2 pages max.);
  • your Curriculum Vitae, including a list of education and academic qualifications, earlier positions, research and teaching experience, a list of publications and conference presentations, and any other relevant qualifications and experience;
  • contact information for two academic references (no letters of recommendation at this stage);
  • for the postdoctoral position: your PhD certificate.


The application period closes on 14 December 2022. Applications received after the deadline, which are not sent via the link or are incomplete, will unfortunately not be considered.


Selected candidates will be invited for an interview which will be held on 10 or 12 January 2023.


The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

If you encounter Error GBB451/ GBC451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.

No agencies please.