PhD – project: University Experiences and Civic-mindedness: What shapes ‘A Broader Mind’?

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • PhD – project: University Experiences and Civic-mindedness: What shapes ‘A Broader Mind’?
  • University Graduate
Are you interested in social development of young adults? Do you want to contribute to the development of civic-mindedness among university students? Please apply as a PhD candidate for this fully funded dissertation scholarship project.

FTE: 0,8 - 1


Job description

As a PhD candidate, you will contribute to the measurement and analysis of social development of students at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the A Broader Mind Longitudinal Study (ABMLS). You engage with students and teachers in the A Broader Mind for Students program to prepare the data collection, you analyze the data, and you write reports, blogs and journal articles on the research. We are seeking a talented researcher, with a commitment to social issues.

Your duties
  • Prepare online survey data collection among cohorts of students
  • Collect administrative and survey data on courses taken by students
  • Analyze longitudinal change in civic-mindedness, academic performance, professional orientation, and personality among students
  • Write reports for ABM staff, articles for international peer reviewed scientific journals, and blogs for students and educators
  • Completion of a maximum of 30 EC studies at the Graduate School of Social Sciences of the Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Complete a PhD dissertation; full description here:
  • Support the group leaders and mentors of the program ‘A Broader Mind for Students’
  • Participate in the research seminars of the Center for Philanthropic Studies and the Department of Sociology
  • Contribute to some teaching tasks of the Department of Sociology


  • You have a Master of Science (MSc) diploma in clinical, social or developmental psychology, pedagogical or educational science, sociology, political science, or other relevant social science – preferably in a two-year research master program
  • You have experience with analysis of longitudinal and/or multilevel survey data, evident from successfully completed courses in which you applied these methods; preferably experience in data mining and text analysis
  • You are interested in social development of young adults, quality of education, and social issues
  • You support open science: working in a reproducible way and sharing tools and data with the scientific community and the general public
  • You have good organizational and analytical skills, communication skills (including social media) and perseverance, ability to work in a team
  • You write and speak English well; you understand spoken Dutch, or are willing to take a language course to learn the Dutch language

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organisation. As a PhD candidate you are employed by the university. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,325 (scale 85.0) per month during the first year and increases to €2,972 (scale 85.3) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system for PhD's and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a good evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended to 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), contribution to commuting expenses
- a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge
- discounts on collective insurances (health care and car insurance)

About 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 endeavour – 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 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 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.

Faculty of Social Sciences
The Faculty of Social Sciences examines the major social problems of our time from multiple perspectives. From bullying at school to dealing with transnational immigration, from the rise of populist politicians to creating a self-reliant society. Only at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam you will find all the academic disciplines needed to understand these 'wicked problems': alongside the traditional disciplines such as sociology, anthropology and politics, we also research and teach the new social sciences such as communication science and management & organization science. We do not settle for easy answers in our teaching and research. Our researchers and students are critical thinkers and doers who work together to devise surprising solutions to the problems of today.

Working at the Faculty of Social Sciences means working with colleagues from a range of academic disciplines in an inspiring and personal work and study environment with excellent research facilities. We employ more than 250 staff members, and we are home to around 2,500 students.

About this project
The PhD project is financed by the board of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and embedded in the Center for Philanthropic Studies at VU. The center is part of the Department of Sociology, and conducts research on causes and consequences of philanthropy – donations of money, time, and body parts for collective enterprises. It consists of 14 researchers, including 5 PhD candidates. Since 1995, the Center has been the leading unit for research on philanthropy in the Netherlands and in Europe.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and motivation letter before 31 July 2020. The first round of job interviews will be executed online (through Zoom/Skype) and are planned for August 3-4, 2020. The second round is scheduled for August 10-11. In your application letter, please state whether you are available on these dates. We aim to select the successful candidate by August 14, 2020.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: René Bekkers
Position: Director, Center for Philanthropic Studies, and Professor at the Department Sociology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Phone number: +31205986493

No agencies

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