Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • University Graduate
Are you a passionate and committed researcher and an expert in cutting-edge quantitative methods? Would you like to be involved in frontier research on the quality of big data and administrative data and work with highly qualified researchers in an academic environment? If so, we hope that you will apply to become our new colleague in the Department of Sociology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

The PhD candidate will be hired for a 4-year full-time contract (alternative 5-year 0.8fte contract) starting in January 2021. The main responsibility of the newly hired PhD candidate researcher is to study the quality of large newly available data sources: big data and administrative data. While existing research on the quality of these data sources has focused primarily on non-participation leading to selection errors, this project extends this to include the effect of other sources of error such as measurement error and linkage error. The successful candidate will develop statistical methods that incorporate these types of error in the study of data quality and will apply the developed methods to datasets that are available at Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on issues related to pressing social issues (e.g. employment). For this purpose, (s)he will collaborate with methodologists from the Vrije Universiteit and Statistics Netherlands. Moreover, the new PhD candidate will have light teaching tasks (10% concentrated in the second and third year) in BSc or MSc courses in Statistics and Methodology at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

This vacancy is a part of the collaboration of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam with Statistics Netherlands (CBS). CBS is the primary source of official statistics in the Netherlands, producing important numbers that are used daily by the government, politics, and the media, for example through CBS StatLine.

Your duties
  • Develop statistical methods for the quality of big data and administrative data and apply them to real data
  • Conduct high-quality research in the field illustrated by international publications, presentations in conferences and communication of research results to the wider public
  • Support ‘open science’ and work in a reproducible way and share tools and data with the wider scientific community
  • Follow courses at the PhD level at the Graduate School of the Faculty of Social Sciences or elsewhere to collect 30 ECTS
  • Visit regularly Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in the Hague to collaborate with CBS staff


  • MSc degree in Statistics, Econometrics or a degree in Social Sciences or Economics that  includes an excellent background in statistics
  • Solid background in methodology and statistics; experience with log-linear and latent class models will be considered an asset
  • Ambitious and able to work independently and in a team
  • Ability to collaborate with academics and non-experts and to present complex statistical models to the latter group clearly
  • Excellent knowledge of the English language. Knowledge of (or willingness to learn quickly) Dutch is not required but will be considered an asset

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,395 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,061 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. 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 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 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
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge, discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance)
  • good paid parental leave scheme
  • child daycare facilities available on campus

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 the department of Sociology
The department of Sociology hosts over 50 fte of academic staff and organizes the bachelor and master education in sociology, as well as courses in methodology in the Faculty of Social Sciences ( The research of the department is organized in the research program Participation in Society (PARIS), that includes five theme groups: ‘Social Context of Aging’, ‘Social Inequality in the Life-course’, ‘Identity, Diversity and Inclusion’, ‘Social Conflict and Change’ and ‘Philanthropic Studies’.

This project is embedded in the ‘Social Inequality and the Life Course (SILC)’ research group of the department of Sociology. The SILC group (led by dr. Pavlopoulos) studies inclusion and exclusion in socio-economic distribution processes (education, labour) from a life course perspective. The group’s approach is strongly quantitative, and its members are experts in statistical modelling. It consists of several researchers from the VU, the CBS and the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI), such as Harry Ganzeboom and Aat Liefbroer.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until November 15, 2020. 

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: Dimitris Pavlopoulos
Position: Associate Professor
Telephone: +31 20 59 89254

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