PhD Candidate - The Epistemic Progress of the University

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • PhD Candidate - The Epistemic Progress of the University
  • University Graduate
FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

The PhD position is part of the research project “The Epistemic Progress of the University” (funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation). The aim of the project is to investigate the epistemic responsibilities of the university. We do this by developing a taxonomy of epistemic responsibilities in a Delphi study and we will organise co-creation workshops to discuss the taxonomy and make the taxonomy feasible, transparent and as objective as possible and finalize this taxonomy so it can be tested in a number of universities

The project is based at the Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. For more information on the taxonomy, please visit our first draft of the taxonomy here:  The PhD candidate will be part of the Theoretical Philosophy Group and the Research Integrity Group.

We are looking for a PhD candidate that is interested in answering the following questions; what and how can a taxonomy help universities to take their responsibilities to foster epistemic progress? How can epistemic progress be measured? And what procedures help research institutions to help prevent research misconduct and questionable research practices?

Under supervision of assistant professor (Dr. J.K. Tijdink), professor of Methodology and integrity (Prof. dr. L.M. Bouter) and professor of Philosophy (Prof. dr. R. van Woudenberg), the PhD student will find theoretically grounded empirical answers to the abovementioned questions using qualitative (Delphi Study, Cocreation workshops) and quantitative research methods. The results will lead to several international publications and to a complete dissertation.

The start of the PhD trajectory is planned for January 2021 with a total duration of 4 years. The candidate will be part of the department of Philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit and will collaborate with the department of Ethics, Law and Humanities of the Amsterdam University Medical Center.
  • the PhD Student will work under supervision of the members of the research group and will join all activities organized by the Theoretical Philosophy group and the Research Integrity lunches
  • the PhD student will design, preregister, perform and report a Delphi study, a co-creation workshop and a pilot to test the resulting taxonomy of epistemic responsibilities
  • the PhD student coordinates and manages the data collection and performs the data analyses under supervision of the research team;
  • the trajectory will result in 4-5 articles in leading journals and in a PhD dissertation
  • the PhD student will participate in the VU PhD training program
  • the candidate will be involved in teaching activities related to research integrity at the Vrije Universiteit and the Amsterdam University Medical Center


We are looking for a highly motivated and talented candidate who is both passionate about academic research, and aspires to improve the quality of academic research and education. The candidate should have a finished Master degree in psychology, social sciences, philosophy, biomedical sciences, health related sciences or a related discipline with a specific interest in research. Preferably the candidate has participated in research and has some experience in performing literature research, organizing and performing empirical (qualitative) research, the use of statistical methods in data analysis and experience in writing a research publication. Strong communicative skills and the ability to connect with different target groups are important for this project. Moreover, considering the multidisciplinary nature of the project, the candidate needs to be curious and persistent in pursuing different fields of research. He/she is a team player, capable of working independently, creative, ambitious and likes to initiate new ideas or proposals. He/she is willing to reflect and improve his/her research skills, and is reliable, eager to learn and conscientious. A flexible work spirit and excellent planning and organizational skills are recommended. Finally, because of the nature of the project, we prefer a candidate who has excellent skills in English and has a willingness to learn Dutch if applicable. 

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 total duration of 4 years.
Additionally, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge

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 Humanities
The Faculty of Humanities links a number of fields of study: Language, Literature and Communication, Art & Culture, History, Antiquities and Philosophy. Our teaching and research focus on current societal and scientific themes: from artificial intelligence to visual culture, from urbanization to the history of slavery, from ‘fake news’ in journalism to communication in organizations. We strive to ensure small group sizes. Innovative education and interdisciplinary research are our hallmarks.

Working at the Faculty of Humanities means making a real contribution to the quality of leading education and research in an inspiring and personal work and study climate. We employ more than 250 staff members, and we are home to around 1,300 students.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button until November 18, 2020. Applicants are requested to write a cover letter in which they describe their abilities and motivation, accompanied by a curriculum vitae and two references (name(s) and e-mail address(es)). The job interviews are planned for the 27th of November and will take place online. Please take this into account when applying for the position.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: Samira van der Loo
Position: Communication & Event manager

Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.

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