Postdoctoral Researcher Dynamics of Youth (0,8 FTE)

HOURS PER WEEK: 30 to 34
FACULTY: Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
DEPARTMENT: Afd. Educatie


Job description

The Department of Education at Utrecht University seeks a postdoctoral Researcher for supporting and advancing the Dynamics of Youth(DoY) research domain “Youth Education and Life Skills” (2022-2026).
The position consists of a research part and a programme development/organization part.
The research part
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that globalisation and digitalisation have connected people, cities, and countries in ways that vastly increase our individual and collective potential. It has also made it clear that the same forces have made the world more complex and more uncertain. In this changing, more diverse world, education is no longer just about teaching youth academic skills but also about helping them develop the tools and skills they need to confidently navigate through this world. To promote equal opportunities, scientific research points to education and digital technology, as preventative tools to raise awareness, minimize polarisation and build future global citizens. The impactful research of DoY colleagues is a call for action to increase inclusion in light of the growing diversity of youth. It underlines the role of education to mitigate the effects of risks and uncertainty, by equipping teachers, students, and parents with the facilities, knowledge, and skills necessary to cope with crises as they emerge, building their resilience in the process. Research is furthermore being conducted into the risks of educational shortfalls, performance anxiety and school drop-out.
Self-regulation of one’s own learning and teachers’ monitoring and regulation of their students’ learning forms an important topic within this domain. The research project focuses on determinants and consequences of teachers’ and learners’ understanding of and experiences, skills, and practices with self-regulation and life skills, at different levels of education (primary, secondary, vocational training and higher education) and in different contexts (e.g., within but also outside the classroom, and around the globe).
The program development/organization part
From 2022 onwards, the UU strategic theme Dynamics of Youth will be organized in four research domains. One of those domains is Youth Education and Life Skills. The domain is responsible for driving and deepening the interdisciplinary exchange on key issues related to Youth Education and Life Skills. Furthermore, the research domain will reach out to society and involve the community, stakeholders, societal partners, educational institutes and of course, youth themselves.
This startup phase of the domain offers ample opportunities for discussing and creating challenging goals, new structures, pioneering projects, and building strong communities. We will take on a radically new perspective, in that we provide ‘free playtime’ for (young) researchers to inspire and get inspired by other scholars from different disciplines, and by practitioners and learners with different backgrounds and from various (geographical) contexts.
Building such a new structure calls for an open and creative mind – and this also goes for the activities to be developed in the research domain. These can vary from discussions through symposia, sharing papers, creating funding opportunities, or developing community building events, to larger, more structural working communities that themselves organize a range of activities and build more structural networks, including societal partners, on various knowledge clusters within the domain.
The postdoctoral scholar will collaborate closely with the two domain chairs, the scholars working in this domain, other domains, societal stakeholders, community-based partners, youth, and educational institutes to:

  • conduct a literature review and jointly develop framework of determinants and consequences of teachers’ and learners’ understanding of and experiences, skills, and practices with self-regulation and life skills (preferably adopting an global perspective);
  • collect and analyze data (preferably in various countries and contexts) to understand determinants and consequences of teaching and learning self-regulation and life skill development on all involved (e.g., teachers, learners, and community-based partners);
  • prepare practitioner-friendly materials, together with stakeholders, based on the findings to support the work of professional learning communities;
  • produce scientific publications and co-develop ways to share results and communicate with societal partners and youth involved;
  • jointly develop the research domain’s organizational structure and diverse offers of activities;
  • support and inspire domain chairs and domain members in creating new and strengthening existing networks and communities;
  • actively and creatively work towards setting and reaching the goals for the research domain.


Required Qualifications: 

  • completed a PhD in Education, Human Geography and Planning, Psychology, Sociology, or a related field;
  • written and oral fluency in Dutch and English is crucial;
  • expertise in both qualitative and quantitative research among teachers and learners;
  • experience with collecting data in educational contexts;
  • knowledge about teaching and learning across educational and international contexts;
  • team work skills: building a team/community, keep it going, involve and retain partners, taking and sharing responsibility, good sense of group dynamics;
  • project development skills: being pro-active, creative, playful, flexible, and curious;
  • organizational skills (e.g., coordination of the domain, organizing meetings).

 Preferred Qualifications: 

  • experience with creating/organizing a community;
  • experience with collaborating with teachers, learners, stakeholders or societal partners, from diverse backgrounds;
  • experience with programming research tasks/materials;
  • has experience as a teacher in one or more of the domains relevant for the degree programmes of Educational Sciences.


We offer: 

  • a position (0.8 FTE) beginning September 1, 2022 until June 30, 2026. Approximately half of the time is reserved for research and approximately half of the time is reserved for community development and organization of the domain. If preferred, possible teaching (0.2 fte) in the degree programmes of Educational Sciences can be discussed. This is a job in which high-quality academic research and societal impact created by research go hand-in-hand.
  • a gross monthly salary, ranging between €3,561 and €4,490 (based on a full-time basis, scale 10 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) plus a yearly 8% holiday allowance in May, and an 8.3 % end-of-year allowance in December.
  • networking and support for personal development and career planning.
  • a wide range of secondary employment conditions, such as excellent technical infrastructure, savings schemes, excellent sports facilities, and parental and maternity leave. More information: terms of employment  .
  • The conditions of employment correspond with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU)  .
  • membership in a vibrant research and educational community.

About the organisation

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University  , the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht is a young and vibrant city with a large academic population, around 30 minutes south of Amsterdam. It combines a beautiful old city center with a modern university. Utrecht has an excellent quality of life, with plenty of green space and a strong bicycle culture.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences   is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social science, pedagogical sciences, psychology, and sociology. More than 5,600 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 850 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues. 

Additional information

For more information, please contact dr. Janneke van de Pol via mail.  


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To apply, please submit the following using the “Apply” button: 

  • a motivation letter (2 pages maximum) including a description of how you meet the job requirements and preferred qualifications;
  • contact details for three professional references;
  • and of course a CV (6 pages maximum).

This position will remain open until filled.
The interviews for the first round will most probably take place in the week of June 27th.

The application deadline is 17 June 2022.