Postdoc: Second Language Learning in Danish Social and Healthcare Education

Updated: 11 days ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 10 Jun 2024

The Danish School of Education (DPU), Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University invites applications for a postdoc position related to the research project Sociolinguistic Barriers and Potentials among Second Language Learners in Danish Social and Healthcare Education, financed by the Independent Research Fund Denmark, Humanities. The project runs for 28 months beginning in December 2024.

The postdoc position is full time (37 hours/week) for a duration of 26 months, starting on 1 December 2024 and ending on 31 January 2027. The position is located at DPU within the Department of Educational Anthropology and Psychology (Emdrup Campus).

The Danish School of Education is committed to diversity and encourages all qualified applicants to apply regardless of their personal background.

Research context

The research project Sociolinguistic Barriers and Potentials among Second Language Learners in Danish Social and Healthcare Education explores social and linguistic barriers and potentials among second language learners in Danish social and healthcare education (‘SOSU-hjælperuddannelsen’ and ‘SOSU-assistentuddannelsen’), an educational field which has attracted increasing political attention due to a drastic projected shortfall in healthcare personnel in coming years and high dropout rates. More than 30% of SOSU students are assumed to have Danish as a second language, representing more than 109 different nationalities and a vast array of linguistic repertoires.

The project focuses on the linguistic practices of students with Danish as a second language, the linguistic barriers and demands associated with different parts of their healthcare training, and how students respond to these barriers and demands in everyday interaction, drawing on linguistic and sociocultural registers of healthcare, education and care. The SOSU programme includes a variety of educational arenas for linguistic minority students, including healthcare training, language lessons and internships across nursing homes, hospital wards and private homes, where students are expected to interact with teachers, supervisors and co-students along with patients, elderly citizens, relatives and various kinds of healthcare personnel. An in-depth linguistic-ethnographic approach is applied, including extensive digital sound recordings, qualitative interviews and participant observation, to explore students’ linguistic practices, barriers and potentials, along with the various linguistic skills and sociocultural registers associated with becoming a ‘good SOSU worker’ across different institutional arenas.

The project includes two complementary linguistic-ethnographic studies placed in different parts of the Capital Region of Denmark (‘Region Hovedstaden’), each following and recording a cohort of SOSU students with Danish as a second language across different arenas of their training.

See more details at: Forskningsprojekt om frafald på SOSU-uddannelsen får støtte fra Danmarks Frie Forskningsfond (

The position

The selected candidate will work in close collaboration with project manager Nana Clemensen throughout the employment period, including planning and conducting fieldwork, processing and analysing data, writing Danish and international research articles, arranging seminars and advisory board meetings etc. Some data management tasks will also be carried out by a student assistant for parts of the project period.

The primary task of the postdoc is to plan and carry out the sub-project entitled Second Language Learning in Danish Social and Healthcare Education, which aims to explore linguistic minority SOSU helper students’ concurrent familiarisation with Danish vocational language and Danish healthcare practices across different educational arenas, including classrooms and healthcare institutions. Central in this project is the educational and institutional relationship between different parts of the SOSU programme and how each of them sustains students’ acquisition of Danish vocational language and healthcare training. The study will provide detailed knowledge about the linguistic and sociocultural composition of the SOSU helper programme, its embedded linguistic and pragmatic repertoires, and suggestions for the improved retainment of minority students. During 6 months of linguistic-ethnographic fieldwork across different arenas of the SOSU helper programme, the postdoctoral researcher will interview, observe and regularly sound-record a number of linguistic minority SOSU helper students along with their teachers and supervisors. These data will be produced in close collaboration with participants and local management.

Besides conducting and completing the linguistic-ethnographic sub-project, the postdoc is expected to:

  • Be an active collaborative partner in the research group
  • Publish independently (two peer-reviewed research articles) and in collaboration with the PI (one peer-reviewed research article) in relevant Danish and international peer-reviewed journals
  • Initiate and organise activities with the PI (initiate, co-organise and participate in conferences, seminars and webinars as well as other relevant activities)
  • Collaborate with the international advisory board
  • Organise and carry out a short research visit at a relevant research institution outside Denmark
  • Contribute to the popular dissemination of research findings
  • Carry out a small number of teaching-related tasks.

Applicants are encouraged to contact project manager Nana Clemensen on +45 93521707 or at [email protected]  for further information about the project.


Applicants will be required to hold a PhD degree or equivalent qualifications in Sociolinguistics, Anthropology or Ethnography. Applicants who are in the final stages (2-3 months) of submitting their PhD dissertation will also be considered qualified for application. Their application must include a main supervisor statement on the applicant’s expected submission date.

Applicants must be able to document solid experience in planning, conducting, analysing and disseminating sociolinguistic and/or linguistic-ethnographic fieldwork, preferably with participants of linguistic minority descent. As part of the application, applicants are asked to describe how their previous research experience and qualifications are of relevance for the position (1 page). Furthermore, the application must include a project description (3-5 pages), detailing the research question, its conceptual and methodological foundation and a timetable. It should be possible to complete this project during the period of employment.

The application must also include the full formal statement on the applicant’s PhD project if the PhD degree has been obtained.

Given the nature of the project’s empirical work, applicants must be fluent (or almost fluent) in Danish. Furthermore, applicants should master spoken and written English at an advanced academic level. Experience in publishing in English will be considered an advantage. Proficiency in other languages will also be considered an advantage and must be listed in the application.

Please note that applications that do not include uploaded publications (maximum five) as well as a formal statement on the PhD project will not be considered.

Work environment

Active participation in the daily life of the department is a high priority, and we emphasise the importance of good working relationships, both among colleagues and with our students. In order to maintain and develop the department’s excellent teaching and research environment, the selected candidate is expected to be present at the department on a daily, or at least weekly, basis.

We respect the balance between work and private life and strive to create a work environment in which that balance can be maintained. For further information, visit Family and work-life balance (

International applicants

International applicants are encouraged to check Family and work-life balance  and Attractive working conditions  for further information about the benefits of working at Aarhus University and in Denmark, including healthcare, paid holidays and, if relevant, maternity/paternity leave, childcare and schooling. Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including a relocation service  and career counselling for expat partners. For information about taxation, see Taxation aspects of international researchers’ employment by AU .

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including a relocation service and career counselling for expat partners. For information about taxation, check the Taxation aspects of international researchers' employment by AU

The Danish School of Education

The School of Education at Aarhus University is Denmark’s largest centre for research and teaching in the fields of Education, Didactics and Learning, with approximately 240 full-time researchers, including 80 PhD students, and 4,500 Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students. The school’s activities are characterised by a high degree of interdisciplinarity and close interaction with society, including businesses, organisations, government agencies and institutions, both in Denmark and abroad.

Qualification requirements

Applicants should hold a PhD or equivalent academic qualifications.


The Faculty of Arts refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities (the Appointment Order) .

Aarhus University also offers a junior researcher development programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here:

If nothing else is noted, applications must be submitted in English. The application deadline is at 11.59 pm Danish time (same as Central European Time) on the deadline day.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.

Shortlists may be prepared with the candidates that have been selected for a detailed academic assessment. A committee set up by the head of school is responsible for selecting the most qualified candidates. See this link for further information about shortlisting at the Faculty of Arts: shortlisting

Faculty of Arts

The Faculty of Arts is one of five main academic areas at Aarhus University.

The faculty contributes to Aarhus University's research, talent development, knowledge exchange and degree programmes.

With its 550 academic staff members, 240 PhD students, 9,500 BA and MA students, and 1,500 students following continuing/further education programmes, the faculty constitutes a strong and diverse research and teaching environment.

The Faculty of Arts consists of the School of Communication and Culture, the School of Culture and Society and the Danish School of Education. Each of these units has strong academic environments and forms the basis for interdisciplinary research and education.

The faculty's academic environments and degree programmes engage in international collaboration and share the common goal of contributing to the development of knowledge, welfare and culture in interaction with society.


The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.
Aarhus University

Aarhus University is an academically diverse and research-intensive university with a strong commitment to high-quality research and education and the development of society nationally and globally. The university offers an inspiring research and teaching environment to its 38,000 students (FTEs) and 8,300 employees, and has an annual revenues of EUR 935 million. Learn more at

Similar Positions