Postdoctoral Position in Education: Teachers who stay in the Profession

Updated: about 1 month ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 18 Apr 2024

The Danish School of Education (DPU), Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University invites applications for a postdoctoral position related to the research project “Why do they stay? Exploring the relationalities of teachers who stay in the profession, thereby rethinking retention”, which is funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark.

The postdoc position is a full-time (37 hours/week) position for 32 months with a possible extension to 36 months and is expected to begin on 1 August 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter. The position is based at DPU within the Department of Educational Psychology (Campus Copenhagen) and is affiliated with the research programme Teachers and Teaching: Teacher Education, Practice, Professional Development.

The research project

The research project “Why do they stay? Exploring the relationalities of teachers who stay in the profession, thereby rethinking retention” aims to explore why teachers stay in the profession, with a particular focus on teachers in public primary and lower secondary schools in Denmark. The project contributes to an incipient international field of educational research by offering insights into what contributes to retention. Furthermore, the project offers a much-needed rethinking of the concept of retention. The project is structured around four independent work packages (WP). The first WP explores how figures for teacher attrition and retention vary within and across municipalities and generates the foundation for the selection of cases in WP2–4. The second WP, which the successful applicant will work on in close collaboration with Associate Professor Helle Plauborg (project leader) and the international advisory board members, explores why newly qualified teachers stay in the profession. Newly qualified teachers are namely the group of teachers most likely to leave the profession, in Denmark and elsewhere. The third WP explores why long-serving teachers stay in the profession, as they make up the majority of teachers in many Western countries, and provides insights into long-term perspectives on retention. The fourth WP focuses on exploring which perspectives on retention apply specifically to and across newly qualified and long-serving teachers and rethinks the concept of retention in light hereof. The project is founded on the principle of ontological relationality and employs posthumanist theory to study teachers’ professional lives as entangled with e.g. historical, political, organisational, personal and social aspects.

The position

The primary task of the postdoc is to specify, plan and carry out WP2. In WP2, 24 teachers are recruited from three municipalities with a high, medium and low, respectively, proportion of unqualified teachers in teaching positions. Two schools will be included from each of these municipalities. The successful applicant will in collaboration with Helle Plauborg and a PhD student develop a new approach to collective biographies and memory work through which the empirical material will be generated. The new approach to collective biographies involves articulating personal experiences through written memories, future imaginaries and subsequent collective analysis of these articulations as told and written by the 24 teachers themselves during a workshop. The postdoc is also expected to be an active collaborative partner on WP4.

Apart from carrying out WP2 and contributing to WP4, the postdoc is also expected to:

  • Be an active collaborative partner in the research team and in the research programme Teachers and Teaching: Teacher Education, Practice, Professional Development
  • Publish research findings independently and collaboratively in relevant international peer-reviewed journals
  • Collaborate with the project’s international advisory board consisting of Professor Geert Kelchtermans (KU Leuven), Professor Qing Gu (University College London) and Professor Marco Snoek (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences) 
  • Plan and execute a three-week research stay at KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Contribute to the dissemination of research results at at least two international conferences and to the wider public.

Applicants are encouraged to contact Principal Investigator Helle Plauborg at [email protected]  for further information about the project.


Applicants must hold a PhD degree or equivalent qualifications awarded no more than 4 years ago in Educational Studies, Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology or a related field within the Humanities or Social Sciences. Applicants must also be able to demonstrate:

  • Solid experience in planning and carrying out ethnographic field work along with analytical use of preferably posthuman theory
  • A relevant international, high-quality research profile, including experience of international publication and research dissemination.

As part of the application, applicants are asked to describe how their previous research experience is of relevance for the position (1 page). Furthermore, the application must include a project description (3-5 pages) detailing the WP, research questions, its conceptual and methodological foundation, ethical considerations and a timeline. It must be evident that the WP can be completed during the employment period. The application should also feature the formal statement on the PhD project and up to five publications. Proficiency in spoken and written English at an advanced academic level is essential. Proficiency in Danish is likewise essential due to the nature of the project’s empirical work.

For more details about the project, prospective applicants are encouraged to contact Principal Investigator Helle Plauborg at [email protected] .

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 successful applicant 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 .

The Danish School of Education

The Danish 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. For more information on the school’s research and educational profile, please visit: .

Further information

Please contact Associate Professor Helle Plauborg, Principal Investigator, for further information: [email protected] , +45 2548 2845.

Workplace: The Danish School of Education, Campus Copenhagen, Tuborgvej 164, 2400 Copenhagen NV, Denmark

Terms of employment

The position is expected to begin on 1 August 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter. 

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.

Read more at  

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

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