Postdoc Researcher in Transformative Learning through Impact-driven Education

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 30 Apr 2024

5 Apr 2024
Job Information

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)
Research Field

Cultural studies
Researcher Profile

Recognised Researcher (R2)

Application Deadline

30 Apr 2024 - 21:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

In the contemporary landscape of higher education, the demand for graduates equipped with the skills to navigate complex, real-world challenges has spurred a growing interest on the topic of transformative learning. Transformative learning is a pedagogical philosophy that goes beyond the acquisition of knowledge and skills, emphasizing profound shifts in perspective, identity, and ways of thinking. This approach is particularly relevant in the realms of higher education, where societal engagement in education is crucial for addressing complex multifaceted issues that transcend traditional academic boundaries.

This also resonates with the vision of VU Amsterdam to foster transformative learning by enriching its educational practices through societal engagement and greater collaboration and cooperation across disciplinary and international boundaries. In line with this vision, along with 9 other research-intensive and innovative Universities, VU Amsterdam plays an important part in the AURORA European Universities alliance that works to foster cooperation across and beyond European universities to equip students and teachers with transformative skills and mindset to address societal challenges and contribute to societal impact.

In the first phase of the AURORA alliance (2020 – 2023), the project developed a broadly shared educational vision, and defined standards, procedures and approaches to governance that contribute to strengthening the alliance and its contribution to progressing educational practices that focus on societal engagement, sustainable development goals, promoting development of key transformative and transversal competencies among students and teachers, and instilling in all Aurora members the skills and the mindsets needed to tackle the societal challenges of tomorrow. The next phase -AURORA2030 project – aims to leverage its previous lines of progress to stimulate academic excellence and societal engagement across all AURORA Universities, influencing societal change through future-proof education and research with a shared focus on innovative pedagogies that foster transformative learning through societal engagement pratices, such as service learning and co-creation. The project will focus on fostering inter-institutional learning, knowledge sharing, and the development of competencies among teachers and staff to improve and strengthen education and research that fosters societal change. Further, the project will realize a living learning community of students, faculty, staff, administrators and other community stakeholders across the Aurora ecosystem to continue collaboration, co-creation and innovation.

In this postdoctoral research project, you will be part of the AURORA2030 project – Workpackage 4 which focuses on Transformative learning and teaching for Societal Impact. Within this Workpackage you will be involved in both project management and research. You will be tasked to create a community of engaged academics/researchers across AURORA Universities to share societal engagement practices in education, and to foster mutual learning and co-development of joint frameworks on innovative pedagogies that serve as a benchmark for teaching and learning in AURORA. In your research position, you will use interactive and interventionist methodologies for monitoring, evaluation and co-design. You will also explore through comparative analysis, the different education practices across different Universities to uncover design configurations/frameworks for societal engagement in Education.

Your duties

  • Managing the tasks/activities within the Workpackage 4 (Transformative Learning and Teaching for Societal Impact) in the AURORA2030 project, and having oversight of and building connections with the other workpackages within the project.
  • Developing a research programme within the project that pertains to societal engagement practices in education, comparative analysis of such practices, and development of consolidated configurations, models or frameworks related to the topic.
  • Supervision of junior researchers and a PhD candidate.
  • Teaching master students, including course coordination and thesis supervision, in courses that are part of the Institute’s transdisciplinary teaching portfolio.
  • Linking up education/research efforts at VU with the real-world issues addressed in co-creative multi-stakeholder initiatives. You also assess and evaluate the added value of VU involvement.
  • Publishing articles in high quality journals. You also communicate research findings and insights via other, more widely accessible forms of writing and presenting.
  • Contributing to administrative tasks and responsibilities of the Athena Institute.
  • Engaging with stakeholders both inside and outside of academia in co-learning processes.
  • Contributing to a pleasant, diverse, and safe work environment at the Athena Institute.

Specific Requirements
  • You have a PhD, preferably in the field of Educational Science or Science (public health, health sciences, medicine, biomedical science, sustainability sciences, science & technology studies, system innovation, and other related sciences with interest/differentiation/experience in societal engagement and research, science communication, citizen science, inter/transdisciplinarity); but also scholars with an affinity for sociology of knowledge, knowledge co-creation; public policy or public sector transformation; organizational change (incl. communities of practice, reflective practitioners); or related fields are invited to apply.
  • You have excellent project management and coordination skills, along with excellent communication and network building skills.
  • You have experience with designing and facilitating focus group discussions and reflection sessions as part of change processes. You are familiar with participatory research methodologies, such as reflexive monitoring in action, learning histories, most significant change techniques.
  • You hold a network of relevant (inter)national contacts and you are a team player.
  • You have relevant publications in good quality journals that showcase your prowess in scientific research, writing and publication.
  • You have teaching skills and are an engaged and inspiring lecturer, as demonstrated by student evaluations.
  • You have an excellent command of English, and a good command of Dutch.

As a university, we strive for equal opportunities for all, recognising that diversity takes many forms. We believe that diversity in all its complexity is invaluable for the quality of our teaching, research and service. We are always looking for talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences. This also means that we are committed to creating an inclusive community so that we can use diversity as an asset.

We realise that each individual brings a unique set of skills, expertise and mindset. Therefore we are happy to invite anyone who recognises themselves in the profile to apply, even if you do not meet all the requirements.

Additional Information

A challenging position in a socially engaged organisation. At VU Amsterdam, you contribute to education, research and service for a better world. And that is valuable. So in return for your efforts, we offer you:

  • a salary of minimum € 3.226,00 (Scale 10) and maximum € 5.090,00 (Scale 10) gross per month, on a full-time basis. This is based on UFO profile Researcher 4. The exact salary depends on your education and experience.
  • a position for at least 0.6 FTE. The appointment will initially be for a period of one year with a possible extension conditional upon assessment of adequate functioning. The maximum duration of the appointment is 4 years.

We also offer you attractive fringe benefits and regulations. Some examples:

  • a full-time 38-hour working week comes with a holiday leave entitlement of 232 hours per year (for part-timers, this is calculated pro rata);
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • solid pension scheme (ABP);
  • child daycare facilities available on campus;
  • and the possibility to work partly from home.

Additional comments

Are you interested in this position and do you believe that your experience will contribute to the further development of our university? In that case, we encourage you to submit your application.

Applications received by e-mail will not be considered.

Acquisition in response to this advertisement is not appreciated.

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Postal Code
De Boelelaan 1085

Where to apply



De Boelelaan 1105
Postal Code

1081 HV


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