Postdoc Work, health and retirement

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: ;

Are you interested in conducting research into Work and Health before retirement age? Then apply to our postdoc position at the Sociology department of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).

We are looking for a motivated social scientist, health scientist or (social/occupational) epidemiologist with an interest in creating a theoretical basis for and contributing to a prospective cohort study into working conditions and health among older employees.

Job description

Population ageing has become a driver for policies that encourage healthy and economically productive ageing. Among other things, the state pension age is increasing to promote the extension of paid working lives and, consequently, to reduce the fiscal pressure of state pensions on federal government.  The consequences for the health of workers who have to work longer are likely to be substantial.

Healthpath is a multidisciplinary study that is conducted by a consortium of social scientists and epidemiologists, with the aim of explaining why some workers experience healthier pathways to retirement than others. To this end, a new longitudinal study will be designed and conducted among a representative sample of Dutch workers.
As a postdoc you will collaborate within he Healthpath team. You will lay the conceptual foundation for the Healthpath longitudinal study, by means of literature research, interviews and focusgroup meetings with domain experts and by constructing causal models (Directed Acyclic Graphs).  At the department of Sociology you will collaborate with Prof. M. (Martijn) Huisman and Dr. M. (Mariska) van der Horst.

Your duties
In collaboration with the Healthpath consortium, you will perform the following tasks

  • Conducting a literature study of determinants of healthy pathways to retirement
  • Constructing causal models on the basis of existing empirical literature and expert knowledge of social scientists and epidemiologists in group model building sessions
  • Leading the setup of the new Healthpath longitudinal study, including: preparing ethical approval application, drafting questionnaires and negotiating access to additional national registry data
  • Writing publications on the basis of the literature study and the causal model building process
  • Writing a design article about the Healthpath longitudinal study

  • You have a PhD in social sciences, health sciences or epidemiology (social or occupational)
  • Experience with leading focus group sessions is recommended
  • Experience with systematic literature studies is considered a plus
  • Expertience with setting up longitudinal data collection or analysis of longitudinal data is considered a plus
  • Experience with working with Directed Acyclic Graphs is considered a plus
  • You have good communicative skills and are able to collaborate within a multidisciplinary setting
  • Strong communicative skills in the Dutch language
  • You have strong writing skills, as indicated by publications in scientific social science and/or epidemiological journals

What are we offering?

A challenging position for over two years at a socially involved organization. This position offers a great opportunity to expand your network and strengthen your expertise as a researcher. It grants opportunities to lay the foundations of a valuable data infrastructure that will be open for (inter-)national researchers. Depending on education and experience, the salary on a full-time basis is a minimum of €3,226 (scale 10) and a maximum of €5,929 (scale 11) gross per month. The position is classified according to UFO profile: Researcher 4 or Researcher 3 and is open to 0.8 FTE. If desired, it is possible to combine the position with teaching at the Sociology department of the VU (max 0.2 FTE).

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 endeavor – 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 31,000 students. We employ over 5,000 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 Social Sciences
The Faculty of Social Sciences examines the major social problems of our time from multiple perspectives. From bullying at school to dealing with transnational immigration, from the rise of populist politicians to creating a self-reliant society. Only at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam you will find all the academic disciplines needed to understand these 'wicked problems': alongside the traditional disciplines such as sociology, anthropology and politics, we also research and teach the new social sciences such as communication science and management & organization science. We do not settle for easy answers in our teaching and research. Our researchers and students are critical thinkers and doers who work together to devise surprising solutions to the problems of today.

Working at the Faculty of Social Sciences means working with colleagues from a range of academic disciplines in an inspiring and personal work and study environment with excellent research facilities. We employ more than 350 staff members, and we are home to around 3,000 students.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until


Submitting a diploma and a reference check are part of the application process.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: prof. dr. Martijn Huisman
Position: Projectmanager
E-mail: [email protected]

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