PhD position, Translating scientific concepts & dilemmas into teaching material

Updated: about 5 hours ago

The Faculties of Science and of Social Sciences are seeking to fill a full-time (100%) vacancy for a

Doctoral scholarship holder in the area of STEM education within the Innovative Training Network (ITN) CHAMELEON

and more specifically working on STEM education:

STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics, and thus it encompasses several disciplines essential to 21st century life (skills) and future solutions. Astrophysics is a STEM discipline par excellence, making use of expertise from various fields (physics, maths, chemistry, biology, geography, high-tech, engineering, …). Moreover, as a subject triggering the imagination - and even raising philosophical questions - it has the potential to raise interest in STEM disciplines. Therefore, the development of STEM projects linked to topics in Astrophysics is a useful endeavour, both for school education and for reaching a larger segment of society through public outreach.

More and more, the value of integrated STEM projects at school is put into practice and even investigated. Some stubborn misconceptions in science may be cleared up by the integrated STEM approach. The goal of this PhD project is to investigate the effectiveness of educational STEM interventions for the field of Astrophysics.

Innovative Training Network (ITN)

This project is part of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) CHAMELEON “Virtual Laboratories for Exoplanets and Planet Forming Disks” (www...). The ITN combines the expertise of eight European research institutes (Universities of St Andrews, Groningen, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Leuven and Antwerp, the Max-Planck Institute in Heidelberg and the Netherlands Institute for Space Research) to cover all relevant aspects for this complex modelling task, joining the expertise in planetary atmospheres and protoplanetary disks, including observation and interpretation, as well as the transfer of knowledge into educational projects. The network will consist of 15 Early Stage Researchers (PhD students) and the respective supervisors/local research groups. For a complete list of all open PhD positions within this training network, including those of our European partners, please see .

All students will obtain double degrees.

Job description

In the framework of the CHAMELEON project and various ongoing projects, astro-STEM material will be developed and implemented for the classroom and for public outreach under the supervision of Prof. Katrien Kolenberg and Prof. Anja Andersen. In collaboration with the EduBron group at the University of Antwerp and under the co-supervision of Prof. Peter Van Petegem, we plan to investigate the effectiveness of such educational / outreach approaches. Secondments at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and the KU Leuven (Belgium, STEM coordination unit) are envisaged as well.

For this PhD the double degree will be between the University of Antwerp and the University of Copenhagen.

This PhD position is fully funded for a period of four years.

  • You prepare a doctoral thesis in the interdisciplinary field of STEM (and specifically astronomy) education.
  • You publish scientific articles related to the research project of the assignment.
  • You contribute to research and teaching in the Faculties of Science and Social Sciences, to be complemented with other coordination tasks related to the topic of the PhD.

Profile and requirements

  • You hold a master degree in science, preferably physics or astronomy, and a great interest in education and teaching.
  • You can submit outstanding academic results.
  • Students in the final year of their degree can also apply.
  • The emphasis in your teaching corresponds to the educational vision of the university.
  • Your academic qualities comply with the requirements stipulated in the university’s policy .
  • You are quality-oriented, conscientious, creative and cooperative.
  • You are flexible to carry out the foreseen secondment to Copenhagen.
  • You have fluency in Dutch, as the teaching modules will be implemented in Flanders.

We seek an excellent student with preferably a strong background in physics or astrophysics but a keen interest in school education and social science. This is a multidisciplinary project: STE(A)M lesson modules will be developed, and during their piloting phase, their effectivity will be evaluated. Therefore, the PhD student will have close collaboration with both the exact sciences and the social sciences.

 Note that the general eligibility and mobility rules of Marie Sklodowka-Curie Actions apply, i.e. applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the main host institution for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. If you have been residing in Belgium, please consider to apply to the open positions of our European partner institutions ( ).

We offer

  • a doctoral scholarship for a period of 4 years;
  • the start date of the scholarship September 2020 or soon thereafter;
  • a gross monthly grant ranging from € 2.447,20 - € 2.596,27;
  • a dynamic and stimulating work environment.

Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellows, you receive generous benefits, including a fixed salary with additional mobility and family allowances.

How to apply?

  • Applications may only be submitted online , and should include a copy of your CV and a motivation letter, until the closing date March 2, 2020 (or until position is filled).
  • Two recommendation letters need to be sent by March 9 to .
  • A pre-selection will be made from amongst the submitted applications.
  • The remainder of the selection procedure is specific to the position and will be determined by the selection panel.
  • More information about the application form can be obtained from
  • For questions about the profile and the description of duties, please contact Prof. Katrien Kolenberg .

The University of Antwerp is a family friendly organization, with a focus on equal opportunities and diversity. Our HR-policy for researchers was awarded by the European Commission with the quality label HR Excellence in research .

We support the Science4Refugees initiative and encourage asylum-seeking, refugee scientists and researchers to apply for a job at the University of Antwerp.

View or Apply

Similar Positions