PhD candidate EFFEct: Enhancing Efficiency and Effectiveness in Education (1.0 FTE)

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PhD candidate EFFEct: Enhancing Efficiency and Effectiveness in Education (1.0 FTE)

Job description

The Department of Sociology of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has a job opening for a PhD candidate interested in enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in education. High-quality education is a key driver of economic growth and social progress. Despite large investments in education over the past few decades, the quality of education in some EU countries has stagnated or even deteriorated. Marginalised populations are particularly vulnerable to the negative consequences arising from inadequate educational policies. Understanding the efficiency and (cost-)effectiveness of investment in quality education is crucial for allocating resources to where they could have the largest economic and social impact.
Thanks to a four years PhD scholarship, you will focus on providing evidence-based policy recommendations to improve the quality of education. The recommendations will be grounded in sound academic research, stemming from quasi-experimental methods that you will use to provide causal evidence. In particular, you will focus on the effectiveness of religious schooling and adult education, and the connection between education, family environment, and the labor market, among others.
The PhD research is part of a wider project called EFFEct that is funded by the European Commission. EFFEct brings together a multidisciplinary research team of economists, sociologists, (neuro) psychologists, teacher trainers, education scientists, and mathematicians, from four European research universities, a research institute and an NGO.
As a PhD candidate your work involves conducting research resulting in international scientific publications, and presenting at international conferences.  You will also participate in methodological training and gain experience with teaching at Bachelor’s and Master’s level. The candidate will be embedded in the Interuniversity Centre for Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS) Graduate School.


We are looking for you, if you have:

  • a (Research) Master’s degree in sociology, economics, interdisciplinary social sciences, or a related field;
  • an interest in conducting research on education and the labour market;
  • proficiency and proven experience with quantitative methods;
  • ability to manage and analyse large datasets;
  • good communication skills in English (written and oral );
  • the ability to conduct research independently and as part of a team.

Furthermore your suitability is ideally exemplified by:

  • a commitment to open science practices;
  • experience with administrative data is a plus, but not required;
  • ability to speak in Dutch is encouraged, but not required.


We offer:

  • a position (1.0 FTE) for 1 year, with an extension to a total of four years upon successful assessment, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period;
  • a full-time gross salary between €2,770 in the first year and €3,539 in the fourth year of employment in scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities;
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions from the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development , leave arrangements, sports and cultural schemes and you get discounts on software and other IT products. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow.
For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University .


About the organization

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University , the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes . Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow .

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social science, pedagogical sciences, psychology, and sociology. Almost 7,000 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 1,100 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues. 
The faculty strives for diversity among its employees and students and is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for everyone, as can be read in Utrecht University's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy.
The faculty attaches great importance to the fact that its employees can be widely deployed in the university organization, now and in the future, to further professionalize the support of education and research. To encourage this, every employee is given the time and facilities – for example in the form of training – at some point in their career to participate in projects or work in other departments. Characteristics that the faculty considers important are involvement, the ability to collaborate and flexibility.
The faculty is located at Utrecht Science Park near the historical city centre of Utrecht.


Additional information

For more information about this position including the overall project proposal and a project plan, please contact Dr Deni Mazrekaj (Assistant Professor) at [email protected] .

Dr Deni Mazrekaj and Professor Tanja van der Lippe will be the supervisors of this project.



As Utrecht University, we want to be a home for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.
To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation, via the ‘apply now’ button.
Please note that international candidates that need a visa/work permit for the Netherlands require at least four months processing time after selection and acceptance. Our International Service Desk (ISD) can answer your questions about living in the Netherlands as international staff . Finding appropriate housing in or near Utrecht is your own responsibility, but the ISD may be able to advise you therewith. In case of general questions about working and living in The Netherlands, please consult the Dutch Mobility Portal.
The interviews take place on 12 December 2023.
Our preferred start date is 01.02.2024.

The application deadline is
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