PhD developing and integrating green spaces in healthcare

Updated: 5 months ago
Deadline: ;

At the Athena Institute of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam we invite applications for a PhD trajectory in the EU Horizon project Nature-based interventions for improving health and well-being

FTE: 1

Job description

This PhD position focusses on the development, efficacy and uptake of green spaces in healthcare therapies – so-called nature-based therapies (NBTs). You will collaborate with scholars across Europe (Portugal, Germany, Peru, Greece and the Netherlands) to study how NBTs can be developed through collaboration with key stakeholders (e.g. nature space managers, therapists, patients etc.) and map their short-, medium- and long-term health effects. In addition, you will explore the needs and expectations of key players in healthcare systems to incorporate NBTs.

Your duties
As a PhD student, you will develop your own research plan based on your participation in the European research consortium. In addition, you will be a supporting lecturer in courses given by the Athena Institute (~40% of your time). Your work will be supported with committed supervision and additional training in research approaches you are not familiar with.


We are looking for an enthusiastic, curious and creative candidate with:

  • A masters’ degree in Science and Technology Studies (STS), governance, participatory design, innovation studies, or a related (inter)discipline; an additional background in the sciences is a plus;
  • Practical experience with qualitative research methods, such as ethnography, focus groups, interviewing and document analysis; experience with or a strong willingness to learn quantitative methods
  • Practical experience with transdisciplinary research approaches and methods: focus groups, participatory research, stakeholder interaction and other forms of knowledge co-creation.
  • The ability to work independently and in a team.
  • Very good organizational, communicative and connective skills; you will collaborate with a wide variety of academic and societal groups.
  • A strong track record and good research skills, writing skills and presentation skills.
  • Given the extensive collaboration with both international as well as Dutch partners, a good command of Dutch language is required for the position.

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,541 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,247 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

This appointment is for 6 years, with a division of duties as follows: 60% research - 40% education. It is possible to obtain the BKO teaching qualification at the university. The trial period is 18 months.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment,
  • 8% holiday allowance and
  • 8.3% end-of-year bonus,
  • solid pension scheme (ABP), possibility to save holiday hours, for sabbatical leave,
  • child daycare facilities available on campus

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 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 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.

The Faculty of Science
Working at the Faculty of Science means working together with students, PhD candidates and scientists who are focused on their discipline, yet also have a broad view of the world. We are proud of the collegial working environment within the faculty, which is characterised by an ambitious and pragmatic attitude with commitment to the bigger picture. At the Faculty of Science, scientists and students work on fundamental and complex social issues for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, from genetics to pharmaceuticals and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research cover the full breadth of the natural sciences. Scientific teaching and research is highly experimental, technical, computational and interdisciplinary in nature. This is why we collaborate extensively with leading research institutes and industry. The faculty has over 11,000 students studying across 40 educational programmes and employs over 1,600 staff spread over 10 scientific departments, making us the largest science faculty in the Netherlands.

Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences
The position is offered within the Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences. The institute’s mission is to study and design interfaces between science and society to contribute both to a deeper understanding of innovation processes as well as a responsible implementation of research and innovation in society. Athena’s research program amongst other focuses on analysing complex global health challenges, designing interventions and conducting participatory monitoring and evaluation research. The section presently has a position vacant for a Postdoc/Lecturer.
For more information about the Athena Institute visit our website .


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


Submitting a diploma, a reference check and an assessment are part of the application procedure.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: Dr. Tjerk Jan Schuitmaker

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