Postdoc Position in Science Studies
VU University of Amsterdam Department of Philosophy

Do you have a clear interest in science studies, metascience, or philosophy of science? And do you have a PhD in a relevant field? Then please apply for this postdoc position at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).


FTE: 0,8 - 1

Job description

In the context of a larger research project on epistemic progress in the university, the research in this postdoc project focuses on the differences and possible conflict between individual notions of progress and collective notions of progress. In particular, attention will be paid to the relation with research evaluation and incentives. For example, a publication bias favouring positive results may harm scientific progress and publication practices targeting high impact journals may steer research efforts in certain directions. The ambition of the project is to investigate these aspects using theoretical simulation models. The goal is to determine under which conditions scientific progress is stimulated or hampered, and how calls for changing practices of publishing and research evaluation could affect these conditions. There is ample room for exploration of different possibilities for modelling these aspects.

The project will be carried out in close collaboration with the subproject’s and the project’s leaders, namely: Vincent Traag (CWTS, Leiden), Jeroen de Ridder, Rik Peels, and René van Woudenberg. The appointment is officially at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, but the candidate can also use office space and facilities at CWTS Leiden in order to facilitate collaboration. The position includes funding for research and travel. A detailed project description is available here. Candidates are strongly encouraged to read the project description carefully when preparing their application.

The project should start in September 2021, but a later date in the fall of 2021 is negotiable, depending on the candidate’s availability. We envision a full-time position for 12 months, but if a candidate prefers a longer part-time position to combine this position with an appointment elsewhere, that is possible.

Your duties

  • develop simulation-based models, building on previous literature
  • report results in international peer-reviewed journals and at conferences
  • participate in the Epistemic Progress in the University project research activities
  • participate in the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS, Leiden University)


  • PhD in a relevant field, including, but not limited to, science studies, philosophy, mathematics, and/or computer science
  • a clear interest in science studies, metascience, or philosophy of science
  • programming experience (e.g., Python, R, NetLogo)
  • experience with modelling approaches
  • excellent research and writing skills
  • excellent command of English

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 €3.491 (scale 10/5) per month, based on a full-time employment. The job profile 'Onderzoeker 4' is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE. The appointment will be for 1 year.

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),
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

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 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 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 Humanities

The Faculty of Humanities links a number of fields of study: Language, Literature and Communication, Art & Culture, History, Antiquities and Philosophy. Our teaching and research focus on current societal and scientific themes: from artificial intelligence to visual culture, from urbanization to the history of slavery, from ‘fake news’ in journalism to communication in organizations. We strive to ensure small group sizes. Innovative education and interdisciplinary research are our hallmarks.

Working at the Faculty of Humanities means making a real contribution to the quality of leading education and research in an inspiring and personal work and study climate. We employ more than 250 staff members, and we are home to around 1,300 students.

The Philosophy Department

The Department of Philosophy, which is one of three departments of the Faculty of Humanities, is a vibrant and international community of philosophers committed to high-quality teaching and research in various areas of philosophy. The Theoretical Philosophy group, where the advertised position will be based, is internationally recognized as an outstanding research group, with strengths in particular in epistemology and philosophy of science.

Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), Leiden University

The Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) is an interdisciplinary research institute that studies scientific research and its connections to technology, innovation, and society. As a leading research, consulting, and training center, CWTS is dedicated to increasing our understanding of scientific quality, societal impact, and other related concepts. CWTS studies the conditions and consequences of research evaluation for the generation of new knowledge, and the role of research in innovation processes. Special attention is paid to the value of bibliometric and scientometric tools to support the evaluation and management of scientific research. On the basis of its research, CWTS wishes to contribute to the debates about the role of science in society. Research at CWTS is organized in three research groups: Quantitative Science Studies (QSS), Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies (STIS), and Science and Evaluation Studies (SES).
The Quantitative Science Studies (QSS) research group studies science from a quantitative perspective, using methods ranging from mathematical analysis and computer simulation to statistical analysis, network analysis, text mining, and visualization. The focus of the group is on problems in the areas of research evaluation and research management. The QSS group has two main aims. On the one hand, the group aims to make innovative high-quality scientific contributions at the methodological, theoretical and empirical level. On the other hand, the group aims to contribute to the development of improved research evaluation and research management practices. 


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button until 9 May 2021. To apply, please submit the following materials (all in English) via the online system:

  • a letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications;
  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a published (or submitted) paper.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions

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

Name: Samira van der Loo
Position: Communication and event manager Abraham Kuyper Center

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