Postdoc Public Support Covid-19 Behavioural Policies (1.0 FTE)

Hours per week: 
36 to 38
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Sociale, Gezondheids- en Organisatiepsychologie
Application deadline: 

Job description

The Departments of Social, Health and Organizational Psychology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences have a job opening for a Postdoc researching Public Support for Covid-19 Behavioural Policies. The position is embedded within the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences and will be part of a behavioural science consortium, initiated by the Corona Behavioural Unit of the RIVM, to draw the key scientific lessons from behavioural science data collected during the pandemic. As part of that you will participate in a group of six postdoctoral Researchers, who will also receive dedicated training opportunities on topics such as longitudinal and missing data analysis, and on making scientific study results valuable for policy makers and communication professionals.
To stop spreading the corona virus, unprecedented behavioural measures have been implemented by public health authorities, including lockdowns, distancing, mouth masks, and vaccination. Whilst public support for these measures is generally high and has continued for a long period of time, significant parts of the population have expressed concern and are unwilling to adhere to these measures. The objectives of the Postdoc project are twofold:

(a) to determine the level of public support for corona behavioural measures and its determinants over the past period of time, derived from the large database of the RIVM Corona Behavioural Unit and reflect on these data from legal, political, ethical and public administration points of view by means of supplemental interviews with stakeholders;
(b) to collect new data on public support for behavioural measures relating to the corona pandemic with a focus on how support aligns with the (autonomous) motivation and self-regulatory capacity of citizens and how support can be enhanced by promoting citizen initiatives for bottom up organization of preventive measures.

The ultimate objective of the project is to provide new insights into the legitimacy of employing behavioural insights in the governmental response to future pandemics. Research will be conducted under the direct supervision of Denise de Ridder and John de Wit. The Postdoc will participate in the consortium Behavioural Science and Pandemic Preparedness 2.0 with four participating universities and hosted by the Corona Behavioural Unit of the RIVM.


We believe individual and collective achievements should be in balance. That’s why we assess both individual and team performance. We stimulate good academic leadership at all levels. And last but not least we encourage Researchers to share the results of scientific research with society, so collectively we can achieve more and increase the university’s contribution to society. 
We are looking for an enthusiastic colleague (m/f/x) who subscribes to the values above and meets the requirements below:

  • You are a teamplayer and have strong interpersonal skills for building contact with colleagues and stakeholders.
  • You hold (or have nearly obtained) a PhD degree in the field of Psychology, or a similar or related field of social science.
  • You favour a multidisciplinary understanding of the complex topic of support for public policies.
  • You have experience and are skilled in the advanced analysis of longitudinal data from large datasets.
  • You are familiar with qualitative methods such as focus groups.
  • You have scientific creativity and productivity, as demonstrated in recent publications in international peer-reviewed journals or peer-reviewed conferences.
  • Your English is fluent in speaking and writing at an academic level.
  • You speak Dutch at a level which allows you to independently perform data analyses on existing data (in Dutch).


We offer an exciting opportunity to work in a collaborative, social and dedicated team. We will guide you in your research tasks, which will help develop your academic career. 

  • We offer a position for a period of three years (1.0 FTE). The gross monthly salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience - ranges between €2,836 and €5,211, based on a full-time employment (scale 10/11 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities);
  • The salary is supplemented with an annual holiday bonus of 8%, and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% per year;
  • We also offer a pension scheme.

We encourage you to grow professionally, and we support a healthy work-life balance. That’s why we offer employment benefits such as professional development, leave arrangements, partially paid parental leave and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment via the Employment Conditions Selection Model.
And that's not all. We are happy to have you as a new employee and you will be given a warm welcome. To this end, we will host a nice introduction process for our new colleagues, where you will be introduced and shown around our faculty and university.

For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University.

About the organisation

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 societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.
The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading faculties in Europe for research and academic teaching in cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social science, pedagogical sciences, psychology and sociology. We are a faculty at the heart of society and one which cooperates closely with others. Our almost 6,000 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. We have approximately 900 faculty and staff members, who all work closely together to educate and train young talent and to research and find solutions to scientific and societal issues. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth and Institutions for Open Societies.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact Professor Denise de Ridder by email or Professor John de Wit:


The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences aspires to have a diverse body of staff and students and strives to create and sustain a safe and inclusive environment for everyone, in line with Utrecht University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy. Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation, via the ‘apply’ button below.
Due to the current situation regarding Covid-19, the interviews may take place online.

If you know someone who is suitable for this position, please feel free to share this job opening with them.

Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

The application deadline is 27 September 2021.