Postdoc Youth Empowerment | Strategic theme Dynamics of Youth (0.8 FTE)

Hours per week: 
30 to 32
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
OT Individual Development
Application deadline: 

Job description

Utrecht University’s Strategic Theme Dynamics of Youth focuses on youth and youth development from conception to early adulthood. We connect science with society to build youth for the future, our future, and to empower children, adolescents, and emerging adults. We are pleased to expand our Dynamics of Youth core team with an enthusiastic postdoc for a 3-year position (0.8 FTE).

In this function, expertise in research is combined with organizational skills (approximately 50-50%). Furthermore, this is a job in which high-quality academic research and societal impact created by research go hand in hand.

  • Research part

The unprecedented global changes, such as digitization, migration, and, of course, the corona pandemic, are having significant impact on youth development. For some, they provide opportunities to thrive and realize their potential. For others, they limit these opportunities by increasing social inequality and exacerbating adversity.

Social inequality starts at an early age. Increasing equality of opportunities for children is vital to their future and contributes to greater prosperity in a broader sense. Even though youth is often perceived as contributing to society’s problems, they are, in fact, the most important assets for the economic, political, and social life of their communities, now and in the future. Addressing key societal (or global) complex problems – like pandemics, inequality, climate change, and political stability – depends on protecting the rights of youth and providing them with the support they need to contribute to the health and well-being of themselves and society. There are three tenets, derived from the Human Development Report, that lay the foundation for the research goals:

  1. Investment: Identify leverage points for investments in policies, education, environments, and interventions youth will need to thrive and lead a happy, healthy, and long life.
  1. Insurance: Identify fundamental needs of youth that must be protected and guaranteed for youth to thrive and protect them from the contingencies of an uncertain world and future threats (e.g., climate change, epidemics).
  1. Innovation: Identify leverage points for social, technological, medical, economic, and cultural innovation, to empower youth and strengthen their agency to respond to unknown and unknowable challenges of the future.
  •  Organizational part

We are looking for a young researcher who can build bridges between scientists from difference disciplines and scientists and societal partners. The research of Dynamics of Youth is organized in four thematic research communities. Each community has 2-3 chairs and a postdoc who are now in the startup phase of creating challenging goals, new structures, pioneering projects, and strong communities. Together, we will take on a radically new perspective, in that we bring back play into science for (young) researchers to inspire and get inspired by other scholars from different disciplines, and by practitioners and researchers with different backgrounds and from various (geographical) contexts.

You will be the first point of contact for our communities. Within DoY, we work with an annual planning, monitoring, evaluation, and learning cycle (PMEL). You will help coordinate and implement the PMEL cycle. In this way, we want to create conditions in which interdisciplinary research and education can grow and flourish. Our communities are of crucial importance in realizing impact. Together with the communities, you identify opportunities for the creation of more impact together, focusing both on quantitative and qualitative indicators. In all this, together with the communities, you strive to connect science and society to empower youth.

You will be situated in the Dynamics of Youth core team and within Youth Studies of Interdisciplinary Social Science, under supervision of Professor Finkenauer, academic director of the strategic theme. You will work in close collaboration with the postdocs of the four communities.


  • Completed a PhD in Health Sciences, Behavioral Sciences, Epidemiology, Pedagogical and Educational Sciences, Psychology, Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Medical Sciences, Law, Economics and Governance, or related research fields;
  • Written and oral fluency in Dutch and English is crucial;
  • Expertise in qualitative and quantitative research, including advanced statistics (e.g., Mplus, R);
  • Expertise in working with large data sets within an economic background is preferred;
  • Experience with interdisciplinary research projects is preferred;
  • A hands-on mentality and a proactive attitude;
  • Teamwork skills: building a team/community, keep it going, involve and retain partners, taking and sharing responsibility, good sense of group dynamics;
  • Project development skills: knowledge of and experience with the PMEL cycle, creative, playful, flexible, and curious;
  • Organizational skills (e.g., coordination, organization, communication).


You will be offered a temporary position (0.8 FTE) for the duration of approximately three years: Beginning September 1 or October 1, 2023 until June 30, 2026. Half of the time is reserved for research and half of the time for organizational/project support within the DoY core team. You will receive challenging, varied work and an inspiring work environment in a collegial, diverse team in which everyone can put their qualities to optimal use. We will offer you ample development opportunities to work on your own development as a postdoc.

The gross salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience - ranges between €2,960 and € 4,670 (scale 10 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year.

In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.

About the organisation

Sharing science, shaping tomorrow. 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 Sustainability. You can get an impression of our university by watching the Utrecht University Campus Tour.

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, please contact Catrin Finkenauer (Professor) at or Dr. Jacobine Buizer (Project Manager) at


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. Utrecht University wants to make a visible contribution to an inclusive university community, to a just society, and equal rights and equal opportunities for all.

To apply, please submit the following using the “apply” button:

  • A motivation letter (2 pages maximum) including a description of how you meet the job requirements and preferred qualifications;
  • Contact details for two professional references;
  • And of course, a CV (6 pages maximum).

The application deadline is June 12th, 2023. We aim to have the interviews take place on June 26th, 27th, and 28th, 2023.

The application deadline is 12 June 2023.