Westerdijk Full Professor (female) at the Freudenthal Institute (1.0 FTE)

Hours per week: 
38 to 40
Faculty of Science
Department of Mathematics, Freudenthal Institute
Application deadline: 

Job description

A Westerdijk chair is a position especially installed to be occupied by a female professor. It is named after Johanna Westerdijk, appointed at Utrecht University in 1917 as the first female full professor in the Netherlands.

As Westerdijk Full Professor you are an internationally acknowledged scientist with a focus on open-science and expertise in one or more of the areas studied by the groups of the Freudenthal Institute (FI): Science Education, Mathematics Education, History and Philosophy of Science, Public Engagement and Science Communication, and Digital Technology and Education.

You are able to build new research collaborations and application areas, for which you recognize opportunities for internal and external (interdisciplinary) collaboration and acquire research funding. You are a team player and promote taking initiative and adding value while sharing your knowledge both internally within Utrecht University and across the wider (global) community. You inspire your students through engaging lectures in our master programs. With your knowledge of teaching, you reflect critically on the curriculum and help contribute to educational innovation.

As full professor in your field, you work to expand your line of research with your fellow staff members and PhD students. You will be a senior staff member and will shoulder responsibility for the management and strategy of the institute as a whole, play a key role in fostering the synergy between the different groups and contribute to the overall mission and strategy of the institute. You have a visible presence in the field and in society through your commitment to outreach activities.

The FI is dedicated to empower scientific literacy for life. It is home to researchers, teachers and other experts encompassing scientific and societal issues within their areas of interest. This unique combination leads to scientific and practical knowledge rooted in the disciplines of the natural sciences—physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, pharmaceutical science and mathematics—as well as in social sciences and humanities— educational science, communication studies, history and philosophy. The Institute offers a dynamic and informal working environment. Our approach is characterized by a connected relationship-oriented, open, and can-do spirit that encourages personal initiative and curiosity. The FI’s current strategy is to benefit from the synergy that comes from internal collaboration. To further support this, we are looking for a person who will join one of the five groups and is willing to collaborate across group boundaries.


We are looking for an inspiring academic leader who meets the following qualifications:

  • an internationally acknowledged research line in one or more of the institute’s foci, with a strong publication and funding track record;
  • an active player in international scientific communities;
  • experience with, and a personal vision of, leading a group of scientists and creating a supportive, collaborative, sustainable and inclusive work environment;
  • expertise in and experience with student supervision and with teaching in BSc and MSc programmes;
  • experience in and aspiration for further development of courses and programmes;
  • experience and engagement in outreach activities and in the public debate on issues related to your expertise;
  • driven to explore and forge new interdisciplinary collaborations in- and outside the Freudenthal Institute and academia.

As this is a Westerdijk position, the vacancy is reserved for female candidates. If you are excited to actively participate and contribute in shaping our institute, we invite you to apply. In your application, it is important to describe how you foresee your expertise helping to shape the institute's and where you see promising opportunities for collaboration within and outside the institute.


We offer the following:

  • a tenured position as Full Professor;
  • a full-time gross salary ranging from €6,099 to €8,881 in scale H2 at Full Professor level;
  • benefits including an 8% holiday bonus and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) Dutch Universities;
  • a starting package that is negotiable and depends on what is necessary to give you a running start in the department;
  • assistance in finding housing and, if applicable, help with finding employment for a partner and schools for children;
  • in addition to the employment conditions laid down in the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. For example, there are agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment via the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we like to encourage you to continue to grow.

Here you can find more information about working at the Faculty of Science.

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 Freudenthal Institute (FI) is an academic research institute with a large project portfolio focused on impact. For example, the FI hosts and organizes several of the major, national conferences for secondary school science teachers. As a leading research group on scientific literacy for life, the FI is a natural reference for educators, scientists, policy makers, and the general public alike. Furthermore, it links local outreach programs with international impact: within the U-Talent programme almost all secondary schools in the Utrecht region are connected around science education, and new knowledge is exchanged internationally through the many different European research projects in which the institute participates.

The institute’s mission is to contribute to resolving societal issues by promoting scientific literacy of students, professionals, and the general public. Scientific literacy is crucial for citizens to engage with scientific issues and to navigate today’s highly scientific and technological world. Education is a natural place to instill such literacy and the FI is uniquely positioned: it performs research in science and mathematics education and incorporates this research into the education and training of secondary school teachers. Scientific literacy is also improved by familiarizing citizens with the roots and workings of science and scientific integrity. Finally, public engagement and science communication focuses on the effectiveness of scientists when they engage with the public on contemporary socio-scientific issues, such as climate change, sustainability, and equity and inclusion.

At the Faculty of Science, there are 6 departments to make a fundamental connection with: Biology, Chemistry, Information and Computing Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Physics. Each of these is made up of distinct institutes that work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing problems. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects. Find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.

Additional information

The hiring procedure will follow the guidelines for Recruitment, Selection, Promotion and Appointment full professor and candidates will be assessed using the TRIPLE criteria for full professor. Candidates that proceed to the final selection round will be asked to compile a portfolio, consisting of a self-reflection, an updated elaborated CV and possible referees. Candidates who are selected for the final selection round will receive more detailed information about this. Find out more information about recognition and rewards at the Faculty of Science.

For further information about this position, please contact Professor Toine Pieters (Head of Institute, t.pieters@uu.nl) or Professor Paul Drijvers (Director of Research, p.drijvers@uu.nl). 

Do you have a question about the application procedure? Please send an email to science.recruitment@uu.nl

For more information, please visit working at the Faculty of Science.


As Utrecht University and as the FI, we value an inclusive and socially safe workplace for all. We are therefore looking for a colleague who can identify with these values and wants to contribute to creating inclusive and open science. If you have the expertise and the experience to be an asset in this role, then simply respond via the 'apply' button!

Please enclose:

  • your motivation letter;
  • your full academic curriculum vitae, including a (link to a) list of publications;
  • your vision on research and education.

If this specific opportunity isn’t for you, but you know others who may be interested, please forward this vacancy to them.

The application deadline is 6 December 2022.