PhD Position: Science Communication in Times of Crisis

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam invites applications for a PhD position in science communication in times of crisis.

A crisis makes democratic societies particularly vulnerable. In the face of a global disaster like COVID-19 and the looming climate crises, for example, the focus tends to shift from political questions to prioritising scientific rationality. Scientific knowledge and expertise often get the upper hand in decision-making and in political and public debate, while such knowledge is often highly complex and uncertain, and it might take equally urgent political and societal questions out of view. While for many, these tendencies seem self-evident, there is strong reason to believe that the repercussions for democracy can be serious.


More specifically, research tasks will include:

  • Conduct a systematic literature review of how (science) communication in crisis situations is conceptualized in scholarly and policy literatures, grey literature, handbooks, etc.
  • Based on (2), develop a constructivist conception of (science) communication in times of crisis using methods of public value mapping and issue framing analysis, amongst others.
  • Connect science communication in crises to scholarly debates about democratic innovations and political theory, using a range of democratic theories (deliberative, agonist, and transformative).
  • Develop methods for studying and practicing constructive communication in times of crisis that do justice to a wide diversity of values, interests, and concerns.

Duration: 4 years

Starting Date: as soon as possible


  • A gross monthly salary of €2,770 (PhD) per month during the first year increases to €3,539 (PhD) during the fourth year.
  • 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,
  • Childcare facilities are available on campus.
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Job Requirements

They seek candidates who meet the following requirements:

  • At the time of application, hold a university master’s degree in science and technology studies (STS), communication sciences, or a related field, such as political sciences, anthropology, sociology, etc.
  • Have practical and proven experience with qualitative research methods (e.g., ethnography, interviews, and/or focus groups) and participatory research approaches; and an affinity with environmental and public health governance.
  • Are able to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Have good organisational, communication, and listening skills.
  • Have a strong research record, excellent writing skills, and presentation skills.
  • A strong command of the English and Dutch languages is essential.

Application Process

Applications in one pdf should include:

  • an up-to-date curriculum vitae
  • a cover letter

To apply for the PhD Position: Science Communication in Times of Crisisclick here.

Deadline: January 28, 2024.

For more information on PhD Position: Science Communication in Times of Crisis, visit the official site.

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