Universiteit Leiden

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Extraordinary Professor in Science Communication

Vacancy number
Function type
Academic staff
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Placed on
1 June 2021
Closing date
20 June 2021

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The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Physics invite applications for

Extraordinary Professor in Science Communication

Project description
Communication, in the broadest sense, between Science and Society is of growing importance. The Leiden Institute of Physics (LION) wishes to strengthen its efforts in that direction by appointing a part-time extraordinary professor. Establishing this chair is an initiative from the Netherlands’ Physical Society (NNV), in the framework of their 2021 centennial celebrations. Two chairs are envisaged. One will be in Leiden, in a collaboration between LION and the Leiden department of Science Communication & Society (Prof. Ionica Smeets). The other will be at the Eindhoven University of Technology, in the Faculty of Applied Physics and in strong collaboration with the Eindhoven School of Education. In both cases, it is expected that the chairholder wants to motivate university students in the Science domain to participate in the area of outreach, and that she / he is interested to explore modern ways and forms of communication.

Key responsibilities

  • Doing research on what makes science communication about physics effective, for instance by studying how using metaphors and jargon in popular-scientific materials affect understanding and engagement;
  • Developing and teaching a new elective course ‘Popular-scientific writing’ for physics bachelor students;
  • Supervising master student projects on Physics & Society;
  • Leading colleagues and students by example in doing excellent science communication.

Selection criteria

  • A solid background in Physics, demonstrated by a PhD degree in physics, or a closely aligned field;
  • Excellent track record in initiating and executing science communication projects in various forms;
  • Affinity and experience with evidence-based science communication and a keen interest in studying how to improve science communication;
  • Fluency in the Dutch language is a decided plus’.

Our organisation
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. We are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and almost 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together. For more information, see the website of the Faculty of Science.

Terms and conditions
LION offers a 0.2 fte (1 day a week), 5 year term Professor position, with the possibility of renewal for a second 5 year term. Salary range from € 5.749,-  to € 8.371,-  gross per month, on fulltime basis (pay scale H2 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses(8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries can be made to Prof. Jan Aarts, email director@physics.leidenuniv.nl).

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to Barry Cats, email b.cats@physics.leidenuniv.nl. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

  • A full CV including a list of publications and your teaching experience;
  • A document detailing your prior experience in, and aptitude for, Science Communication, including a brief description of your research or teaching plans commensurate with a 0.2 appointment;
  • Name and address of at least three persons that can be contacted for a reference.

Only applications received no later than June 20, 2021 can be considered.

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