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Postdoctoral researcher - quantum & society: metaphors for quantum science and technology

Vacancy number
Job type
Academic staff
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Placed on
15 November 2022
Closing date
6 December 2022 Vacancy closed

The Faculty of Science is looking for a:

Postdoctoral researcher - quantum & society: metaphors for quantum science and technology
Vacancy number: 22-759

Project description
This project aims at mapping the use of metaphors in communication about quantum science and technology that is aimed at non-expert audiences and the effect of such metaphors on selected audiences. This will increase our insights on the impact of narratives on the dialogue between experts and non-experts on quantum technology.

The project is led by the PI Julia Cramer, in collaboration with Ionica Smeets (Leiden University), Gudrun Reijnierse (VU Amsterdam) and Margriet van der Heijden (TU Eindhoven).

The position is funded by the Growth Fund of Quantum Delta NL, a Dutch collaboration that is creating a national ecosystem for excellence in quantum innovation, for highly talented professionals to bring quantum computers, quantum networks and quantum sensors to the market. One of the action lines focuses on the Ethical, Legal and Societal aspects of quantum technology. We are part of this action line, focusing on the societal impact.

The research group ‘Quantum and Society’, led by Julia Cramer, studies the societal impact of quantum technology from a science communication perspective. We are an interdisciplinary group affiliated with the Faculty of Science, connected to quantum physics (LION) and Science Communication and Society (IBL), using methods from the social sciences.

Our research group focuses on studying the boundary between quantum technology and society via:

  • Content analyses of existing communication about quantum science and technology such as outreach by experts, media coverage, and policy documents.
  • Development of instruments to measure the attitude and engagement of specific societal groups towards and with quantum technology and their concerns, questions and expectations of quantum technology.
  • Research into the effect of empirically developed interventions on participants in such interventions.

Key responsibilities
In this postdoctoral project, you will collect and analyse metaphors on quantum science and technology in the media through content analyses and you will study the effect of such metaphors on lay people’s attitudes towards quantum science and technology via studies with non-experts in quantum science.

You will publish academic papers on your findings and present your work at academic conferences. You will build a network and work in and on a new and interdisciplinary research field.

While outreach and teaching are not required in this postdoctoral position, there are possibilities for student supervision, teaching and practical outreach in our group and institutes if you are interested.

Selection Criteria

  • PhD in communication research, science communication, media studies, linguistics or other relevant directions;
  • Experience with content analyses and setting up experiments with participants.
  • Excellent social skills and pro-active attitude, enabling you to work in a growing interdisciplinary field;
  • Excellent communication skills and fluency in English;
  • Strong preference for fluency in Dutch due to the nature of the project;
  • Affinity with new technologies and fundamental sciences;

Leiden University
Leiden University is one of Europe’s leading international research universities. Thanks to its committed and inspired employees, the university enjoys a leading role in academic research and education. Leiden also scores very well every year in prominent rankings. This means that, to maintain our position, the bar is set very high. Regardless of the work you do at our university, you are always encouraged to broaden your horizons, develop your talents and reach your full potential.

Research at our faculty of Science
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. Our people 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 2,500 staff and almost 6,000 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 www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science  and  https://workingat.leiden.edu/

Diversity and inclusion
Fostering an inclusive community is a central element of the values and vision of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

Terms and conditions 
The starting date of the postdoctoral position is ideally in the first quarter of 2023.
We offer a 2 year position. The salary range is from € 2.960 - € 4.670. gross per month (pay scale 10 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. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.  

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to Elanor Feddema ( feddema@physics.leidenuniv.nl ), with ‘Application Postdoc Metaphors Quantum & Society’ in the subject line. Please ensure that you attach the following:

-A short motivation (max one page) on how your research interests and background fit this topic and our team;

-A Curriculum Vitae;

-Contact details of two people that can provide a reference if requested.

The closing date for applications is 6 December 2022.

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