Universiteit Leiden

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Postdoctoral Position in Social Studies of Science with a focus on Responsible Research

21-517 9861
Wetenschappelijke functies
Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
8 oktober 2021
11 november 2021 Vacature gesloten

The Centre for Science and Technology Studies of the Faculty of Social Sciences of Leiden University wishes to announce a job opening for the following position:

Postdoctoral Position in Social Studies of Science with a focus on Responsible Research
 (1,00 FTE)  
Vacancy number 21-5169861

The Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS, Leiden University) and the dept. of Health, Ethics & Society of Maastricht University are jointly seeking to appoint an experienced postdoctoral researcher to join a two-year Wellcome-funded project “Embedding Responsible Research in Institutional Ecosystems by Developing a Responsible Research Community of Practice.” The post-holder will be based in the Science and Evaluation Studies (SES) research group at CWTS, led by Professor Sarah de Rijcke, and will work closely together with dr. Bart Penders at Maastricht University, The Netherlands, and professor Marcus Munafò at the University of Bristol (UK), where a second postdoctoral researcher working on the project will be based.

About the project

Responsible conduct of research is essential to the trustworthiness of research, including public trust in research. It promotes rigorous research, fosters a positive research environment, and raises confidence in the research we produce. Surprisingly, we know little about whether what constitutes responsible research should be the same irrespective of discipline, nor about the effectiveness of approaches intended to promote responsible research, nor how to assess this. Currently, many approaches to training in responsible research conduct, and to promoting responsible research more generally, are developed within disciplinary silos. For example, the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) has been criticized for being too narrowly applicable to scientific disciplines. Similarly, reproducibility is a concept that applies to quantitative disciplines, but less in qualitative disciplines and the social sciences, and even less so in the humanities.

Understanding different responsible research frameworks will provide a deeper understanding of what constitutes responsible research practice across disciplines, and the extent to which these frameworks can be applied across disciplines – the life and biomedical sciences, the social sciences, and humanities. The post-holder will seek to develop an understanding of how responsible research is conceived and realised, both across disciplines, and across institutions in Europe, grounded in the framework provided by the Singapore Statement on Research Integrity. We will then use this knowledge to establish a responsible research Community of Practice – a group of people who "share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly" – initially across the UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN; www.ukrn.org) of 20 UK HEIs, and an additional 8 continental European HEIs.

The successful applicant will work with Professor Sarah de Rijcke and dr. Bart Penders, and will have the following responsibilities:

• To manage the project, including delivery of the three main objectives: 1) scoping responsible research across disciplines and institutions through a Delphi study; 2) developing a responsible research Community of Practice; and 3) implementing and evaluating responsible research stewardship activity;

• To develop and maintain collaborative relationships with project partners, including lead-applicant Marcus Munafó (University of Bristol), the UKRN institutional members, and additional HEIs in the Netherlands and abroad as necessary;

• To write study protocols and research ethics committee submissions, perform empirical analyses, contribute to the interpretation of results, prepare manuscripts for publication, and present results at conferences and other meetings.

• To manage relationships and communicate with other stakeholders including academic partners, sectoral organisations, and the general public;

• To ensure that all work adheres to Open Science principles, and to research governance, data protection and confidentiality protocols.

About CWTS

The Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) studies scientific research and its connections to technology, innovation, and society. As a leading research, consulting, and training center, CWTS is dedicated to increasing our understanding of scientific quality, societal impact, and other related concepts. CWTS studies the conditions and consequences of research evaluation for the generation of new knowledge, and the role of research in innovation processes. Special attention is paid to the value of bibliometric and scientometric tools to support the evaluation and management of scientific research. On the basis of its research, CWTS wishes to contribute to the debates about the role of science in society. Studies at CWTS range across the broad field of science, technology and innovation studies.

About the Science and Evaluation Studies (SES) research group

The Science and Evaluation Studies (SES) research group analyses the politics and practices of research evaluation in connection with contemporary forms of governance of research and scholarship. We use the concept of "governance" because it allows us to take into account the changing relationships between knowledge production processes and formal and informal steering efforts at multiple levels in the science system:

  1. (inter)national level - e.g. EU funding schemes, responsible metrics initiatives;
  2. organisational level - e.g. institutional evaluation practices;
  3. shop-floor level - e.g. the practical handling and possible epistemic implications of indicators in different fields.

About the dept. Health, Ethics and Society (Maastricht, NL)

The department of Health, Ethics and Society (HES) is a dynamic and diverse department that brings together a variety of disciplines and expertises. We firmly believe in the strength that comes from such multiple points of view. Yet beyond diversity, there is an approach that we share: We critically reflect on practices and structures around health and health research in our societies.

These reflections take place against the backdrop of social developments and other institutional structures that intersect with the ones we engage with. Furthermore, in our globalised world, these practices and structures extend beyond various boundaries– even if they are local. Some of the structures we study are firmly embedded in our lives, whereas others are new and innovative and promise (or threaten) to change it for the better.

Our critical engagements aim to feed back into the practices, structures and technologies we study, to strengthen and optimise them and make them more socially robust, proportional and just.


We are looking for a researcher with:

  • A PhD degree in Science and Technology Studies or related field;
  • Experience in qualitative research, including conducting Delphi processes;
  • Experience in quantitative research, including conducting surveys;
  • Skills in qualitative and quantitative data analysis;
  • Evidence of being able to complete research outputs (e.g., peer reviewed publications);
  • Ability and willingness to independently manage day-to-day activity;
  • Fluency in spoken English and excellent writing skills in English;
  • Strong analytical capacity;
  • Communication proficiency;
  • willingness and proven ability to work as part of an international team.

Our organisation

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences conducts high-quality research and offers a broad and disciplinary educational programme, focused on increasing our understanding of current developments in society. The faculty consists of five institutes: Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Cultural Anthropology and Developmental Sociology, Education and Child Studies, Political Science and Psychology. The faculty has approximately 7,000 students and 850 staff members. For more information, please visit the website. 


Diversity and inclusion are cherished as core values at Leiden University. At the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences we also strive to create a diverse and inclusive learning and working environment, in which everyone no matter who they are or what they do can feel at home and develop their talents.
Terms and conditions

Employment will be offered through Leiden University, while Maastricht University offers an honorary affiliation in conjunction. We offer a fixed-term position for 38 hours per week from 1 January 2022 until 31 December 2023. Salary ranges from  3807,- to  5211,- gross per month (pay scale 11), in accordance with the Collective Labor 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. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates should have the right to work in the Netherlands for the duration of the contract but do not have to physically be in the Netherlands. 
Promising candidates will be invited for an interview on 23 November 2021.


Additional information about Leiden University and CWTS can be found here and here. Specific information about the position and the project can be obtained from Sarah de Rijcke or Bart Penders by e-mail at s.de.rijcke@cwts.leidenuniv.nl or b.penders@maastrichtuniversity.nl.

The application including a short motivation letter and CV should be submitted no later than November 11th 2021 via the blue button in our application system.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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