Assistant Professor in Participatory AI
VU University of Amsterdam Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences

At the Athena Institute of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam we invite applications for a full-time permanent appointment as assistant professor specializing in Participatory AI.

LOCATION: Amsterdam
FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

 Disciplinary areas of specialization might include, but are not limited to, the following: computer science, science & technology studies, innovation studies, digital sociology, digital humanities. Affinity with sub-fields like material and digital participation and participatory data design are welcome. Methodological areas of specialization might include: natural language processing, machine learning, experimental ethnography of data, living labs for design, and other transdisciplinary research methods. Although there are no specific requirements regarding topical areas of specialization, candidates need to relate their work to the five research themes of the Athena Institute; Emerging science and technology; (Global) health and well-being; Nature, agriculture and environment; Competency development in inter- and transdisciplinary research; and History of knowledge. The successful candidate is expected to collaborate with different colleagues in projects across these research themes.

Your duties

In this position you need to empirically study and experimentally shapethe role of AI in participatory, action-oriented research practices. If you are mainly interested in critical and/or empirical studies of social and ethical aspects of AI ‘from the outside’, this position is not for you. While skepticism about the promise of AI is a crucial feature of good digital scholarship, your research approach should primarily be experimental and collaborative, with the aim of inventing new problem-solution packages for societal challenges regarding participation in science and technology, broadly defined. Research at the Athena Institute includes approaches such as STS Making & Doing; Interactive Learning and Action; Reflexive monitoring in action (RMA); and Situated Intervention, that share that issue-articulation and the exploration of directions for solutions are developed in collaboration with a wide range of actors/stakeholders.


  • A completed PhD in science, technology & society studies, innovation studies, social AI, cultural AI or a related (inter)discipline;
  • Proven experience with participatory technology design;
  • Experience with participatory research methods and an interest in transdisciplinary research;
  • Proven ability to be a strong collaborator within interdisciplinary teams (listening, flexible, adaptive, pro-active);
  • Strong and relevant publication track-record, commensurate with the candidate’s career stage and complementing and extending the Athena Institute’s research portfolio;
  • Experience with applying for research grants and externally funded projects;
  • Excellent teaching skills and the ability to inspire students (demonstrated through a.o. positive student evaluations);
  • A teaching qualification (in Dutch BKO);
  • An (inter)national network relevant to the position;
  • Good command of Dutch and excellent command of English.

Faculty criteria for appointment at the level of assistant professor are available upon request but minimally include having completed a PhD and having approximately 10 international peer reviewed publications.

Given the extensive collaboration with both international as well as Dutch partners, a good command of Dutch language is required for the position. Since this appointment is intended to result in a tenured position, strong candidates who can convincingly argue that they will be able to master a good working level of Dutch in a relatively short period of time (e.g. through having lived/worked/studied in the Netherlands or having mastered a similar foreign language before) are welcome to apply.

What are we offering

A challenging position from Assistant Professor 2 to Assistant Professor 1 in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3,974 (scale 11) and a maximum of €5,439 (scale 11), depending on your education and experience. The job profile: Assistant Professor 2 is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

We offer 2 types of contract. For candidates already living in the Netherlands, we offer a permanent position after 18 months, after a successful evaluation in your 15th month. After a successful evaluation, a path will be outlined for future academic development.
To candidates that will relocate from abroad we offer a second option next to the previous one. This will be a first (temporary) contract for the duration of 6 years. After 2 and 4 years the performance will be evaluated in terms of teaching, publication record, and acquisition of project funding (in addition to the annual assessment with your supervisor). After a successful evaluation permanent employment will be granted after 6 years and a path will be outlined for future academic development.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • 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,
  • child daycare facilities available on campus

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.


We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to more than 11,000 students.

Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences

The position is offered within the Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences. The institute’s mission is to study and design interfaces between science and society to contribute both to a deeper understanding of innovation processes as well as a responsible implementation of research and innovation in society. Athena’s research program amongst other focuses on analysing complex global health challenges, designing interventions and conducting participatory monitoring and evaluation research. The section presently has a position vacant for a Postdoc/Lecturer.
For more information about the Athena Institute visit our website.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button until 07/04/2023.

Please include in the application a cover letter, a curriculum vitae, as well as the names and contact information for two references. When your application is selected for presentation to the appointment board, you will be asked to provide a writing sample (article or chapter most relevant to the position), a brief teaching statement (max ½ p A4), and an item that gives us a sense of you as a teacher (e.g., syllabus, assignment, etc.). Applications will be reviewed beginning on April 7, and continue until the position is filled.

Informal enquiries about the post should be directed in the first instance to dr. Teun Zuiderent-Jerak ( All enquiries will be treated informally and confidentially and will not be considered in the selection decision.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions

If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Teun Zuiderent Jerak
Position: Associate Professor of Transdisciplinary Science & Technology Studies

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