Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • WO / MSc

Job description

We are looking for a candidate for a 4-year fulltime PhD research project centered on the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth of color starting September 2022 (start date is negotiable). The candidate will be embedded in the Graduate School of Social Sciences at VU Amsterdam and supervised by prof. dr. Serena Does (endowed professor of Social Inequality & Resilience at VU Amsterdam) and dr. Seval Gündemir (assistant professor of work & organizational psychology at the University of Amsterdam). After successful completion of the program, the candidate will obtain the degree of PhD in Social Sciences.

The aim of this project is to advance knowledge on the intersectional dynamics of (hetero)sexism and racism in the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ youth of color in the Netherlands, to lift their voices, and to identify sources of resilience, empowerment and joy for these youth. We will do so through interviews and surveys, in which we focus on discrimination, racism, and exclusion experiences and the role of social support (e.g., online and offline community spaces) in mitigating these experiences. We will also be deliberate in focusing attention on identifying avenues for boosting sense of belonging, joy, and empowerment. Interviews and surveys will also be used to determine how these experiences differ across contexts (e.g., school, home, dating). Moreover, to identify intersectional blind spots in existing monitoring, policy, and interventions around LGBTQ+ individuals, we will conduct policy analyses, intervention analyses, and study monitoring reports in the Dutch and EU context. In addition, we will interview and survey intervention designers and mental health providers, and youth workers to identify any potential blind spots with regards to racism and discrimination faced by LGBTQ+ youth of color.

Your duties
• Collect and critically review academic articles, primarily in Dutch and English
• Collect and analyze archival data (including national and international policy documents, national and international monitor data)
• Conduct (focus group) interviews primarily in Dutch and English (the ability to speak additional languages such as Papiamento/u, Surinamese, Turkish, Arabic and Spanish is also valued)
• Conduct qualitative analyses
• Design, conduct, and analyze data collected through, surveys and experiments
• Write scientific manuscripts for peer-reviewed outlets, in English and Dutch
• Write popular scientific articles for general audiences, in English and Dutch


We are looking for candidates with:
• A master's or research master's degree in social sciences, or related field
• Academic writing and presentation skills
• Excellent organizational skills
• Intercultural competence and sensitivity
• The ability to navigate complex interpersonal interactions
• Experience or clear potential to engage with multiple stakeholders
• A critical understanding of intersectionality, racism and heterosexism
• Demonstrable experience in working with, or otherwise being engaged with, LGBTQ+ youth of color – through service, education, research, creatively, or otherwise (this is preferred but not essential).
• Experience conducting (focus group) interviews (this is preferred but not essential).
• Experience using statistical software such as R, Stata, Mplus, Python, or SPSS (this is preferred but not essential)

What are we offering?

An exciting position to study LGBTQ+ youth of color's experiences in innovative ways. There will be opportunities for you to collaborate with colleagues internationally, spend time abroad, attend conferences, and work on designing alternative ways of sharing research insights (such as through video and multimedia). The training you will receive will help you develop your knowledge, expertise and skills in (1) social scientific content and theory, (2) social scientific methodology, methods and techniques, and (3) general academic and transferrable skills.

You will join a socially involved organization, where you will be part of the Graduate School of Social Sciences of VU Amsterdam (VU-GSSS). The aim of the Graduate School is to provide a stimulating scientific environment in which young researchers, experienced staff and international scholars can mutually inspire one another. VU-GSSS focuses on some of the most pressing challenges to society, related to topics such as societal resilience, integration & diversity and security & conflict. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,541(PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,247(PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for an additional 3 years (which brings it to a total duration of 4 years).
Additionally, the VU Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
• 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
• contribution to commuting expenses
• optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

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.

VU University 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.

Faculty of Social Sciences
The Faculty of Social Sciences examines the major social problems of our time from multiple perspectives. From bullying at school to dealing with transnational immigration, from the rise of populist politicians to creating a self-reliant society. Only at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam you will find all the academic disciplines needed to understand these 'wicked problems': alongside the traditional disciplines such as sociology, anthropology and politics, we also research and teach the new social sciences such as communication science and management & organization science. We do not settle for easy answers in our teaching and research. Our researchers and students are critical thinkers and doers who work together to devise surprising solutions to the problems of today.

Working at the Faculty of Social Sciences means working with colleagues from a range of academic disciplines in an inspiring and personal work and study environment with excellent research facilities. We employ more than 500 staff members, and we are home to around 2,500 students.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter by August 15, 2022. Interviews will be held in the week of Sept 5 – Sept 9 2022. A brief presentation may be part of the selection process. Second round of interviews may be held the following week.

We explicitly encourage candidates from the LGBTQ+ community, communities of color, and first-generation students to apply. In your cover letter, please address how your past experiences, knowledge and/or training can help inform and contribute to the proposed research.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, please feel free to reach out to the research team: Prof. dr. Serena Does ( or dr. Seval Gündemir (

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