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PhD (1.0 fte) in the areas of Public Administration and Computational Social Science.

Job description

The section Public Administration in the Technology, Human and Institutional Behaviour (HIB)-department is currently seeking an PhD (1.0 fte) in the areas of Public Administration and Computational Social Science.


Today's society is characterized by sudden events that disrupt our social and economic systems. This research project covers a very urgent problem: critical digital infrastructures are highly vulnerable to disruptions. One important source is cyber-attacks. While these attacks become increasingly serious, sophisticated, and frequent governments should prepare; however, they cannot do so on their own. In your PhD project you will shed light on how a broad range of public, private, and semi-public actors can closely cooperate to make local and regional governance networks resilient to future cyber-security disruptions. You will combine state-of-the-art computational approaches with mixed methods of data collection (interviews, surveys, simulations) to study governance networks. Your research can help executives, managers, and professionals avoid major crises. You will be a key player in a dynamic, international, and interdisciplinary team of social scientists. The PhD project is part of a larger research project funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).


As a PhD researcher you study the current practices in government preparedness for technological disruptions in each of (and across) the 25 Dutch Safety Regions. You will gather data and perform analyses that allow you to closely examine the extent to which these regions, and the local governments embedded therein, organize for technological disruptions by examining their risk profiles, as well in more specific policy documents. You will also be involved in broader questions on societal resilience to technological disruptions, like cyber-attacks.

Your profile

  • you have obtained a MSc degree in a relevant field of the social sciences. Completion of a research master is a plus.
  • you have a clear interest in computational social sciences and Public Administration research.
  • you have a strong background in research methods and are comfortable working in, or learning about programming languages, for example R, Python, or Matlab. You have a keen interest in qualitative research, including interviews and content analysis.
  • you have good social and communication skills which enable you to interact efficiently with both scientists and practitioners.
  • you have excellent English language skills, both in writing and speaking. Fluency in Dutch is highly desired, given your role in data collection in a Dutch context.
  • you are creative, critical, and highly motivated.

Our offer

You are appointed as PhD (1.0 fte) for a period of four years. Initial gross salary is € 2,434 in the first year going up to € 3,111 per month in the fourth year. Preferred starting date is 1 January 2022. The University of Twente offers excellent facilities for professional and personal development within the Twente Graduate School, combined with excellent mentorship, an international and dynamic atmosphere, a green and lively campus, holiday allowance (8%), end-of-year bonus (8.3%), pension and diverse fringe benefits.

Information and application

Please submit your application before December 30, 2021, using the “Apply now” button. Please send us a cover letter, explaining your interest in the project and position and why you would qualify for this project. Please also provide a full curriculum vitae, transcripts of your diploma supplement (with grades) for your university courses (Bachelors and Masters) and a writing sample (manuscript text of your master thesis or article), for which you are either the lead or sole author.

We anticipate interviewing short-listed candidates on the second week of January 2022, via videoconference. For additional information about this position, please contact Prof. dr. Rene Torenvlied (email: r.torenvlied@utwente.nl) or dr. Le Anh Nguyen Long (email: l.a.n.long@utwente.nl).

About the department

The HIB-department is one of  four departments at the faculty. The department is committed to design, evaluation and implementation of and teaching about comprehensive technology-based solutions supporting people in behaviour that promotes their health, safety, resilience, connectedness and joy. The HIB-department comprises research groups of Communication Science; Psychology, Health & Technology; Psychology of Conflict, Risk and Safety; and Public Administration. For more information on these groups, see: https://www.utwente.nl/en/bms/organization/departments-institutes/#department-clusters

About the organization

The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS) aims to play a pivotal role in understanding, co-engineering and evaluating innovation in society. Innovation is driven by advances in technology. By means of 'social engineering', we are here to integrate these advances in society. As a people-first tech university, we align these advances with the needs and behaviour of humans. We ensure proper public and private management as well as robust, inclusive and fair organisational structures. The faculty of BMS does this by developing, transferring and applying high-quality knowledge of Psychology, Business Administration, Public Administration, Communication Science, Philosophy, Educational Science, and Health Sciences. Our research and education in these disciplines is challenge-based. The BMS research programmes are directly linked to our research institutes: Mesa+ Institute for Nanotechnology, the TechMed Centre and the Digital Society Institute.

University of Twente (UT)

University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology' we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT's departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

As an employer, University of Twente offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With us, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customisable conditions.

PhD (1.0 fte) in the areas of Public Administration and Computational Social Science.
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