Skip to main content
logo-erasmus lifeline-menu facebook twitter linkedin instagram play pause refresh expand contract close sound mute share down angle-left angle-right slider-right slider-left search phone mail location earth external-link clock clipboard-list location print whatsapp warning hash lifeline checkmark stethoscope calendar specialty closing-date bell

Junior researcher on social inequalities, urban characteristics, health behaviour and stress

  • Research & Education
  • 36 hours
  • Public Health

  • Closing date 18-04-2021
  • 12.01.21.TG

Job description

The SURREAL consortium invites highly qualified and motivated applicants for an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) position within the framework of the Innovative Training Networks (ITN) action SURREAL.

Description of the action:
SURREAL (Systems approach of urban environments and health) is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) action funded by the European Commission, which started as of January 2021. The network will employ 15 Early Stage Researchers for a 3 years’ high quality interdisciplinary and intersectoral PhD training.

The aim of SURREAL is to deliver a unique, creative and single training network for 15 ESR’s working on an improved understanding of the urban health system's complexity, and on co-designing and applying adequate interventions in the system. The action will draw upon interactions between academic disciplines such as epidemiology, public health, human movement science, psychology, sociology, geography, and urban planning and a wide range of entities such as medical centres, public authorities, firms, and NGOs as well as citizens. Equipped with this expertise and supported by innovative training formats, such as Collaborative Learning in Practice (CLiP), SURREAL trains the next generation of professionals in urban health.

The project described below will be conducted by ESR1 in the action.
Project description – ESR 1:
Why and how exposures to urban environmental characteristics contribute to health equity is difficult to understand by focussing on single characteristics, such as green spaces of social cohesion. The applicant will use a complexity perspective to understand how environmental exposures and personal characteristics contribute together to socioeconomic inequalities in health behaviour and stress. Moreover, he/she will empirically test and apply elements of the systems model quantitatively, thereby maximally exploiting the variation in environmental exposure between cities in Europe.

This project will allow the applicant to use theories from urban geography, sociology and public health for the purpose of constructing a causal loop diagram and to apply and gain experience with a broad range of quantitative research methods, using data collected in different European cities. The results will be published in international scientific journals.

Work environment

The SURREAL consortium is composed of 10 universities and research institutes joining forces with 20 partner organizations. Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research - LISER (LU) (prof.dr. Martin Dijst) is the managing coordinator in the project. The other beneficiaries are Université du Luxembourg, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (FR), Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht (NL), Erasmus Universitair Medisch Centrum Rotterdam (NL), Wageningen University (NL), Universiteit Hasselt (BE), Tel Aviv University (IL), Fundacion Privada Instituto de Salud Global Barcelona (ES) and Tartu Ülikool, (EE). The partner organizations are located in The Netherlands, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Israel, Spain, France, UK, and Estonia.

This project will be conducted at the Department of Public Health at Erasmus MC Rotterdam. At the Department of Public Health, we are dedicated to improve population health at local, national, and international level through excellent research and education. Our research is characterised as highly multidisciplinary and is focused on the development and use of innovative methods. Collaboration with and direct impact on practice and policy are at the heart of our work.ed.

Qualifications and skills

  • The position will be offered to MSc graduates in Health Sciences, Sociology, Epidemiology, Geography or other related field relevant to the described project.
  • The applicant wants to further develop his/her knowledge of theories and quantitative methods in geography, sociology, or public health on urbanization and/or socioeconomic inequalities.
  • Key skills that the applicant will be developing and working with are quantitative analyses of large datasets (preferably using R), academic writing and reporting, and organizational and communicational skills.
  • Furthermore, we highly support candidates with a strong motivation to engage in interdisciplinary and intersectoral network wide training activities, a willingness to closely collaborate with other academic disciplines and societal stakeholders, a willingness to participate in two internships, and a willingness to participate in network-wide training events, and to communication, dissemination and engaging activities.
  • Finally, we encourage applicants to take own initiatives as well as work in groups to solve complex problems. They should be fluent in English, both written as well as oral.

Specific ITN-regulations for applications:
To be able to be considered for the position, the applicant must:

  • be working exclusively for the action; AND
  • not have resided AND not have carried out your main activity (work, studies) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date; AND
  • be — at the date of recruitment — in the first four years of a research career and do not have a doctoral degree. Considered is: time spent as FTE research experience, measured from the date when the degree entitling you to embark on a doctorate was obtained, even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged.

Before you apply please check our conditions for employment.

Terms of employment

The gross monthly salary amounts a maximum of € 4.615,- (scale 10), depending on your level of education and relevant experience and based on a full-time working week of 36 hours. The terms of employment are in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement for University Medical Centers (CAO UMC).

Furthermore, we offer:

  • A 12 months full-time appointment, to be extended with a further 24 months (for a total of 3 years) contingent on a satisfactory performance during the first period;
  • An exciting, multi-disciplinary and international research environment with ample opportunities for exchange with scholars from related disciplines at the universities and research institutes in the consortium, as well as with the local partner organizations and local stakeholders;
  •  A creative, entrepreneurial, innovative and holistic training environment consisting of  Individual Research Projects (IRP), providing excellent supervision and mentoring with academics and non-academics; Structured local training programs, comprising specific training courses in research-related skills and well as training in complementary skills, offered on the basis of a Personal Career Development Plan; Network-wide activities, i.c. 3 Network Schools, in Utrecht, Paris and Barcelona; Secondments, i.c. at least two inter-sectoral secondments to participants within the SURREAL Network; Collaborative learning in practice (CLiP), allowing to engage continuously with and learn from working in real urban health intervention situations; Career development modules, i.c. the use of Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) and how to effectively employ the RDF Planner as basis for a Personal Career Development Plan (PCDP); Additional training and networking opportunities through participation in international conferences.

Information and application

For more information about this position, please contact prof. dr. Frank J. van Lenthe, professor, e-mail: Please use the apply button. The following documents are required:

  • Copy of your ID
  • Letter of motivation
  • A note suggesting specific research questions related to the project's theme (1/2 A4)
  •  Curriculum Vitae
  • Copy of the highest diploma. The minimum requirement is a diploma qualifying for doctoral studies in the recruiting country (e.g. Master degree). Students in their last year may apply but can only be recruited upon successful graduation.
  • Contact details of two referees (no recommendation letter)
  • Writing sample (e.g. student’s paper or chapter thesis) preferably in English.

Applicants can apply for up to 4 Individual ESR Research Projects, indicating their order of priority. All projects can be found on EURAXESS . Selected applicants will be called for an interview.
The job will start at the latest September 1, 2021.

For SURREAL related information, please contact prof. dr. Martin Dijst (Network Coordinator), e-mail: administrative matters, please contact (Consortium Office Manager). All Beneficiaries in the consortium are Equal Opportunity Employers

GDPR consent statement
By submitting your application via the email address or platform indicated in the project(s), you consent to the following:

  • Your personal records and application files are kept at the institution(s) to which you submitted them, until 5 years after the end date of the project, i.c. 31.12.2029;
  • Your personal records and application files may also be shared with the recruitment committees of other projects in the consortium, in particular if such sharing increases your chances of being recruited;
  • In the event you are shortlisted in view of potential recruitment, your personal records and application files are additionally kept at the Network Coordinator institute, i.c. LISER – Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research, until 5 years after the end date of the project, i.c. 31.12.2029;
  • Any additional GDPR/data protection notices for recruitment applicable at the institution to which you submit your application.

No agencies please.

Erasmus MC

Pioneering, pushing boundaries and leading: in healthcare, education and research

Erasmus MC is an international leading academic hospital in Rotterdam. We are recognized as a world-class scientific research organization aiming to improve our understanding of diseases and disorders and helps to predict, treat and prevent them. We have access to the latest equipment and techniques. A working environment that gets the best out of people.

Find out more about Erasmus MC