Researcher in co-design for Urban Health (SURREAL project)

Published on
March 26, 2021
Location Wageningen
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We are looking for

Do you see yourself as the new generation of professionals in urban health? Do you want to be part of a unique, creative and single training network of 15 young researchers working on an improved understanding of the urban health system? Do you want to follow a high quality interdisciplinary and intersectoral training? Are you passionate about co-design and healthy lifestyle in youth?

The position is part of the SURREAL project. SURREAL (Systems approach of urban environments and health) is a 3-years 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 (ESR students) for high quality interdisciplinary and intersectoral PhD training. The aim of SURREAL is to deliver a unique, creative and single training network for 15 ESR students working on an improved understanding of the urban health system's complexity, and on co-designing and applying adequate interventions in the system. The project draws 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.

You will be working on a research project in which healthy lifestyle (e.g. physical activity, sedentary behavior) interventions will be co-designed and evaluated together with adolescents from a low socioeconomic (SES) neighborhood. To inform the design of the interventions, participatory methods and novel technologies will be applied to collect data from adolescents about their social (organizational) networks (e.g. their significant others), and health related behaviors and exposures to urban environments. Your main tasks will involve:

  • communication with stakeholders (e.g. adolescents, schools, neighborhood workers);
  • setting up and conducting participatory action research (e.g. focus groups, observations, co-creating and co-evaluating interventions);
  • analyze qualitative and quantitative research data;
  • report and communicate results through e.g. scientific papers and presentations.
This position will be placed in the chair group Consumption and Healthy Lifestyles.

We ask

For this interdisciplinary project we are looking for a teammate with:

  • a (soon to be) completed master’s degree (preferably a research master) in Health Promotion, (Health) Psychology, (Health) Communication, Design, Anthropology or a related discipline. Students in their last year of study may apply but can only be recruited upon successful graduation;
  • experience or interest in youth and lifestyle;
  • experience or affinity with co-design, intervention development and evaluation;
  • experience or affinity with participatory research methods and novel technologies;
  • a collaborative and creative mind set and with excellent organizational and social skills;
  • eagerness to learn and think across disciplines;
For this position, it is necessary to communicate a significant amount in Dutch and it is therefore important that you have a good command of the Dutch language, at least C2 level. If you do not meet this requirement, you cannot be considered for the position. In addition to Dutch, you also need to have a good command of English.

Eligibility: If you are interested in this ESR project, you are required to:
  • be working exclusively for this project; 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 your research career and not have a doctoral degree. Considered is: time spent as FTE research experience, measured from the date when you obtained the degree entitling you to embark on a doctorate even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged.

We offer

  • a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well. The total duration of this project is 3 years, in case of additional funding and proven suitability, a 4th year for completion of PhD can be a possibility;
  • 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.
Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment.  A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will of course receive a good salary. Depending on your experience, we offer a competitive gross salary of maximum €2.920,- for a full-time working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU).

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

More information

For more information about this position, please contact Monique Simons via

For more information about the procedure, please contact Sandra Willemsen, Corporate recruiter or Bianca Aversteeg, Recruitment support via

You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including the 27th of April, 2021. We hope to schedule the first job interviews in week 20 of 2021.

Next to your letter of motivation and your cv, you need to upload, via ‘other’ or in the same document as your letter of motivation:

  • a note suggesting specific research questions related to the project's theme (1/2 A4);
  • a copy of you 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);
  • a writing sample (e.g. student’s paper or chapter thesis) preferably in English.

This project is part of the SURREAL H2020-ITN PhD training network of in total 15 Individual ESR Research projects. You may apply for up to 4 projects within the network, adding a document to your application file in which you indicate their order of priority.
Selected applicants will be called for an interview.

The job will start at the latest the 1st of September, 2021.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusive webpage. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

Wageningen University & Research
The mission of Wageningen University and Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 6.500 employees and 12.500 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

These are the points our employees list as good reasons to come work at WUR: read the 5 reasons to come work at WUR

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.
Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

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.   

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