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PhD candidate, Science Communication and Mathematics, Netherlands


We are looking for a strong, motivated candidate for a four-year PhD project at the intersection of Science Communication and Mathematics, on the topic of Citizen Science Projects in the context of networks.

There is currently a boost of projects where citizens are involved with science (see ). This PhD project is expected to spark theoretical advances in the theory behind citizen science, making fundamental contributions in the area of science communication. Who are the participants and what do they take away from a project? How can these projects be used for communicating scientific ideas? And what makes a citizen science project successful?

This PhD project is carried out in the framework of the NWO Gravity project . The combination of large populations of interested citizens and the availability of wireless technology and digital infrastructures creates unprecedented possibilities to gather data and reveal underlying network structures. The project goals are to gain theoretical knowledge about citizen science projects and to use this theory to develop, execute and evaluate a new citizen science project for human networks.

This is a joint project of the Science, Communication and Society group in Leiden and the Stochastics Networks and Applied Probability group in Eindhoven, under the supervision of Ionica Smeets (Leiden) and Johan van Leeuwaarden (Eindhoven). The PhD candidate will be based in Leiden with regular visits to Eindhoven.


Selection Criteria


  • We are looking for a strong, motivated candidate with an excellent background in mathematics, as evidenced by an MSc degree in mathematics, or possibly related disciplines such as computer science, econometrics or operations research;

  • A specialization in science communication, comparable experience or proven affinity;

  • Strong knowledge of probability theory, graph theory and networks is highly desirable;

  • Fluent in English, both oral and in writing;

  • A pioneering spirit;

  • Good knowledge of the Dutch language (or the willingness to become competent) is a prerequisite for the project.


Research at our faculty


The Faculty of Science teaches more than 2,600 students in the context of 8 bachelor’s and 11 master’s programmes. Working at the Faculty of Science means being part of an exciting, dynamic scientific environment which sets high standards for its students, staff and support staff alike. The Faculty is known for its friendly and team-spirited atmosphere, which promotes mutual exchange of knowledge. For more information, see


Terms and conditions


We offer a full-time one year term position with the possibility of renewal based on need, funding and performance.  Salary range from €2,174,- to € 2,779,- gross per month (pay scale P, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information see

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.




Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.




Enquiries can be made to Ionica Smeets, or prof.dr. J.S.H. van Leeuwaarden,

If you have any enqueries about the procedure, please contact Ionica Smeets,  

Information about the faculty of Science can be found at and about Leiden University at Information about Science, Communication and Society can be found at




To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to

Please ensure that you include the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

·         A detailed curriculum vitae including references;

·         Course lists and grades;

·         A brief cover letter motivating your interest.

Further Information

Application Deadline : 30 September 2016

PhD candidate, Science Communication and Mathematics : PDF

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Posted on 2016-08-19 06:47:37

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