Assistant Professor (career track) in Participatory AI

Research / Academic

Disciplinary areas of specialization might include, but are not limited to, the following: computer science, science & technology studies, innovation studies, digital sociology, digital humanities. Affinity with sub-fields like material and digital participation and participatory data design are welcome. Methodological areas of specialization might include: natural language processing, machine learning, experimental ethnography of data, living labs for design, and other transdisciplinary research methods. Although there are no specific requirements regarding topical areas of specialization, candidates need to relate their work to the five research themes of the Athena Institute; Emerging science and technology; (Global) health and well-being; Nature, agriculture and environment; Competency development in inter- and transdisciplinary research; and History of knowledge. The successful candidate is expected to collaborate with different colleagues in projects across these research themes.

Your duties
In this position you need to empirically study and experimentally shape the role of AI in participatory, action-oriented research practices. If you are mainly interested in critical and/or empirical studies of social and ethical aspects of AI 'from the outside', this position is not for you. While skepticism about the promise of AI is a crucial feature of good digital scholarship, your research approach should primarily be experimental and collaborative, with the aim of inventing new problem-solution packages for societal challenges regarding participation in science and technology, broadly defined. Research at the Athena Institute includes approaches such as STS Making & Doing; Interactive Learning and Action; Reflexive monitoring in action (RMA); and Situated Intervention, that share that issue-articulation and the exploration of directions for solutions are developed in collaboration with a wide range of actors/stakeholders.


  • A completed PhD in science, technology & society studies, innovation studies, social AI, cultural AI or a related (inter)discipline;
  • Proven experience with participatory technology design;
  • Experience with participatory research methods and an interest in transdisciplinary research;
  • Proven ability to be a strong collaborator within interdisciplinary teams (listening, flexible, adaptive, pro-active);
  • Strong and relevant publication track-record, commensurate with the candidate's career stage and complementing and extending the Athena Institute's research portfolio;
  • Experience with applying for research grants and externally funded projects;
  • Excellent teaching skills and the ability to inspire students (demonstrated through a.o. positive student evaluations);
  • A teaching qualification (in Dutch BKO);
  • An (inter)national network relevant to the position;
  • Good command of Dutch and excellent command of English.

Faculty criteria for appointment at the level of assistant professor are available upon request but minimally include having completed a PhD and having approximately 10 international peer reviewed publications.

Given the extensive collaboration with both international as well as Dutch partners, a good command of Dutch language is required for the position. Since this appointment is intended to result in a tenured position, strong candidates who can convincingly argue that they will be able to master a good working level of Dutch in a relatively short period of time (e.g. through having lived/worked/studied in the Netherlands or having mastered a similar foreign language before) are welcome to apply.

Salary Benefits:

A challenging position from Assistant Professor 2 to Assistant Professor 1 in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3,974 (scale 11) and a maximum of €5,439 (scale 11), depending on your education and experience. The job profile: Assistant Professor 2 is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

We offer 2 types of contract. For candidates already living in the Netherlands, we offer a permanent position after 18 months, after a successful evaluation in your 15th month. After a successful evaluation, a path will be outlined for future academic development.
To candidates that will relocate from abroad we offer a second option next to the previous one. This will be a first (temporary) contract for the duration of 6 years. After 2 and 4 years the performance will be evaluated in terms of teaching, publication record, and acquisition of project funding (in addition to the annual assessment with your supervisor). After a successful evaluation permanent employment will be granted after 6 years and a path will be outlined for future academic development.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment,
  • 8% holiday allowance and
  • 8.3% end-of-year bonus,
  • solid pension scheme (ABP),
  • possibility to save holiday hours, for sabbatical leave,
  • child daycare facilities available on campus
Work Hours:

30.4 - 38 hours per week


De Boelelaan 1105