Postdoctoral position within Research Priority Area Personalised Communication 4

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences and Faculty of Law

Publication date
26 February 2018
Level of education
Salary indication
€3,475 to €4,757 gross per month, based on 38 hours a week
Closing date
3 April 2018
32 to 38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Research Priority Area Personalised Communication is a collaboration between the Amsterdam School of Communication Research ASCoR and the Institute for Information Law (IvIR). Both research institutes are among the leading in the world. 

We currently have postdoctoral vacancies as part of the RPA project, directed by Prof. Claes de Vreese and Prof. Natali Helberger.

Project and job description

'Personalised communication' is a term that captures one of the key developments in present-day digital communication. It is a phenomenon that presents a number of advantages, disadvantages and challenges, which we will examine in this research programme. On the one hand, profiling users and targeting them with customised messages may present a solution to certain challenges created by modern media, such as information overload and ensuing attention scarcity. Through personalised content, search results and applications (apps), consumers’ consumption patterns and profiles can be analysed individually; health information can be targeted to improve certain lifestyle choices and manage diseases; and political information can be adjusted to individual voter profiles. On the other hand, personalised communication can manipulate or bias information which, in the worst case, can deprive people of access to more meaningful or more diverse information. This can have a number of worrying effects or conflict with values such as our right to privacy and freedom of expression. Furthermore, personalised communication offers unprecedented opportunities for unfair stereotyping, discrimination and social sorting.

The RPA in its first years has generated a broad basis of scientific knowledge and is currently looking for a Postdoctoral researcher with a relevant legal background in the areas of consumer and/or data protection law.

The researcher will:

  • conduct (interdisciplinary) legal research;
  • develop concepts to be tested empirically;
  • work with existing data sets (survey data, tracking data);
  • design and collect new data fitting within the project themes;
  • work in the broader Personalised Communication team;
  • complete scientific papers on this topic;
  • contributing to the public debate, and organising outreach activities of the project;
  • contributing to fundraising activities at the ASCoR/IvIR and the project.

The position is 32 to 38 hours (0.8-1.0 FTE) per week. An 0.8 appointment, possibly with .2 FTE teaching time.


The candidate should have:

  • a clear research interest in the topic of the project (documented by publications and grant applications);
  • a relevant background in information law & policy;
  • demonstrable affinity with, and basic understanding of the use of algorithms in the media/commerce/health domain and/or the application of AI/machine learning technologies in different fields;
  • the ability, willingness, and commitment to do autonomous work in amultidisciplinary team, including communication scholars and data scientists;
  • experience with writing grant applications and project proposals;
  • experience with organising workshops, lecture series, and similar events;
  • strong communication skills and experience with speaking to relevant national and international policy forums and media;
  • an excellent written and spoken command of English, as demonstrated by publications in English-language journals (written and spoken command of other languages, including French, German and/or Dutch is a plus);
  • a relevant PhD degree. Candidates who are due to submit their dissertation before 1 September 2018 are welcome to apply.

Further information

Questions about the application procedure and other general questions may be addressed to:


The position preferably starts 1 September 2018. It concerns, in principle, a two-year period after an initial test period.

For postdoctoral researchers the monthly gross salary, depending on your knowledge and experience, will range between €3,475 and €4,757 (Scale 11) based on a full-time basis.

We offer a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% per year, and flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Job application

To apply for this position, please send at least the following documents in English by e-mail to

  • a motivation letter, including a brief discussion about how the candidate sees her/his fit with the topic and objectives of the RPA;
  • a curriculum vitae, including publication list and overview of academic activities and achievements thus far (e.g., conference visits, courses taken, awards);
  • proof of your PhD degree. If you have not completed your degree at the time of application, please provide a statement from your supervisor confirming the expected date of completion of your degree;
  • an academic writing sample in English (e.g., journal article, PhD dissertation) and
  • a list of names that could be consulted by the RPA as a reference for the candidate (no reference letters required).

Please send all your documents in PDF or doc(x) format. Only complete applications will be considered.

The deadline for applications is 3 April 2018. Please state vacancy number 18-092 in the subject line of your application. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam