Working at Amsterdam UMC

PhD student - Arts and Sciences

Are you interested in engaging the public in decision making on DNA editing? We are looking for a PhD student to help us connect with society by using art and design!
PhD student - Arts and Sciences
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  • Hours: 36 uur per week
  • Location: Locatie AMC
  • Contract type: fixed-term
  • Salary: € 2.631 - € 3.336
  • React until: 24 August 2022
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The project

How do we get society to think about editing DNA of future generations? Human germline gene editing introduces heritable genetic alterations to ‘the human germline’. It has the potential to impact clinical practice by preventing severe genetic disorders in the embryo, however, it poses all kinds of questions and dilemmas. For example, changes in DNA can be passed on to subsequent generations. Thereby, it has the potential to alter human nature. In a democratic society, this requires public discussion and deliberation. But how do you shape that, and what values are at stake? That's what PRESAGE is all about. PRESAGE (Public Realm Entrance & Societal Alignment of Germline Editing) is an NWO-NWA funded project led by Dr Sam Riedijk. PRESAGE is taking the next step towards harmonizing germline editing and what we value and consider important as a society. The researchers taking part in PRESAGE use innovative methods to shape this conversation, for example, artistic research, constructive journalism, experimental design methods, and more.

This PhD project will be embedded in PRESAGE and entails a collaboration between Amsterdam UMC, Willem de Kooning Academy (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences), and multiple academic and industry partners. You will be supervised by Prof. Lidewij Henneman, Amsterdam UMC, and co-supervised by Dr. Michelle Kasprzak, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, and Danielle Arets, Fontys University of Applied Sciences.

The selected PhD candidate will curate several artistic interventions intended to stimulate dialogue and deliberation among hard-to-reach communities on the topic of human germline editing. The candidate will evaluate effectiveness for deliberation of several public-facing art works and events, with budgetary and logistical support. The candidate is expected to gather and analyze data and publish papers in international refereed journals, co-authored with PRESAGE researchers. As such, the project features a unique combination of art-science collaborations but also of public engagement and science communication. Are you the PhD student ready to take up this challenge? 

Question about this vacancy?
Tanja Hart Tanja Hart +31621603178 Recruitment adviseur
About your role

The research will be performed with both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. The main tasks and responsibilities for the PhD student will be:  

  1. Study the literature regarding the role of arts in public engagement and deliberation.
  2. Under supervision, to set-up and perform research activities including surveys, interviews and focus groups.
  3. To recruit respondents, i.e. a representation of different members of the public, in particular hard-to-reach communities and (parents of) patients with genetic diseases.
  4. To organize meetings and events with collaborators and artists.
  5. To actively participate in scientific meetings and art meetings, both locally and internationally. 
  6. To analyze and present the data and publish scientific papers leading to a PhD defense at the Vrije Universiteit after four years.
  7. Publish about the generated insights in both public and professional journals (e.g. newspapers/social media/academic papers).
About you

To manage this exciting and challenging project we are looking for a motivated and enthusiastic PhD student with the following characteristics:

  • Master degree in social sciences or related field, including public health, health sciences, responsible research and innovation, curating, art-science, science communication, science and technology studies, and other adjacent fields.
  • A critical and curious attitude, outstanding time management, communicative and organizational skills.
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively within the project consortium.
  • Skilled in qualitative (e.g. interviews, focus groups), quantitative (e.g. surveys) and participatory research methodologies and data analysis.
  • Interest in new developments in genetics and how to inform and involve members of the public to deliberate on new innovations such as gene editing is appreciated.
  • Affinity with art and design as creative methods of inquiry, reflection and dialogue. Experience with curating and commissioning art projects is desirable, but not essential. 
  • Fluent in Dutch and English (verbal and written), and good academic writing skills.

You have a clear interest to work in a multidisciplinary team. You will be the bridge between the different stakeholders and organisations participating in the study and are willing to travel regularly within the Netherlands. You are excited to develop your own ideas and discuss these with the team. You have experience managing projects and events, or you are interested in developing this skill.

Our offer
  • A contract for one year (12 months) with the intention to extend for another 36 months.
  • Besides a good basic salary, you will also receive an 8.3% year-end bonus and 8% holiday allowance. Calculate your net salary here.
  • Free and unlimited access to our online learning environment GoodHabitz.
  • Pension accrual with ABP, of which we pay 70% of the premium.
  • Reimbursement of 75% of your public transport costs. Would you rather travel by bike? Then we have a good bicycle scheme.
  • An active personnel association and the Young Amsterdam UMC association, both of which organize fun (sports) activities and events.
About your workplace

You will be working at the Department of Human Genetics, section Community Genetics, Amsterdam UMC location AMC and will closely collaborate with the Willem de Kooning Academy and Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. Within our PRESAGE Consortium, led by ErasmusMC, there are strong collaborations with other research groups, but also with other stakeholders such as patient and professional organizations, NEMO, Rathenau Institute and industry.

Working in Amsterdam UMC means working in an inspiring and professional environment where the development of talents and skills is strongly encouraged. We therefore offer you many opportunities for personal development, deepening and broadening, additional courses and a place to grow.

Amsterdam UMC has an open culture. This means that we hope that everyone feels welcome in our organization and that we strive to offer equal opportunities to everyone. We therefore cordially invite all interested parties to respond to this vacancy.

Amsterdam UMC has an open culture. This means that we hope that everyone feels welcome in our organization and that we strive to offer equal opportunities to everyone. We therefore cordially invite all interested parties to respond to this vacancy. Check out our approach to diversity and inclusion.
What to expect
A job in our beautiful capital city
Working for the favorite employer in healthcare (intermediary 2021)
All colleagues have the same goal: contributing to tomorrow’s care
There is room for development, deepening and broadening of your knowledge
An active staff association that organizes fun activities and arranges discounts on products and services for you
Amsterdam UMC innovates continuously, which requires a flexible attitude from everyone
Two large locations, good for your pedometer!
You have more than 15.000 colleagues, not all of whom you will get to know personally
Meet your colleagues Watch video’s of your future colleagues
Amsterdam UMC
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Let’s meet!

The first round of interviews is scheduled for the last week of August. We ask you to take this into account. 

Do you have any questions? For substantive information, please contact Prof. dr. Lidewij Henneman at

For more information about the application procedure, please contact Tanja Hart, Recruitment Advisor, at 020 444 5635 or

A reference check and screening may be part of the procedure. Read here what this involves. If you will be working for us, we ask for a VOG (Certificate of Good Conduct). 

Internal candidates will be given priority over external candidates in case of equal suitability.

Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.