Professor of Social Sciences

University of Amsterdam Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences


Professor for the Endowed Chair of Metropolitan Challenges, with a Particular Focus on Amsterdam

Faculty/Services:  Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Educational level:  Promoted
Function type:  Academic Staff
Closing date:  8 juli 2022
Vacancy number:  9170

The Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences of the University of Amsterdam, in collaboration with the City of Amsterdam, is looking for a professor for the endowed chair of metropolitan challenges, with a particular focus on Amsterdam. This chair, also known as the Wibaut chair, was established in 1991 by the Amsterdam city council and is intended for the study of metropolitan challenges in Amsterdam. The chair has been held successively by Willem Heinemeijer, Annemieke Roobeek, Jan Terlouw, Geert Mak, Paul Scheffer and Zef Hemel. The candidate is appointed for a period of five years, with the possibility of one five-year extension. Within the thematic context of the chair, the chair holder has freedom to develop her own research focus.

What will you do

The chair's key objective is to elaborate research on the theme of 'individual and community' and the related topics of sense of community, shared reponsible  and equal opportunities.

The municipality of Amsterdam has the ambition to strengthen connections and trust amongst citizens, and between citizens and the government, in the superdiverse city of Amsterdam. This ambition involves efforts to make Amsterdam a city for and by Amsterdammers. Marginalized Amsterdammers should feel heard and represented and see opportunities to pursue their dreams in Amsterdam. The mayor of Amsterdam has prioritized the state-citizen relationship theme for the coming years.

The chair holder will be asked to conduct research into relationships between the municipality, citizens, businesses and civil society in order to contribute to enhancing connections, trust and solidarity between these parties. Such research can contribute to debates on strengthening urban community and on state-citizen relationships in Amsterdam. The chair holder is asked to focus on new forms and practices of urban democracy in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. The relationship with (political, cultural, socio-economic and spatial) inequalities is of particular importance here.

The City of Amsterdam is particularly interested in strengthening political community on a local level as a strategy to promote equal opportunities and prosperity. The chair holder could, for example, conduct research into local wealth creation (community wealth building), whereby employment and income remain within the community, or into networked forms of collaboration through which collective facilities are developed and managed (commoning). The chair holder’s research should contribute to Amsterdam's ambition to develop as a human-centred metropolis and the chair holder will be expected to provide input for the program Amsterdam 750 years: “We make the city together” (2025).

The chair holder is asked to conduct research into the topics described above and to disseminate this knowledge through publications and teaching. Methodologically, quantitative, qualitative and participatory research methods are all valued. Ideally, the research should be conducted in a comparative perspective, comparing Amsterdam with other metropolitan regions. The comparison could result in translating best practices from other contexts to Amsterdam, but can also serve a broader reflexive purpose, leading to a better understanding of the Amsterdam situation.

The chair holder is expected to develop her own research in dialogue with the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences of the University of Amsterdam and the urban strategy team of the Municipality of Amsterdam. She is also expected to act as a critical sparring partner for city’s Mayor and Aldermen. The chair holder is also expected to make an active effort, in collaboration with the urban strategy team of the Municipality of Amsterdam, to share knowledge about the city with a broad audience and to contribute to putting urban issues on the policy agenda of urban, national and international authorities.

Within the University of Amsterdam, the collaboration focusses on the domain of Social Sciences and the Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies at the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences. The chair holder is expected to collaborate with researchers in the field of urban socio-spatial inequality and/or urban planning, for instance through co-authoring publications and supervising junior researchers. Collaboration with the Inequality Knowledge Center also falls within the scope of the chair. Furthermore, a contribution to teaching in the field of urban inequality is expected, in the form of lectures and working groups (potentially varying from BSc to PhD level).


  • Conducting scientific research in the field of metropolitan issues and community building, in dialogue with research carried out within the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences of the University of Amsterdam; 
  • Independently advise the Amsterdam city council, supported by the urban strategy team of the municipality of Amsterdam;
  • Initiating and coordinating research projects within the thematic context of the chair; 
  • Initiating and supervising PhD research; 
  • Academic teaching in relation to the special expertise in the field of the chair and the candidate’s wider experience; 
  • Building and maintaining an (inter)national network and participation in (inter)national projects; 
  • Sharing knowledge about topics relevant to the chair with a wide audience.

What do you bring

The candidate is expected to meet the following requirements:

  • Ability to conduct scientific research, as evidenced by a PhD and regular academic publications;
  • National and international standing within the professional field;
  • Competence to provide scientific education; 
  • To act as an independent and critical sparring partner for the Amsterdam city government;
  • In possession of a large (international) network;
  • Ability to interpret Amsterdam’s challenges within international perspective;
  • Ability to communicate effectively with scientists and officials as well as with a broad non-scientific audience;
  • Demonstrable experience with valorisation of knowledge both within and outside an academic setting.

What we offer

The candidate will receive a temporary appointment at the Municipality of Amsterdam for a period of five years (2022-2027) for 2 days a week (0.4 FTE). (For candidates who would like to combine the chair with an appointment abroad, we are open to an arrangement that would enable the combination of those two positions.) The start date can be determined in consultation. The salary is between a minimum of € 5,931 and a maximum of € 8,552 gross per month based on a 36-hour working week (scale 16) in keeping with the Collective Labor Agreement for municipal officials. In addition, the municipality of Amsterdam offers an extensive package of fringe benefits, including 8% holiday pay and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.

What we offer in addition 

The municipality of Amsterdam assists the research of the Wibaut chair by providing financial and practical support. This can include organizing meetings, deploying trainees or financing specific research projects. The appointment affords the chair holder with access to qualitative and quantitative data about Amsterdam from the Research Information & Statistics (OIS) department. In addition, the chair holder will be helped to gain access to researchers at various organisations within and outside the municipality of Amsterdam and to various regional, national and international networks. Finally, working together with the urban strategy team provides an opportunity to collaborate with a passionate, multidisciplinary and independent team that works closely together with to the board of the Mayor and Alderman and its top advisors.

About us 

The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. The social and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future. 

The chair is placed within the Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies of the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences of the University of Amsterdam. As a researcher, the chair holder becomes a member of the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR). The department as well as the research institute belong to the international scientific top of geography and planning, international development studies and the social sciences. As a member of the scientific staff, the chair holder benefits from all the conditions – inspiring colleagues, support in the acquisition and organization of research, various forums for scientific debate – offered by the department, the research institute and the faculty.


For questions please contact:

Dr. Jochem de Vries, Department Chair Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies,, tel: +31205256052

Job Application

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 8 July 2022. 

Applications in .pdf should include: 

  • a curriculum vitae; 
  • a letter of motivation.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

If you encounter Error GBB451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.

No agencies please.

In your application, please refer to


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