PhD Position
Utrecht University

·         Conducting the research (literature research, collecting and analyzing data, reporting results), resulting in international scientific publications and a dissertation

·         Assist in the data collection of wave 3 of the NFN and conduct small-scale spin-off studies.

·         Present results at national and international scientific conferences.

·         Teaching (max. 10% per year).

·         Active participation in the research group of the project and of the Department.

·         Ambition to collaborate with (inter)national partners and to pay visits to these partners.

Additional information concerning these positions, including more elaborate project descriptions, can be obtained by contacting Dr. Anne-Rigt Poortman via

We seek to appoint two PhD candidates on the NWO VICI project of Dr. Anne-Rigt Poortman. The rise in joint physical custody and new relationship types has led to a proliferation of postdivorce families and increased the complexity of postdivorce family living. The VICI project examines how and why postdivorce family diversity affects outcomes for children and parents. To understand why postdivorce family diversity affects outcomes, the strength and nature of family relationships may be critical. Strong family relationships may be a source of support for parents and children after divorce. Yet, postdivorce relationships may also be a source of stress because of the ambiguous nature of stepfamily relationships and uncertainty about who belongs to the family.

The two PhD projects will study:

·         the strength and nature of family ties in a wide range of postdivorce families;

·         how these relationships affect parent and child outcomes.

The projects consider a wide range of postdivorce families comprising cohabiting and LAT stepfamilies and families with a joint custody arrangement. One PhD project will focus specifically on (step)parent-(step)child relationships. The candidate will study the strength of social and financial ties between (step)parents and (step)children and the ambiguity of the stepparent role. The other PhD project focuses on other family relationships extending beyond the parent-child tie, such as ties to (step)grandparents or (step)siblings, and the uncertainty about who belongs to the family.

Both projects will use the large-scale panel survey New Families in the Netherlands (NFN) held among divorced parents. The first two waves were conducted in 2012/13 and 2015/16. Wave 3 will be collected in 2019/20. To better understand the ambiguity and complexity of postdivorce family living, the PhD candidates may also conduct small-scale spin-off studies within the context of wave 3 (e.g. a qualitative study about the terminology used for stepfamily members).

The projects are embedded in the Department of Sociology/Research school ICS, and the candidates will be supervised by Dr. Anne-Rigt Poortman and Prof. Dr. Ir. Tanja van der Lippe.


We are looking for enthusiastic candidates who:

·         hold (or nearly hold) a Master’s degree in Sociology, Social-Demography, Psychology or a related field;

·         have strong affinity with family sociology and large-scale empirical research;

·         have good practical skills to assist in and set up a data collection;

·         have excellent statistical skills at research master level;

·         have good social skills and are creative;

·         are effective and efficient, and able to think conceptually;

·         are able to meet deadlines, and conduct research independently and as part of a team;

·         have strong writing and presentation skills in English (and preferably also Dutch).

We offer two temporary positions (1.0 FTE each) for one year, starting preferably September 1, 2019. Upon a positive performance, the appointment will be extended for three further years. The gross salary – depending on previous qualifications and experience – ranges between €2,325 and €2,972 (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) gross per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 % per year. We offer a pension scheme, (partly paid) parental leave, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model).

Please apply before June 14, 2019. Interviews will be held on June 20, 2019.