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01 Assistant Professor Interdisciplinary Approaches to Online Social Movements M/V

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General information


The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS) aims to play a pivotal role in understanding, co-engineering and evaluating innovation in society. Innovation is driven by advances in technology. By means of 'social engineering', we are here to integrate these advances in society. As a people-first tech university, we align these advances with the needs and behaviour of humans. We ensure proper public and private management as well as robust, inclusive and fair organisational structures. The faculty of BMS does this by developing, transferring and applying high-quality knowledge of Psychology, Business Administration, Public Administration, Communication Science, Philosophy, Educational Science, and Health Sciences. Our research and education in these disciplines is challenge-based. The BMS research programmes are directly linked to our research institutes: Mesa+ Institute for Nanotechnology, the TechMed Centre and the Digital Society Institute.
As an employer, the BMS Faculty offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With our Faculty, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customizable conditions.



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Academic staff - Assistant professor

Job title

01 Assistant Professor Interdisciplinary Approaches to Online Social Movements M/V

Minimum salary


Maximum salary


Job description

The Technology, Human and Institutional Behaviour (HIB)-department is currently seeking six Assistant Professors in the domains of online social movement using big data, public administration and digital transformation, smart city governance, mental resilience, digital narrative and resistance to technology.

The section CS in the HIB-department is currently seeking an assistant professor (1,0 fte) interdisciplinary approaches to online social movements using big data analytics.

The increase of social movements in contemporay society is enhanced by community-building via online platforms. Some of these movements are open and look for public support. Their successes are measured by the amount of support received and initiatives that go viral (e.g. the ALS Ice bucket challenge), or their influence on public opinion (e.g. criticism of governmental corona policies by experts or conspiracy theorists). Other movements are successful by remaining in the dark, becoming secretive tribes of like-minded people around themes and goals that are constructive (e.g. victim support groups) or destructive (e.g. pro-anorexia). Aiming for positive social change, connecting people and fostering resilience, we want to explore the nature of such movements and its core behavioural characteristics. This can be done with a broad range of (mixed) methods: from big data analytics (e.g. sentiment and network analyses) to case studies.

We are looking for a new colleague who will use innovative research methods (e.g., data science) in order to advance our understanding of the mechnisms underlying online social movements. You will share our ambition to find solutions to questions such as: What is the role of algorithmes in building online sentiments / threats? How do social media give rise to filter bubbles? What social patterns play their parts and how do they influence behaviors on social media? How can we innovate social sciences with digital technologies and data science? Improving our understanding of online social movements, their social tipping points, or how they sustain momentum, is crucial for continuing to address critical societal challenges, such as poverty, climate change, or global health.


You will contribute to education and research in the above mentioned context. As a teacher you will contribute to modules in bachelor and master programs of communication science, but also psychology and public administration. You will outline research topics for Bachelor and Master theses that you will supervise. For more information about the education programs, see Communication Science; Public Administration; Psychology. In your research you will contribute to the interdisciplinary research domains of resilience in the faculty BMS. Preferably, you integrate various disciplinary perspectives (communication, psychology, sociology, governance) into more comprehensive models of behaviour change and applications of new technologies.


  • You hold a PhD in one of the relevant social sciences in relation to social media and/or online social movements.
  • Your have a specific interest for technological innovation in the context of social science.
  • You have experience in practicing data science (and are equiped in big data analytics techniques) and are able to understand and follow algorithmic logic.
  • You are a passionate teacher preferably holding a University Teaching Qualification and are able to teach and supervise students in educational programs of communication, psychology and/or public administration.
  • You can underscore your talent with a track record in peer-reviewed publications, presentations and grant acquistion.
  • You are a teamplayer with excellent communication and collaboration skills.
  • You are fluent in English.

We offer

You will be appointed for four years with the prospect of a permanent position. The university offers a dynamic ecosystem; internationalization is an important part of the strategic agenda.

  • A dynamic, cooperative work environment with entrepreneurial and enthusiastic colleagues.
  • A high degree of responsibility and independence.
  • Professional and personal development programmes.
  • Starting salary is between € 3.746 and € 5.826 gross per month based on your experience.
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.
  • A solid pension scheme.
  • Possibilities to save up holidays for sabbatical leave.
  • Minimum of 29 holiday days in case of full-time employment.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, colour, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability status. Because of our diversity values, we do particularly support women to apply.

Information and application

For more information, please contact prof. dr. (Alexander) van Deursen, chair of the research group Communication Science: a.j.a.m.vandeursen@utwente.nl. Submit your application (including curriculum vitae, list of publications, research statement and two names of potential references online before April 22, 2021 to the University of Twente, at the attention of prof. dr. Alexander van Deursen.

About the department

The Technology of Human and Institutional Behavior department

The vacancy is for the section Communication Science which is part of the HIB-department. The HIB-department is one of  four departments at the faculty. The department is committed to design, evaluation and implementation of and teaching about comprehensive technology-based solutions supporting people in behaviour that promotes their health, safety, resilience, connectedness and joy. The HIB-department comprises research groups of Communication Science; Psychology, Health & Technology; Psychology of Conflict, Risk and Safety; and Public Administration. For more information on these groups, see: https://www.utwente.nl/en/bms/organization/departments-institutes/#department-clusters

Position localisation

Job location

Nederland, Enschede, Drienerlolaan 5, 7522 NB


Drienerlolaan 5 7522 NB Enschede

Candidate criteria

Minimum level of education required

6. Doctorate