PhD Social and Urban Resilience, combatting mis- and disinformation

Are you looking for a PhD position and do you have a degree in communication science or a related discipline such as political science or sociology? Are you interested in doing research on the online and offline presence of mis- and disinformation during the pandemic and do you want to contribute to the Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Center? Please apply for this position.

Read the full vacancy on the Academic Transfer.

Job description

Erasmus MC, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam have joined forces in the Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Center (PDPC). PDPC aims to prepare society for future pandemics and disasters. We will reduce vulnerabilities and risks and build resilience through effective disaster prevention, preparedness and recovery measures. Convergence of the technical, medical and social sciences is essential for developing the next generation of approaches to disasters and pandemics. In the foreseeable future, our society can expect many more and unforeseen virus outbreaks and extreme events because of climate change. But how do we protect society from the next pandemic or disaster? Which of the lessons learnt could develop prevention and intervention measures, and how could research contribute to preparedness?

We have a PhD position for the research project ‘Combatting mis- and disinformation in the Covid pandemic’. The research project is part of the frontrunner program “Towards social and urban resilience for pandemics and disasters (SURE) of the Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness Center (PDPC).

The research project investigates the presence, effects of and remedies for the online and offline presence of mis- and disinformation. More specifically, the project addresses 1) the presence of dis- and misinformation in Dutch social media and in mass media during various stage of the pandemic, (2) the effects of this type of information on knowledge about, trust in and compliance with COVID-19 measures, and (3) possible intervention strategies targeted at increasing digital literacy of citizens by developing an app that trains and helps people to identify incorrect information.

You will perform theoretically-informed quantitative analyses, present the results at conferences, and write a dissertation based on a set of research articles, publishable in international refereed journals. You will be on secondment at the Strategic Communication group of Wageningen University.


As a PhD candidate should you have:

  • a successfully completed MSc degree in Communication Science, or a related discipline such as Political Science or Sociology. Candidates currently finalizing their Master are also invited to apply, with the condition that the diploma must be completed by the time the project starts.
  • an interest in mis- and disinformation and its potential effects;
  • a quantitative empirical research focus and knowledge of, or the willingness to learn, specific quantitative skills, including (but not limited to) (automated) content analysis, and experimental research;
  • proven proficiency in statistical software such as Stata and/or R;
  • excellent English language proficiency. Fluency in Dutch is a strong advantage;
  • a scientific mindset, inquisitive personality, enthusiasm for working in an interdisciplinary team, and the capacity to work independently

Conditions of employment

An internationally oriented and varied job in an enthusiastic team, with good working conditions in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU).

The start date of this position is as soon as possible, and you will be based at our faculty ESSB, department of public administration and sociology in Woudestein. The position is for 1,0 FTE. The salary starts from a minimum of € 2541,- to a maximum of €3247,-gross per month on a fulltime basis, in accordance with scale PR of the CAO-NU. In addition, we offer an 8% holiday allowance, an end-of-year payment of 8.3%, and a very generous paid leave scheme. Furthermore, EUR is affiliated with ABP for the pension provision, and we offer partially paid parental leave, fully paid extended birth leave for partners, a personal career budget, work-life balance coaches, discounted collective health insurance, and more. As an employee, you can also use EUR facilities such as the University library and receive a discount on subscriptions for the Erasmus sports center.

Erasmus University Rotterdam offers a Dual Career Programme (DCP) to assist the life partners of new academic staff (on payroll) in finding employment in The Netherlands. The programme is offered in close cooperation with the nearby universities of Delft and Leiden.

Erasmus University Rotterdam aspires to be an equitable and inclusive community. We nurture an open culture, where everyone is supported to fulfill their full potential. We see inclusivity of talent as the basis of our successes, and the diversity of perspectives and people as a highly valued outcome. EUR provides equal opportunities to all employees and applicants regardless of gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, age, neurodiversity, functional impairment, citizenship, or any other aspect which makes them unique. We look forward to welcoming you to our community.

Additional information

You can find more information about the EUR and ESSB at­­­­­­­­­

Information about the research project, including a more detailed description of the content and context of the research, can be obtained from Professor Rens Vliegenthart (email:, or phone: +31 6 22652200).

Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained by contacting Prof.dr. Pearl Dykstra (email:

Application procedure

To apply, please submit your documents to academic transfer by August 24, 2022.

Let’s go!

This application process is arranged via the Academic Transfer website. Make sure to apply before August 24.

Apply now