VRIJE UNIVERSITEIT BRUSSEL (VUB) Postdoctoral scholarship offer



1 – Company profile

For almost 50 years, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel has stood for freedom, equality and connectedness. These values are strongly present on our campuses, in our students as well as our staff. At the VUB, you’ll find a diverse collection of personalities: pure innovators, but especially people who are 100% their authentic selves. With about 3,500 employees, we are the largest Flemish-speaking employer in Brussels, an international city with which we are all too happy to be affiliated and around which our four campuses are located.

Our education and research are grounded in the principles of free research with an eye on human progress. We disapprove of every purely authoritative argument and guarantee the free formation of judgement that is necessary for this basic principle to be incorporated in the community.

The VUB is autonomous and managed democratically. As such, we guarantee fundamental freedoms within our university, as well as the right of the university community to be involved in making and checking university policy.

The mission of the university includes:

  • the development, the transfer and the application of high-standing academic education and scientific research, free from any prejudice;
  • community integration of this in a spirit of social compassion;
  • critical development of everyone in light of the responsibilities borne in the community.


The performance of scientific research, or more concretely:


The ERC Starting Grant project “REEL BORDERS” is forming a team of researchers to study imaginations of borders through fiction film. The main questions to be addressed are: (1) What are the cultural imaginations of borders and its insider and outsiders found in fiction film? and (2) How do different societal actors use fiction film to construct, contest, or experience territorial borders? These questions will be answered by looking at three groups of actors (bordering institutions, bordering creatives, and borderlanders) at three borderland cases: the pending border (Ireland-United Kingdom), the fortified border (Spain-Morocco and the Ceuta and Melilla exclaves) and the permeable border (Turkey-Syria). The study will combine archival work with qualitative methods (interviews, content analysis) and participatory filmmaking where borderlanders will make their own short films.

The project is coordinated by Kevin Smets and will be embedded in the Department of Communication Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Although Brussels is the home base of the project, there will be several months of fieldwork required in Northern Ireland, Spain, and South-Eastern Turkey.

Description of tasks

– You are responsible for one of the project’s sub-studies that each focus on a particular group of actors involved in the imagination of borders: bordering institutions, border creatives and activists, and borderlanders

– You play a role in the development of future research possibilities in the line of the project

– You contribute to selected other work packages and sub-studies by assisting with data collection or dissemination

– You assist the team with logistical and administrative support

– You contribute to the project’s visibility by (co-)authoring scientific publications and by updating the website and social media accounts

3 – Job profile

You hold a PhD degree in one of the relevant disciplines

 degree or diploma.

– You can provide a writing sample (published work)

–  You are willing to spend considerable time in the fieldwork sites

– You are willing to engage with new theoretical frameworks and methodologies

– You can work in a team that consists of the other ERC project members as well as the broader research group and department

– You are willing to play an active role in the project management and the development of future research opportunities in the line of the project.

Skills and qualifications

We are looking for highly motivated early-career researchers who want to be part of an international project team. Candidates have a background in at least one of the fields of the project: border studies, film studies, media studies, migration studies. Experience in methods such as qualitative content analysis of media texts, ethnographic fieldwork or participatory and/or visual methods is highly appreciated. Candidates have demonstrated their scientific qualities through publications and participations in conferences. Ideally, candidates have affinity with one of the three border regions studied in the project. Excellent level of English and communication skills are required. Knowledge of Arabic, Turkish or Spanish is considered as an advantage.

You have not had a residence or employment in Belgium for a period exceeding 12 months in the 36-month period preceding the start date of the postdoctoral scholarship.

4 – Offer

As an employee of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, you’ll work, every day, in a dynamic, diverse and multilingual environment. Our campuses are located in the middle of a green oasis at the edge of the capital city of Flanders, Belgium and Europe. That city centre, with all its opportunities and possibilities, is easily accessed by public transport in less than half an hour.

Depending on your experience and your academic merits, you’ll receive a salary in one of the grades that have been set by the government. Standard inclusions include hospitalisation insurance and the free use of public transport for your home–work commute. And if you prefer to bike to work? There’s compensation for that too. On both[VB1]  campuses, there are extensive sport facilities available to you and childcare facilities within walking distance.

For more information on what it’s like to work at the VUB, go to www.vub.ac.be/en/jobs.

6 – Application

Applications can only be made ONLINE

Your application must include the following as a minimum:

  • A concise CV;
  • The academic dossier with all relevant elements;
  • A brief statement of reasons for the candidature, including an explanation of the expansion of future research;
  • Degrees and diplomas.


TitlePostdoctoral scholarship offer
EmployerVrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
Job locationBoulevard de la Plaine 2, 1050 Brussels
PublishedOctober 23, 2020
Application deadlineUnspecified
Job typesPostdoc   
FieldsEthnology,    Media and Communication Studies,    Film Studies,   Cultural Studies  
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