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Postdoctoral position: Intervention as practice-based professional learning in daycare

The Department of Educational Studies at the Danish School of Education (DPU), Faculty of Arts at Aarhus University invites applications for a postdoctoral position in the research project “Intervention as practice-based learning in daycare”. TrygFonden supports the project.

The position is for 29 hours/week. It is expected to begin on 1 June 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter, an ends 21 months later on 28 February 2023.

The position is located at DPU, Emdrup Campus, 2400 Copenhagen NV, and the Department of Education Studies, and is connected to the project Educational quality in day care - emphasizing close social relationships between children and adults’. The position is connected to TrygFonden’s Centre for Child Research.

The Danish School of Education (DPU) is committed to diversity and encourages all qualified applicants to apply regardless of their personal background.

Research context
The postdoc project is linked to a major research study, ‘Educational quality in day care - emphasizing close social relationships between children and adults’, which seeks to augment quality in family daycare by supporting an interactionist approach to early childhood education through continuous professional development (CPD) and practice-based learning for managers and staff. The ultimate goal of this study is to enhance opportunities for all 0-2 year-old children to develop to the best of their potential (especially in terms of social-emotional and language development), regardless of their background.

The purpose of this postdoc project is to investigate the implementation of this approach. The postdoc should take an ethnographic, exploratory approach to examining the complex factors that facilitate, hinder or otherwise influence this implementation. The project and the overall study combine a practice-based professional development initiative with an action learning approach, as an integrated process for facilitating and supporting organisational change.

The position
The postdoctoral position focuses on the qualitative element of the project. The postdoc will be part of a research team. The primary task of the postdoc project will be to develop new methodological approaches to studying aspects of intervention and implementation, taking into account practitioners’ experiences and learning processes, collaboration and organisational relationships, and including a focus on situated work practices. This should investigate the combination of reflective practice and situated learning processes (practice theory (e.g., Nicolini, Schatzki), especially the literature on communities of practice (e.g., Lave & Wenger), and/or change theory (e.g., change laboratories (Engeström), translation theory (Røvik)).

The postdoc will be responsible for ethnographic studies in three of the 11 municipalities involved, focusing on the substantial changes (in practice-based professional development/the role of management, leadership and learning) occurring during the implementation period, which started in the municipalities in August 2020. The aim of this minor study is to elaborate and contextualise the analysis to challenge conceptions of early childhood intervention within contemporary early childhood education and care (ECEC) research and policy in a national and international context. In terms of outcome, the research team (PI and postdoc) are expected to publish in international journals and present findings at relevant scientific conferences.

The postdoc is expected to collaborate on a daily basis with the PI of the project and other collaborators connected to the research group and TrygFonden’s Centre for Child Research.

The project started on 1 June 2020. Further information, a short project description, and the project members can be found here: Pædagogisk kvalitet i dagplejen (

Applicants are encouraged to contact the PI of the research project, Bente Jensen ( ), for more information about the project.

The application must include a 3-5-page proposal for a postdoctoral research project. It must be possible to complete the postdoc project within a 21-month period, and it must fit into the project as a whole.

Applicants must hold a PhD degree or equivalent qualifications in anthropology and studies within the fields of ECEC, professional development, education, organisational studies or related social sciences.

Most importantly, applicants must be able to document a relevant, international, high-quality research profile, including experience of international publication and research dissemination within this research field.

The successful applicant must also document:

  • proven skills in qualitative research methods and data analysis
  • experience of working with ethnographic fieldwork
  • experience of interdisciplinary collaboration
  • the ability to collaborate in research teams
  • the ability to initiate relevant activities in an academic environment.

It is an advantage if the applicant can also document experience of the design, implementation and analysis of ECEC professional development within new innovative approaches with the focus on organisational learning and change, and knowledge and experience of the use of innovative and/or creative methods to study and contribute to the field.

Please note that applications that do not include uploaded publications (maximum five) will not be considered.

The application must be submitted in English.

Work environment
Active participation in the daily life of the department is a high priority, and we emphasise the importance of good working relationships, both among colleagues and with our students. In order to maintain and develop the department’s excellent teaching and research environment, the successful applicant is expected to be present at the department on a daily basis.

We respect the balance between work and private life and strive to create a work environment in which that balance can be maintained. Please see Family and work-life balance ( further information.

International applicants
International applicants are encouraged to read Attractive working conditions ( for further information about the benefits of working at Aarhus University and in Denmark, including healthcare, paid holidays and, if relevant, maternity/paternity leave, childcare and schooling. Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including a relocation service and career counselling for expat partners. For information about taxation, see Taxation aspects of international researchers’ employment by AU.

Research environment
The Danish School of Education at Aarhus University is the largest centre for research and teaching in the fields of education, didactics and learning in Denmark, with approximately 250 full-time researchers, including 80 PhD students, and approximately 5,000 Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students.

The department’s activities are characterised by a high degree of interdisciplinary and close interaction with society, including businesses, organisations, government agencies and institutions, both in Denmark and abroad.

Please note that the Danish School of Education is located in both Copenhagen and Aarhus.

The position is based at DPU Campus Copenhagen.

Visit the Danish School of Education’s website: Danish School of Education (

For questions about working at Aarhus University, visit Junior Researcher Development Programme (

For questions about relocating to Denmark, visit International Academic Staff (IAS) (

Qualification requirements
Applicants should hold a PhD or equivalent academic qualifications.

Faculty of Arts refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities (the Appointment Order).Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here:

If nothing else is noted, applications must be submitted in English. Application deadline is at 11.59 pm Danish time (same as Central European Time) on the deadline day.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal bagground.

Shortlists are prepared with the candidates that have been selected for a detailed academic assessment. A committee set up by the head of school is responsible for selecting the most qualified candidates. See this link for further information about shortlisting at the Faculty of Arts: shortlisting

Faculty of Arts
The Faculty of Arts is one of five main academic areas at Aarhus University.
The faculty contributes to Aarhus University's research, talent development, knowledge exchange and degree programmes.
With its 550 academic staff members, 275 PhD students, 9,500 BA and MA students, and 1,500 students following continuing/further education programmes, the faculty constitutes a strong and diverse research and teaching environment.
The Faculty of Arts consists of the School of Communication and Culture, the School of Culture and Society and the Danish School of Education. Each of these units has strong academic environments and forms the basis for interdisciplinary research and education.
The faculty's academic environments and degree programmes engage in international collaboration and share the common goal of contributing to the development of knowledge, welfare and culture in interaction with society.


The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

Aarhus University
Aarhus University is an academically diverse and research-intensive university with a strong commitment to high-quality research and education and the development of society nationally and globally. The university offers an inspiring research and teaching environment to its 38,000 students (FTEs) and 8,000 employees, and has an annual revenues of EUR 885 million. Learn more at

Deadline: 12 April 2021


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