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Postdoctoral position: Research for impact. Integrating research and societal impact in the humanities PhD

The Danish School of Education (DPU), Faculty of Arts at Aarhus University invites applications for a postdoctoral position in the research project “Research for impact. Integrating research and societal impact in the humanities PhD” financed by the Independent Research Fund Denmark.

The position is full-time (37 hours/week). It is expected to begin on 1 May 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter and to end 22 months later on 28 February 2023.
The position is located at DPU, Campus Aarhus.

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

Research context
The project studies the societal value and impact of doctoral education within the humanities across policy-making, institutional leadership, research environments and individual (current and former) doctoral students. Earlier research has mainly focused on only one of the levels at a time, whereby the mutual influence and entanglement of the levels has been underresearched. That the project researches across levels focusing on the interconnections means that a more comprehensive and complementary understanding of doctoral education within the humanities becomes possible. To develop the right theoretical and methodological approaches and designs for such a study will most certainly become one of the biggest challenges of the project. One of the main project aims is that the connection and cohesion between research and society become stronger and mutually fruitful, as well as ensuring a stronger mutual influence between universities, institutions of higher education, research environments and the surrounding society. Furthermore, the project aims to ensure that research within the humanities is initiated and integrated widely within the society as well as within institutions, organisations and companies, but is strongly anchored in universities, and that researcher education within the humanities will play a central part in that regard.

The position
The postdoc will be part of the project team. The primary task of the postdoc will be to identify, collect and analyse policies on societal impact and the PhD (with a focus on the humanities PhD) across global, European, national (Denmark) and institutional levels. Also, the postdoc will conduct qualitative semi-structured research interviews (in English or Danish) with leaders of graduate schools at Danish universities. The postdoc will be the main driver of work package one (the project consists of three work packages) and will collaborate with the PI and co-investigators on the project (see the project website link below). Depending on the academic background of the applicant, there can be more emphasis on some research instruments than others (e.g. discourse analysis, analysis based on critical realism, qualitative research and analysis, text analysis, rhetorical analysis). The work package examines how policies around the societal impact of the humanities PhD travel and become translated across global, European, national and institutional contexts – and how leaders of graduate schools understand, develop and implement strategies within graduate schools and doctoral education accordingly.

The project started on 1 January 2021. Further information about Research for Impact, a short project description and the project members can be found here:

Also, further information about the research project may be obtained from the Independent Research Fund Denmark:

The project will be linked to the research centre ‘Centre for Higher Education Futures’ (CHEF), Danish School of Education, Aarhus University:

Applicants are encouraged to write to principal investigator (and co-director of CHEF) Søren S.E. Bengtsen at for a full project description and further information about the current status of the project.

The postdoc is expected to:

  • develop an independent research agenda related to the project topic
  • collaborate and co-author articles with the other project members
  • initiate and organise activities with the project group, affiliated students and the academic world at large (co-organise and participate in research conferences, seminars and webinars as well as related activities)
The application must include a 2-3-page proposal for a postdoctoral research project about policy understanding and analysis relating to the societal impact and value of the humanities PhD, with a case focus on Denmark and Danish universities. The project must be able to be conducted within a 22-month period and to fit into the overall project (please read and align with the project description, as mentioned above, which may be obtained by contacting PI Søren S.E. Bengtsen).

Applicants must hold a PhD degree or equivalent qualifications in higher education, education, anthropology, philosophy, sociology, linguistics, language studies or a related discipline within the humanities or 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.

The successful applicant must also document:
  • proven skills in qualitative research methods and data analysis
  • proven skills in policy and/or text analysis
  • experience of interdisciplinary collaboration
  • ability to collaborate in research teams
  • ability to initiate relevant activities in an academic environment
It is an advantage if the applicant can also document:
  • theoretical and conceptual understanding and analysis of higher education (with a focus on doctoral education and the PhD)
  • knowledge of and experience with working and researching within the humanities
Given the nature of the project’s empirical work, basic Danish or other Scandinavian language skills will be advantageous but are not required.

Given the nature of the international research project and research team, we highly encourage applicants from all over the world, and we require that applicants will be fluent (or near fluent) in speaking and writing English.

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, or at least weekly, basis.

We respect the balance between work and private life and strive to create a work environment in which that balance can be maintained. For further information, visit

International applicant?
International applicants are encouraged to visit 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. You can find further information about the taxation aspects of international researchers’ employment by Aarhus University here: Taxation when working or conducting research at Aarhus University (

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 contact Associate Professor Søren S.E. Bengtsen at for more information about the position.

Note that the Danish School of Education is located in both Copenhagen and Aarhus. The position is based at DPU, Campus Aarhus.

Visit the Danish School of Education’s website:
For questions about working at Aarhus University, visit
For questions about relocating to Denmark, visit

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: 25 February 2021


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