PhD Candidate in Social Study of Science: Error, Correction and Overpromising (Radboud University, Nijmegen)

You are invited to apply for a PhD position within the “NanoBubbles” project. We are looking for a PhD candidate who will investigate how error correction works in science and what obstacles it faces. The project is funded by an ERC Synergy grant awarded to a consortium led by four co-principal investigators at universities in France and the Netherlands; the Radboud University co-PI is Willem Halffman.

Key information

  • Employment: 1.0 FTE
  • Employer:  Institute for Science in Society at Radboud University, Nijmegen (Netherlands)
  • Start date: April 1, 2022
  • Gross monthly salary: € 2,434 – € 3,111
  • Required background: Research University Degree
  • Application deadline: 15 January 2022
  • Click here to apply


Research project

The NanoBubbles ERC Synergy project’s objective is to understand how, when and why science fails to correct itself. The project’s focus is claims made within the field of nanobiology. Project members combine approaches from the natural sciences, computer science, and the social sciences and humanities (Science and Technology Studies) to understand how error correction in science works and what obstacles it faces. For this purpose, we aim to trace claims and corrections through various channels of scientific communication (journals, social media, advertisements, conference programs, etc.) via both qualitative and digital methods.

PhD vacancy

Your contribution to the overall project will be a qualitative social qualitative social science study of scientific promising, novelty claims and discursive reframing of novelty in nanobiology. For example, the portrayal of the nanoparticle-protein corona as a radical innovation is opposed by critical nanobiologists, insisting that the protein corona is simply a continuation of colloid adsorption research. The case provides a lens to study practices of reframing, of novelty, and of the challenges that such reframing misrepresents the innovative potential of research. This project also analyses science as a social process and asks how scientists assess what forms of promising and reframing are acceptable. The project will rely on interviews and documentary analysis from a wide range of sources (scientific, policy, media) to study how novelty claims made in the literature are connected to the mobilisation of research resources. This project can also build on systematic bibliometric studies developed by scientometricians and data scientists working in associated research projects.



  • You have a Master’s degree in social science, science and technology studies, philosophy of science, or a related field, preferably combined with some natural science background, or you will obtain this degree shortly.
  • You have affinity with meta-questions about science, connecting the practical organisation of science with the epistemology and ethics of science.
  • You feel comfortable with highly interdisciplinary work and can get acquainted efficiently with unfamiliar research.
  • You have excellent writing and communication skills in academic English.
  • You are well-organised, have an analytical mindset, and are committed to working at the forefront of science in a dynamic, international research team.

Application procedure

Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:
  • Letter of motivation.
  • CV including a description of previous research experience and the names and contact details of at least two references.
  • Transcript of records of your Bachelor and Master studies, including grades.
  • A sample of your writing.

The first round of interviews will take place on Wednesday 26 January. The second round will take place on Wednesday 2 February.


What we have to offer

  • Employment for 1.0 FTE.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,434 per month based on a 38-hour working week and will increase to €3,111 in the fourth year.
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4-year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 29 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.


Radboud University

This institution wants to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!

Institute for Science in Society (ISiS)

ISiS is an interdisciplinary research institute within the Faculty of Science, with the aim to encourage the societal and philosophical reflection on science through dialogue and collaboration between the various research institutes of the faculty. Its mission is to analyse, assess and improve the societal embedding of new developments in science and technology, through research, education and outreach; and to understand how society is shaping science and vice versa. You will also be part of the NanoBubbles team, with affiliated research groups in Paris, Grenoble, Toulouse, and Maastricht.

For questions about the position, please contact Willem Halffman, Associate Professor at +31 24 365 25 79 or


Further information on the positions and the project is available here.

For questions about the position, please contact Willem Halffman, Associate Professor at +31 24 365 25 79 or

Cite this blog post
ztoure (2021, December 15). PhD Candidate in Social Study of Science: Error, Correction and Overpromising (Radboud University, Nijmegen). NanoBubbles . Retrieved June 15, 2024, from

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