Talent and your career at VU Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam finds it important to invest in talent. We believe that achieving excellence in education and research depends on the enthusiasm and curiosity of academics.

At VU Amsterdam we aim to offer a diverse and inclusive working environment because we believe that such an environment fosters talent and creates an innovative atmosphere. We provide support for academics at all stages of their careers. For example via the Talent Development Programme sponsored by Prof. Mr. Willem Bouwens (Dean of Faculty of Law) and various research support progammes that provide assistance to researchers taking part in the NWO grant programme Innovational Research Incentives Scheme (Veni, Vidi, Vici) and in ERC grants (Starting, Consolidator, Advanced and Synergy). To ensure that this happens, we are always working on new initiatives and ideas.

Christiano Giuffrida
Assistant Professor (Tenure Track Candidate) in Systems Security and Reliability

’When I was looking for a PhD position, I had a number of offers from excellent universities, but, in the end, I chose VU Amsterdam. The main reason for this choice was the great research group I would join, led, at the time, by Andrew Tanenbaum. Moreover, Amsterdam is such a great place to live for expats and locals alike. In short, when I first came to Amsterdam, I fell in love with both the university and the city. And since the airport is only a 7-minute train ride away, I still feel connected with my home country and the rest of the world.’


VU Amsterdam is the perfect place for talented individuals to enhance their professional development in the areas of teaching and research. High-quality teaching and cutting-edge research have given the university a great deal of recognition, enabling VU Amsterdam to attract prominent scientists from both the Netherlands and abroad.

VU Amsterdam also puts emphasis on teaching and considers teaching as an integral part of your academic career. In addition to our focus on education, a dedicated grant desk assists you with grant applications. The customized support it provides will help you secure grants and/or indirect funding. In addition, our training programmes offer you the opportunity for personal development:

  • Leadership (from trainings for new managers to trainings in managing in education)
  • Teaching (from the basic teaching qualification to blended learning or designing reliable tests and exams)
  • Research (from acquiring grants, to technology transfer and media training)

VU Amsterdam is well aware that transparency is vital to your academic work. In order to achieve this, VU Amsterdam uses a system of appointment and promotion procedures. These procedures give you a clear idea of the criteria you must meet before you can progress to the next stage of your career.

PhD Candidates
Doctoral education and training provided at the VU Amsterdam is characterized by a strong emphasis on the development of research as well as transferable skills. We aim to develop engaged and responsible academics and future professionals who constantly explore and push back the boundaries of existing knowledge. Our doctorates are internationally-oriented, multi- and interdisciplinary, curiosity- and results driven and are creating an impact in science and society. We provide help and support to current PhD candidates to explore and inform about their career choices in- and outside academia. For example the courses in Advanced Academic Writing and Concise Formulation.

VU Amsterdam offers various trainings and courses to support Post-docs in their personal and professional development. The training Career Orientation for example, will motivate you to think about the direction of your career. The course in Scientific Project Management is specifically developed for post doctorate scientists and helps to setup, supervise and manage research projects.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers its teachers a varied range of courses, training programmes and workshops, for every level of seniority in teaching.

Examples are:

  • University teaching qualification
  • Senior teaching qualification
  • Mixed Classroom
  • Blended Learning

Senior Researchers and Management
VU Amsterdam offers its senior researchers support in applying for grants and in managing grant acquisition and valorisation. Furthermore, VU Amsterdam offers an extensive range of courses, training programmes and workshops in the area of Leadership & Management for both starting and experienced managers at VU Amsterdam. VU Amsterdam also offers the intensive course Female Leadership. This course encourages women to pay specific attention to their career in order to achieve ambitions and make the next career step.

Extra funding
Especially for international scientists, we offer the so called VU Start contribution. The VU Start contributionpremie is a personal bonus and is an discretionary amount €30.000 per laureate. Check the website to see the most recent nomination deadline. 

E-Learning is available for all of the employees. VU Amsterdam emphasizes the importance of employability of their employees. Therefore, VU Amsterdam offers, besides specific classroom courses direct access to more than 120 online courses. All employees can develop themselves 24/7. For example, you can follow a workshop on time management, read all about ‘working Lean and Scrum’ or upgrade your knowledge of Excel with an advanced workshop.  VU E-Learning mostly offers courses in the field of soft skills and competences. They are available in several languages.  

The most important task for operations management is to ensure that teaching and research run smoothly. In order to allow your talents to shine as brightly as possible, we offer a wide range of courses and training programmes for all those in operations management roles.

Are you just starting out as a manager? We offer an extensive range of courses, training programmes and workshops for both starters and experienced managers, so that you can always progress further. Examples of training programmes offered are Personal leadership, or a training on conducting job performance interviews. 

Young Professional
Are you a young professional? Then you can, for instance, participate in the mentorship programme. Together with a senior colleague from another department, you will work together on your career over a ten-month period. We have also developed a limited, two-year traineeship, especially for young professionals in the area of operations management. 

E-Learning is available for all of the employees. VU Amsterdam emphasizes the importance of employability of their employees. Therefore, VU Amsterdam offers, besides specific classroom courses direct access to more than 120 online courses. All employees can develop themselves 24/7. For example, you can follow a workshop on time management, read all about ‘working Lean and Scrum’ or upgrade your knowledge of Excel with an advanced workshop.  VU E-Learning mostly offers courses in the field of soft skills and competences. They are available in several languages.  

We offer an array of career services to support you in personal development and taking the next step in your career.

Individual Career Coaching
Have you been working at VU Amsterdam for at least two years? Then you can make an appointment with an external career coach through the HR & Development Expertise Centre. They can help you with questions such as: Which step should I take next in my career? Or: how can I become more effective in my work? Together with your careers coach, you will identify your qualities and points for development and draw up a plan for a new career in your current field, or in a new area of the labour market. For example, you may benefit from a time management course or personal effectiveness course.

Mentor programme
Are you looking for a new impetus in your career? Or would you like to learn from an experienced professional? Our mentorship programme pairs you with someone who is further progressed in his/her career, within another department or faculty. During a series of meetings, your mentor will help you to make progress and to develop professionally.

PhD Candidates and Post-docs
There are also special tracks such as careers services for PhD students and postdoctoral researchers that help you think about the next steps in your career, with support provided through coaching and workshops.  For example the course PhD success and personal efficacy and Career orientation for PhD Candidates and Post-docs.

Looking for external opportunities?
Even if you cannot continue your career at VU Amsterdam, we provide excellent guidance to help you make the transition to a new job and to make the most of your talents. The Expertise Centre for HR & Development organizes special workshops for job-to-job support in the months leading up to the end of your employment contract, such as the workshop on ‘Skills and Networking' and 'Successful applications via LinkedIn'.

Monthly Career Meeting
The Expertise Centre also holds monthly careers meetings with interesting guest speakers to help you practise and reflect on your job application skills, and focusing on useful career skills such as making presentations.

Junior Traineeship
On 1 September 2017, twelve enthusiastic trainees began this programme for the first time in the history of VU Amsterdam. Over an intensive but exhilarating 22-month period, the trainees get to work on their personal development, professional skills and on innovative projects within operational management. VU Amsterdam provides a wide range of careers services. These include courses on how to write job applications and how to develop a personal network, as well as development interviews for those who want to consider the options before taking the next step in their career.

VU Amsterdam’s staff and students are an extremely diverse group of people. Diversity and inclusiveness is something that we have striven for ever since the university was founded. It is a fundamental part of our identity. Our campus is a dynamic workplace that is constantly evolving. One aspect of its nature that doesn’t change, however, is its ‘inclusive excellence’. People feel they belong here and that their motivations, aspirations and ideas are fully accepted. All staff members at VU Amsterdam work hard to ensure that everyone feels welcome here.
VU Amsterdam believes that the differences diversity brings are essential, because they help us to place everything in a broader perspective so that we can continue to deliver excellent teaching and research and truly make an impact on society. Because without talented people – whatever their views, knowledge, background and motivation – this grand ambition would remain forever out of reach. 

Karen van den Oudenhoven

Being different is an advantage, but creating an inclusive learning and working environment requires trust and awareness.’ - Karen van Oudenhoven, VU Amsterdam Chief Diversity Officer

VU Amsterdam promotes networks that embrace the concept of diversity, such as: 

  • VU Pride
  • Wo&men@VU
  • International Staff Network

Tenure Track positions offered by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam generally last five years. In most cases you will start as a junior Assistant Professor and grow into the position of a senior Assistant Professor or Associate Professor. A Tenure Track usually includes the following components:

  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Academic Service
  • Valorisation 

If your performance over these 5 years is evaluated positively based on predetermined criteria, you will be rewarded with a promotion and a permanent employment contract.

To support international academic talent in their step to start working at VU Amsterdam, we offer relocation services.  As we find it important to welcome new international talent and make sure your move to Amsterdam runs smoothly, we support you in arranging residence and work permit, housing, personal financial plan, health and medical care, partner support, childcare and school, etc. Feel free to contact us at relocations@vu.nl if you need any further information. You can also find more information on the page for international staff.