PhD on Upper Secondary to Higher Education Challenge-Based Learning transition

Eindhoven University of Technology
March 31, 2024
Offerd Salary:€2770
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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PhD on Upper Secondary to Higher Education Challenge-Based Learning


Are you interested in studying innovative educational practices in both secondary and higher education settings? Are you passionate about improving the quality of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education?



Irène Curie Fellowship



Applied Physics and Science Education

Institutes and others

Eindhoven School of Education



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Job description

Challenge-Based Learning (CBL) supports the capacity development (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) necessary to become a STEM professional. This approach is becoming more prevalent in both secondary and higher education settings due to its relevance to current societal challenges and that it motivates students to engage with and take ownership of their education. However, as a novel approach in both upper secondary education (SE, in Dutch: Voortgezet Onderwijs, VO) and higher education (HE, In Dutch: Hoger Onderwijs, HO) settings it presents challenges for both the students and the teachers.

So far, both settings (VO/SE and HO/HE) have been working on these issues primarily on their own, leading to (part of) answers that are grounded in one setting, but that could be of interest to the other. Moreover, from a student's perspective, the student's transition from VO/SE to HO/HE with respect to CBL capacities have not been considered at both ends, leading for instance to unnecessary repetitions in HO/HE and/or lack of follow-up activities.

The aim of this study is to gain an understanding on how the transition between upper secondary education and higher education can be streamlined both from a student and teacher perspective.

To reach this aim, three sub questions are considered:

SQ1: What are characteristics of CBL in both settings and what do we know with respect to transitions between both settings?

SQ2: What are high-quality (i.e. relevant, consistent, practical, and effective) bridging activities to help the transition between both settings with respect to CBL?

SQ3: What are the effects of the bridging activities and what mechanisms are at play that support or hinder CBL transitions?

The research will use an Educational Design Research approach with three phases:

  • Phase 1- Literature review and case studies with multiple perspectives to describe the landscape of CBL in both settings and provide the basis for a CBL transition design-aid,
  • Phase 2- Co-design activities: design and formative evaluation of bridging activities involving teachers and students in both settings using the transition design-aid and,
  • Phase 3- Implementation and evaluation of the designed bridging activities and the evaluation of their impact of the mechanisms related transition between settings and impact for the design aid.
  • Job Description

    As a PhD student you will contribute to and be part of the programme of the Eindhoven School of Education (ESoE). ESoE performs research in both secondary and higher education. This project brings together both settings by investigating questions on the challenges of transition from secondary to higher Education in STEM domains in relation to student's and teacher's perspective in CBL practice.

    The project contributes to the Sustainable Development Goal on Quality of Education and touches on topics around socio-scientific issues, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary education through perspective taking, collaborative and cooperative teamwork. The project will impact directly on education systems by improving the transition between upper secondary and higher education. In the long-term, the project will also contribute to the development of socially responsible STEM professionals that are global citizens. Moreover, you will contribute to the knowledge base concerning upper secondary to higher education CBL transition.

    In your role you will:

  • Conduct research related to the three proposed phases
  • Take part in the co-design teams
  • Develop methodologies and instruments for the evaluations of the interventions
  • Disseminate your research results via academic publications and participation at national and international conferences.
  • We value diversity and inclusivity in our team, and we encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply. If you are eager to contribute to a field that shapes the way future STEM professionals learn and work together, we are looking forward to your application.

    Job requirements
  • A master's degree (or an equivalent university degree) in educational sciences, STEM education or any other related field.
  • A design research-oriented attitude.
  • Knowledge of or affinity with innovations in secondary and/or higher education.
  • Knowledge of or affinity with STEM education.
  • Positive attitude towards innovative teaching and learning.
  • Ability to work both independently and in an interdisciplinary team and interested in collaborating partners.
  • Excellent communication skills both verbally and in writing.
  • Creative and analytical mind.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English (C1 level) and Dutch (B2).
  • Conditions of employment

    A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2770 max. €3539).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self- aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.
  • Information and application

    About us

    Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands- on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow.

    Curious to hear more about what it's like as a PhD candidate at TU/e? Please view the video.


    Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact the hiring managers prof.dr. Nienke Nieveen, [email protected] or Esther Ventura-Medina, [email protected].

    Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact HR Services Flux,

    Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page.


    We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button. The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.
  • We look forward to receiving your application and will screen it as soon as possible. The vacancy will remain open until the position is filled.

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