PhD vacancy, Amsterdam, at

Loet Leydesdorff loet at LEYDESDORFF.NET
Mon Aug 1 07:39:25 EDT 2005

The Amsterdam School of Communications Research ( <> ASCoR) of the University of Amsterdam is located in the center of Amsterdam. With around 40 faculty members, the School hosts some 30 Ph.D. students. “Communication and Innovation in the Dynamics of Science and Technology” is one of the topics of research carried out at ASCoR. Knowledge-based innovations can be considered as the results of interactions between these dynamics of knowledge production and control and the social and economic environments.


Ph.D. vacancy  

“ <> Scientific Communication and Knowledge-based Innovations" <> 

Project description

We envisage focusing on knowledge-based innovations like the introduction of new drugs or the development of vaccines. At the interface between communication studies and STS (science & technology studies) relevant questions can be raised about the codification of communication in different domains. Quality control in science, for example, requires peer review by competent colleagues; the originality of inventions as disclosed in patent applications is controlled by a legal system to the extent that the patents have to be upheld when litigated in court. At the interfaces with the public (e.g., in newspapers) scientific novelty can be absorbed using other symbolically generalized media of communication (e.g., moral concerns, purchasing power).


The availability of on-line resources makes it possible to map the relevant knowledge domains in terms of co-occurrences of words and citations. Mappings can show the various contexts of codification over time and/or across contexts at specific moments of time. The networks are constructed in terms of relations among words, but the words are positioned in the maps. The maps can thus function as representations of semantic fields. These next-order structures can be compared in terms of their degree of codification. In this project, we would like to extend this approach with a dynamic and evolutionary perspective.


During the last few years, we have automated the harvesting of large databases from on-line resources (like on-line editions of journals, newspapers, and patents), the mapping of these domains in terms of representations of semantic fields, the statistical analysis, and the visualization. For example, one can use the vector-space model. Additionally, the knowledge bases of these domains can be traced by using the words and co-words in the references. One can also envisage approaching the theme by using simulations.


The dynamics of meaning across domains can be studied in relation to the institutional roles of academia, industry, and government agencies as carriers of these processes of science communication. Representatives of the agencies could be sent questionnaires or interviewed for validation purposes. The purpose is to refine the specification of how meaning is processed and codified, while at the same time developing new methodologies. The Ph.D. student has considerable leeway to further develop the theme in accordance with his/her theoretical interests.


Supervision and intellectual environment

There will be close supervision of the candidate by the project leader Dr. Loet Leydesdorff <> .  Furthermore, the project will be part of the ASCoR research program, and the candidate can therefore participate in ASCoR’s Ph.D. training program in Communication Science. The candidate may also participate in classes offered by the Netherlands Graduate School of Science, Technology, and Modern Culture (WTMC). 


Duration of the project

The project duration is for a maximum of 4 years full-time, and the candidate is expected to complete a dissertation within this time limit. The candidate will qualify for a grant from the University of Amsterdam. Currently, this grant is € 1895,- per month. The start of the project is negotiable, but should preferably be no later than January 1, 2006. 



Candidates for this vacancy should:

*       have a Masters’degree in Science & Technology Studies, Communication Studies or another disicipline relevant to the project; 

*       be motivated to pursue a Ph.D. and a scientific career; 

*       have a good knowledge of statistical techniques, and preferably have some computer programming skills; 

*       have a good command of English; 

*       be willing to reside in the Netherlands (specify Amsterdam?) during the relevant period.


More information

A initial proposal for the project can be downloaded here. Please, consider this as a starting point for formulating one’s own proposal.


More information about this vacancy can be obtained from the project leader Dr. Loet Leydesdorff. Email:  <mailto:t.f.m.terbogt at>   <mailto:loet at> loet at More information about the ASCoR Ph.D. program can be obtained from the ASCoR website ( <> or the ASCoR secretariate:  <mailto:ascor-secr at> ascor-secr at



The application deadline is October 15, 2005.  Applications should be accompanied by:

o      a CV 

o      lists of classes attended and grades obtained

o      a research proposal relating to the project description given above (max. 3,000 words). 


Application letters can be sent to:


Dr. Sandra Zwier

ASCoR Research Manager

Kloveniersburgwal 48

1012 CX  Amsterdam



Applications can also be submitted via an email attachment to the email address:  <mailto:s.m.zwier at> s.m.zwier at 


This call for applications can also be found on  <> and  


Loet Leydesdorff 
Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR)
Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam
Tel.: +31-20- 525 6598; fax: +31-20- 525 3681 
loet at  <mailto:loet at> ; 


The Challenge of  <> Scientometrics; The  <> Self-Organization of the Knowledge-Based Society

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