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Junior Research Associate

Posted: 1/9/2018 (Employment)

Interface Demography seeks a full-time junior research associate with interest in quantitative social science research to work on a challenging research project.

Green and quiet Brussels? Analysis of social inequalities in the health-related outcomes of environmental characteristics in the Brussels Capital Region: a mixed method intersectionality approach

Project background
Urban areas are growing fast worldwide and there is an increasing concern about the relations between urbanization, environmental threats, the quality of living spaces and human health. A healthy living environment is a prerequisite for good health. Research in environmental epidemiology clearly illustrates a direct health impact of indoor and outdoor pollution. Living in healthy and green areas is associated with better self-assessed health, better mental health, lower risks of cardio-vascular and respiratory diseases and lower mortality from related causes. To date, there are few studies dealing with the association between the in- and outdoor living environment and health in Belgium, let alone in the Brussels Capital Region. The current project will disentangle the interrelations between (indoor and outdoor) environmental factors, social background factors and health in the Brussels Capital Region. It will investigate the impact of social stratifiers – socioeconomic position, migrant background, age and gender – on the association between environmental quality and health and mortality.

Aim of the project
The researcher is expected to conduct quantitative research on socio-economic inequalities in health-related outcomes (subjective health, all-cause and cause-specific mortality) related to indoor and outdoor environmental factors. The aim of the project is to map social inequalities in health-related outcomes of indoor and outdoor environmental exposures in detail via statistical, demographic and epidemiologic analyses using a census-linked follow-up study, starting at the beginning of the 2000s until the mid-2010s. The findings should result in the submission of a doctoral dissertation in the social sciences and in publications in scientific journals. The researcher will be part of a small research team on this topic situated within the Interface Demography research group, working in close collaboration with the Centre for Environment and Health (KU Leuven) with expertise in conducting epidemiological studies on the relationship between environmental exposures and health.

General information
The duration of the project is 2 years, with an additional 2 years after positive evaluation.


• Master of science (Master in Sociology, Master in Health Sciences, Master in Public Health or related and Master in Environmental Sciences or related)
• Passion for scientific research
• Sound knowledge of and/or experience with quantitative research methods and data analysis
• Ability to conduct research both independently and collaboratively
• Ability to learn new statistical techniques
• Demonstrate excellent interpersonal, oral and written communication skills (English)
• Willingness to prepare a PhD based on the research findings
• Commitment to high quality academic research

We offer

• Full-time appointment for 2+2 years (starting at the beginning of 2018) with a research grant
• High-quality guidance in an academic environment
• Challenging research with great societal and scientific relevance

Research group
Interface Demography is an excellent multidisciplinary research group within the Department of Sociology of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The main aim of Interface Demography is gaining sound empirical and theoretical insights into demographic evolutions as well as into their interaction with societal challenges. One of the key areas of study is inequality in health and mortality.

Location Department of Economic, Social and Political Sciences and Solvay Business School Department of Sociology – Interface Demography 5 Pleinlaan, 1050 Brussels

How to apply?
E-mail a motivational letter and curriculum vitae before January 31, 2018 to:

Professor dr. Sylvie Gadeyne Vrije Universiteit Brussel Department of Economic, Social and Political Sciences and Solvay Business School Research group Sociology – Interface Demography 5 Pleinlaan, 1050 Brussels For further enquiries please contact Sylvie Gadeyne by e-mail ( or phone (+32 2 6148129/+32 498 236043). Additional information on the research group Interface Demography can be found on:

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Deadline: 01/31/2018

Location: Interface Demography, Vrije Universiteit Brussel