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Evidence-based co-creation of the urban environment together with youth

Public and Occupational Health

About the Project


Co-creation emerges from the participatory research paradigm as a promising strategy to increase the effectiveness and impact of health promotion and to address public health “complex” problems (such as the obesity epidemic) which are particularly resistant to resolutions, specifically in underserved populations1. Such problems require stakeholders from all the nodes of the so-called Quadruple Helix (academia, industry, government and users) to engage in the co-creation of sustainable solutions2. To ensure that co-creation is trustworthy, equitable, and improves the quality of research towards effective solutions to complex public health problems, systematic methodological research, training and protocols for co-creation are needed. The Health CASCADE project, a project financed out of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme of the European Commission, aims to foster the next generation of highly-trained research leaders in all aspects of evidence-based co-creation methodology to tackle the complexity of modern global health problems. For more information see

As one of two PhD students in the project ‘Impact of evidence-based co-creation of the urban environment together with youth’, your challenge is to apply evidence-based methodology to co-create activity-friendly environments together with youth, urban planners, and other relevant stakeholders in the community in the community and to evaluate the impact of co-creating activity-friendly environments with youth. Within this project you will also collaborate with the other PhD students in the Health CASCADE project.

Your specific responsibilities will be to:

-       Facilitate meetings with youth in the community to co-create activity-friendly environments;

-       Develop a protocol for the impact evaluation of the co-creation;

-       Conduct the impact evaluation of the co-creation project;

-       Collect and analyse data: e.g. wearable sensors, observation, e-diaries;

-       Develop a toolbox for evidence-based methodology to co-create activity-friendly environments together with youth in the community;

-       Report on findings by publishing scientific articles;

-       Present findings at (inter)national meetings/conferences;

-       Write a PhD thesis;

-       Contribute to educational activities of the department and within the consortium.

What we expect

We are looking for an ambitious PhD candidate who has the ambition to make a difference, both scientifically and locally, with the following requirements:

-       Master’s degree in human movement sciences, sociology, urban design, urban planning, artificial intelligence or related discipline;

-       Less than 4 years working experience since receiving the Master’s degree;

-       Lived/studied/worked less than 12 months in the Netherlands in the past 3 years

-       Ability to work in a multidisciplinary setting;

-       Excellent communication and collaboration skills;

-       Excellent people skills;

-       Fluent in English (written and verbal);

-       Willing to learn Dutch;

-       Experience in participatory (action) research is a plus;

-       Affinity with youth and health;

Your working environment

You will be hosted at the Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc,

Department of Public and Occupational Health, in the research group Child and

Adolescent Public Health (led by Prof. Dr. Mai Chin A Paw). For more

information see and

As part of the project you will go on secondments to:

-       Gain knowledge and share expertise on co-creation theory (at Sciensano (Belgium) and Alexander Foundation (The Netherlands)).

-       Gain and share experience on co-creation methods in different age groups (at Glasgow Caledonian University (Scotland)).

Working at Amsterdam UMC means working in an inspiring and professional environment in which developing one`s talents and skills is encouraged. We offer you ample opportunity for development, deepening and broadening of knowledge and skills, additional training, and a place to grow!

You will be supervised by Prof. Dr. Mai Chin A Paw and Dr. Teatske Altenburg from Amsterdam UMC and co-supervised by Prof. Dr. Greet Cardon from Ghent University.

In addition we offer:

– Additional benefits include an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday pay.

– The opportunity to follow further training and development.

– Pension is accrued at the ABP. VUmc contributes a large part of the premium (70%).

– In addition to excellent accessibility by public transport, we reimburse 75% of your OV travel costs (commuting costs).

- Scientific advice from internationally recognized experts.

- Access to a broad network of innovative enterprises and organizations.

We offer an initial contract for 12 months that can be extended (after evaluation) for another 36 months.

Fellows will also benefit from a living allowance, a mobility allowance and a family allowance (if already married). The mobility and family allowances are fixed amounts, regardless of the country of recruitment, and may be taxable depending on the country in which the researcher is recruited. Successful applicants are eligible for parental leave in keeping with Amsterdam UMC standard employment policy.

More information on the Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme can be found here.

If you don’t have the nationality of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you need a residence permit in the Netherlands. We will help you with the application for this. You can find information on the general conditions here: general conditions.

For more information about our employment conditions, please visit our website.

Funding Notes

Salary scale: PhD (2495 to 3196 euro based on a 36 hour week), depending on qualifications and experience.
The monthly wage will increase yearly to the maximum wage in the fourth year of EUR 3.196 gross per month.


1 GreenHalgh et al. Achieving Research Impact Through Co‐creation in Community‐Based Health Services: Literature Review and Case Study. Milbank Q 2016;94(2):392-429.
2 Prahalad et al. Co‐creation experiences: The next practice in value creation. Journal of Interactive Marketing 2004;18(3):5-14.
3 Leask CF, Sandlund M, Skelton DA, et al. Framework, principles and recommendations for utilising participatory methodologies in the co-creation and evaluation of public health interventions. Res Involv Engagem. 2019;5:2.

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