Postdoctoral Researcher in Media Studies
Catholic University of Leuven Institute for Media Studies

The Institute for Media Studies (IMS) and its subgroup the Meaningful Interaction Lab (Mintlab) are looking for candidates who would like to pursue a PhD in Social Sciences (communication sciences) at the KU Leuven in Belgium. This vacancy is part of the FWO-funded Strategic Basic Research (SBO) project, entitled “Gam(e)(a)ble: Interdisciplinary research on the blurring lines between gaming and gambling among teenagers.” The IMS and the Mintlab specialize in fundamental, applied and contract research in four domains, including strategic communication, journalism & news, human-computer interaction and media culture. The vacant position is fully embedded in its research strand on gaming, gambling, persuasion. The IMS has a state-of-the-art user experience lab (with e.g. observation/control room, eye tracking, gaming platforms) and design room. It has conducted research for the Flemish government, BELSPO, IWT/SBO, the European Commission, and for and with several national and international media organizations. It plays a key role in important Flemish, European and international academic networks (ICA, IAMCR, ECREA, Euromedia Research Group, ACM SIGCHI).


This part time (50%) post-doctoral research manager position is fully embedded in the research strand on gaming, gambling, persuasion, and emerging media and is part of the FWO-funded SBO-project “Gam(e)(a)ble: Interdisciplinary research on the blurring lines between gaming and gambling among teenagers”. For this project as a whole, IMS is looking for a part-time post-doctoral research manager and two PhD candidates (see other vacancies). 
This post-doctoral position in particular will focus on the management of the whole SBO project. This includes amongst others the following tasks:
-coordinate the communication and collaboration both within the research consortium as well as with the external stakeholder groups;
-Proactively trace and tackle all (possible) risks involved (risk management); 
-Facilitate the work flow, people management, and time management with attention for the needs at the level of each consortium partner and individual as well as the demands at the project level;
-Organize meetings and events;
-Set up and execute a communication and dissemination plan;
-Facilitate the collaboration by appropriate tools and processes;
-Facilitate and monitor an ethical and responsible research environment;
-PhD advisory guidance;
Depending on the applicant’s research background and interests, we welcome concrete suggestions and initiatives to join and contribute to the research fieldwork, data analysis and/or manuscript writing throughout the project, in order to foster further advancements of the academic profile of the post-doctoral researcher (e.g. by co-authoring manuscripts and international conference presentations as part of the research team). 
The Gam(e)(a)ble project starts from the observation that the lines between gaming and gambling are becoming increasingly blurred in (online) games that are popular among teenagers which rises the societal concern that minors are being progressively exposed to gambling. Games that include non-monetary forms of gambling (simulated gambling) such as free casino games as well as in-app purchases of so-called loot boxes or packages operate in a grey zone due to the lack of an obligatory strict classification system. This makes it hard for parents and teenagers to see potential risks. The convergence of gambling and gaming is a recent phenomenon, triggering a significant expansion of new forms of online gambling activities that are more covertly and unrestrictedly than traditional land-based, offline gambling and therefore potentially more problematic.

Studies on simulated gambling have only recently begun to be published and no studies have been following young simulated gamblers during their developmental stage. Early exposure to gambling elements in games may make this young age cohort more likely to gamble later in life and to develop problematic gam(bl)ing behaviour. Therefore, this project is built around major societal concerns and research needs that will result in valorisation tools. 
Supervisors of this position as part of the recently acquired SBO project are prof. dr. Rozane De Cock and prof. dr. Bieke Zaman. 


-Applicants should have obtained a PhD (max 3 years ago) in social sciences (communication sciences or sociology), psychology, or pedagogical sciences. 
-Applicants should have excellent organization and managing skills (e.g. risk, time, and people management skills). 
-Creativity, digital literacy and flexibility are added values. 
-Applicants are willing to take appropriate actions to monitor and safeguard the ethical standards in a research project focusing on a sensitive topic such as gam(bl)ing and working along with minors/adolescents.
-Applicants must be interested in the research and valorization objectives of the Gam(e)(a)ble project.
-Our ideal candidate is an empathic and motivating manager and a socially engaged scientist who not only likes to work independently and proactively but who also likes to collaborate and build bridges between different disciplines and partners both within and beyond academia. 
-Applicants must have excellent Dutch and English writing and presentation skills.
-Academic writing skills must be excellent (e.g., with respect to publications in academic journals or papers to be presented on conferences).
The applicant needs to have quantitative (survey, content analysis) and qualitative research skills and data analytic experience (e.g. SPSS, AMOS, ...). Clear strengths are experience with content analyses, diary studies and longitudinal survey research.


An initial part-time 1-year contract of a post-doctoral research position that, based on a positive evaluation, will be prolonged with 3 years (= 4 years in total) and starts on 1 October 2020. 

Salary and benefits are in line with the university salary scales for post-doctoral staff.


Interested candidates are invited to submit the following documents before 15 July 2020 in order to apply for this position:

•An overview of your academic publication list 
•A motivation letter explaining relevant personal background and interest in prolonging an academic career and in this post-doctoral management position and topic in specific. 
Applications have to be submitted in Dutch.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Rozane De Cock, tel.: +32 16 32 30 14, mail: 

You can apply for this job no later than July 15, 2020 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Deeltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: July 15, 2020
  • Tags: Communicatie/Media

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