News May 2018

Amsterdam PhD Career Event for the Social Sciences

On June 6, the VU-GSSS successfully organised the 2nd Amsterdam PhD Career Event for Social Sciences together with the UVA. Half a day full of inspiring alumni portraits, workshops on Linked-In, grant application, discovering your competencies, finding your dream job, and of course networking and drinks! Don’t miss it next time, in 2019!

Check this hand-out for an overview of VU’s career advice and training and that was handed out during the PhD Career Day. 

PhD Careerday 1

PhD Careerday 2

Hora Finita is Live

Since June 14, Hora Finita is live! This is a big improvement for our faculty. All information about PhD trajectories is now available online for those involved: PhD candidates, (co)promotors, the dean and supporting staff. Many standard procedures have been automated and soon we can say goodbye to all paper files.

Important information
•    Log in: (with VU-net ID and password)
•    Manuals and information(also for F.A.Q.’s and contact details)
•    in English: Hora Finita webpage English (manuals will be available as of the end of June 2018)
•    in Dutch: Hora Finita webpage Dutch
•    Faculty contact: Alexandra Filius and Saskia Jans, ( (Monday – Thursday) and Mieke Noordam (

Are you about to defend your thesis?
PhD candidates who are about to complete their PhD trajectory follow the old procedures. In order to avoid unnecessary duplication of work, Hora Finita will not be used for these projects. 

Hora Finita 

Hora Finita presentations 3 July

The Graduate School will give a presentation on ‘How to work with Hora Finita’ on Tuesday 3 July. As supervisors and PhD candidates have different roles within the system, we will give two different presentations: one for supervisors and one for PhD candidates.

When: Tuesday 3 July
Where: Forum 4
Supervisors: 12:00-13:00 (co-supervisors & daily supervisors are also invited to join)
PhD candidates: 13:00-14:00


Graduate Council

The VU-GSSS Graduate Council is recruiting new members! Are you interested in helping to maintain and improve the quality of supervision, doctoral education and PhD life and work in our faculty more generally? Or are you interested in becoming a community builder, a bridge and a PhD buddy and would you like to represent PhD interests? Please send your motivation and interest to: Graduate School of Social Sciences, email before July 15th.

Meet Herbert Ploegman and Erwin Biersteker, New PhD Students

Dear readers,

I am Erwin Biersteker, PhD student at FSS, although also part-time allocated at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. I have a background in legal as well as social sciences, since I have studies an international legal master and an organization science master both at the VU. I started my PhD in April, and my supervisor is prof. Alfons van Marrewijk.

My research is about coordination issues when governing subsurface construction projects, basically. This topic caught my attention because the engaged way of doing scientific research in combination with a social-material perspective on the governance of construction projects makes me feel I can really contribute to a better understanding of the world. Hence, even more so in light of the upcoming energy transition that keeps public and private sector occupied. 


Hello everyone! 

My name is Herbert Ploegman and I am connected to the Department of Anthropology (SCA) in two ways: by doing a PhD research and by teaching. I have been doing research in Athens, Greece for various years now, and I’m currently embedding this work in a PhD framework. My itinerary may be a bit atypical — having started the research before attaining the PhD position — but I aim to include these ‘biographical idiosyncracies’ in my work. My work has an unfolding character and is in a continuous exchange with the developments in Athens and my career opportunities and developments ‘at home’. 

In Athens, multiple transformations are taking place at the same time. While the city has recently become a popular destination for flows of international tourists, it also served as a hub for refugees and migrants, before European governments decided to block national borders. Meanwhile, as an outcome of the 2008 financial crisis, a major real estate transfer is being made, in which Greek owners are being expropriated for the benefit of international buyers and investors. The increasing influx of international artists, largely catalysed by Documenta 14 in 2017, is a significant factor in this process, that is common to gentrification processes elsewhere, but simultaneously profoundly affects the character, the materiality and the image of the city. It is for this reason that I — as an incoming cultural worker — try to capture how art as a mode of exchange is currently changing  and affecting the social reality in the city. 

Recently I started teaching and coordinating courses at SCA in collaboration with other teachers. It is a pleasure to learn together with students and to get more general perspectives on the discipline again (I finished my Master’s at the same department in 2011).

Herbert Ploegman