• Post category:Vacancies

The EOS project “How inequality kills. Two centuries of social and spatial disparities in all-cause and cause-specific mortality in Belgium (1800-2025)” (INEQKILL) is looking for a postdoctoral researcher. INEQKILL is a four-year interdisciplinary project funded by FWO (Research Foundation Flanders) and FRNS (Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique).

Project abstract

INEQKILL focuses on a crucial dimension of inequality in society, the disparity in death, coined ‘ultimate inequality’. The project aims at generating new knowledge and insights into the origin and development of inequalities in all-cause and cause-specific mortality in Belgium. It tackles the longterm evolution of mortality inequalities (1800-2025) using an interdisciplinary approach based on expertise from demography, social epidemiology, medical geography and socioeconomic history.

INEQKILL addresses the following questions: How have social and spatial differences in cause specific mortality evolved in the context of rising living standards, improved social security and medical progress? How did these mortality patterns vary according to age, gender and migration status? And which factors can explain these? Besides using Belgium’s rich and unique statistical heritage, the project takes advantage of state-of-the-art geographic information systems and statistical techniques. Integrating micro and macro level data, linking past and present, and engaging with the wider public, INEQKILL embodies a major and original initiative in enhancing our understanding of mortality inequalities in Belgium and beyond.

Job description

In close collaboration with the project leaders, the postdoc researcher will help with the coordination of the project, will assist the PhD students, write journal articles and present the results at workshops and conferences. The postdoc will be part of the INEQKILL team consisting of coordinator prof. Sylvie Gadeyne (VUB, Interface Demography, https://interfacedemography.be) and principal investigators prof. Isabelle Devos (Ghent University,  Quetelet Center, https://research.flw.ugent.be/en/queteletcenter), prof. Thierry Eggerickx and prof. Philippe Bocquier (UCLouvain, Centre de Recherche en Démographie, https://uclouvain.be/fr/instituts-recherche/iacchos/demo) and prof. Sophie Vanwambeke (UCLouvain Earth and Life Institute, https://uclouvain.be/en/research-institutes/eli/elic). Besides the project leaders, the INEQKILL team includes 2 postdoctoral researchers, 6 PhD students, and 4 support staff members (including 2 geographers, a data manager, and a science communicator).


  • Holder of a PhD degree in sociology, demography or history or related social science.
  • Experience/interest in epidemiological research and a passion for the “social inequality” theme.
  • Sound knowledge and experience with quantitative research methods and data analysis.
  • High-level command of academic English, and excellent knowledge of Dutch and/or French (preferably both).
  • Very good knowledge of Belgian history (or willingness to acquire).
  • Commitment to high-quality academic research.
  • Proven ability to conduct research independently and collaboratively.


  • Full-time appointment of up to 36 months. The successful candidate will receive a one-year contract which will be prolonged after satisfactory performance in the first year. Preferred starting date: 1 November 2023.
  • Additional benefits such as health insurance, home-work commuting (public transport, bicycle allowance), eco-cheques, and 35 vacation days per year.
  • High-quality academic environment
  • Challenging research project with great societal and scientific relevance.

Research group

As a postdoctoral researcher you will be affiliated to Interface Demography which 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.

How to apply?

Apply before the 27th of August 2023 to sgadeyne@vub.be with the following pdf-documents in attachment:

  • a motivational letter  
  • your curriculum vitae including your publication list
  • your PhD dissertation
  • the names and contact details of three references      

The applicants will be informed by the 6th of September 2023 whether they are invited to the interview. Provisional dates for the interview are 12 or 13 September 2023.

Prof. dr. Sylvie Gadeyne

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Faculty of Social Sciences and Solvay Business School

Department of Sociology – Interface Demography

5 Pleinlaan, 1050 Brussels

+32 2 6148129 / +32 498 236043


For further inquiries, please contact Sylvie Gadeyne by e-mail or phone.