Job vacancy for post-doctoral researcher

Job vacancy for a post-doctoral researcher (100%)

We are currently looking for a post-doctoral researcher (100%) with excellent analytical and writing skills to join the Air-BRU project about the impact of Airbnb and other shared short-term rentals in the Brussels Capital Region in Belgium. As a senior researcher your main job will be conducting research on the basis of socio-demographic and geocoded neighbourhood data and Airbnb data; documenting and analysing the gentrifying implications of shared short-term rentals in local neighbourhoods (over time), writing research papers, reflecting about policy impactions and disseminating the findings to a broader audience. In addition, we expect you to support the main supervisors and their research group Interface Demography in their educational and management tasks (max. 10% of your time).

Summary of the project:

During the past decade, shared short-term rentals grew spectacularly in many tourist destinations. Likewise, the Brussels Capital Region (BRC) experienced a rapid increase of available short-term rental dwellings, advertised on ‘peer-to-peer’ platforms, such as Airbnb and HomeAway. In the public debate, there are many concerns and unknowns about the patterns and consequences of this ‘collaborative economy’. This project aims to examine the inequalities of the shared short-term rental market in the Brussels Capital Region. As social scientists, we are especially interested in the inequalities that come along with these shared short-term rentals: their unequal residential patterning over Brussels’ neighbourhoods (objective 1), the inequality in the type of providers of short-term rentals (objective 2), the discrimination of tourists on the peer-to-peer rental platforms and the potential inadequate supply of short-term rental dwellings for specific categories of tourists (objective 3) and the gentrifying effects of the growing shared short-term rental market for the local residents on the regular long-term housing market in terms of the availability and affordability of rental dwellings and the potential displacement of inhabitants (objective 4). Finally, we also want to formulate evidence-based policy recommendations to tackle the problems of inequality (objective 5). This research project will make use of unique data collection methods, among which webscraping short-term rental platforms, tourism websites and rental housing websites and performing field experiments such as correspondence tests on digital discrimination. Other innovative aspects include its analyses on the fine-grained level of personalised, scalable neighbourhoods (instead of the commonly used administrative statistical sectors), its integrated analysis of locations, providers and clients of shared short-term rentals, its evidence-based testing of anti-discrimination strategies, and its advanced quantitative analyses of potential gentrifying effects, using unique spatial-temporal micro-data on rental dwellings in the BCR.

The full research proposal is available upon request. This research project is funded by Innoviris and supervised by Prof. Pieter-Paul Verhaeghe and Prof. Sylvie Gadeyne.

Job profile:

  • You have a PhD degree in the field of Sociology, Geography, Economics or closely related disciplines in the social sciences.
  • You have advanced statistical skills.
  • You are eager to learn new quantitative methods of analysis and data collection (e.g. webscraping, hedonic OLS-models etc.)
  • You are a loyal team-player and you agree to co-write and co-publish with the research team in high-impact scientific journals.
  • Your research mentality is focused on “getting the things done”.
  • You are fluent in English, spoken and written. Knowledge of Dutch and/or French is a bonus.
  • Familiarity with Brussels Capital Region is a bonus.


Job offer:

  • A full-time job until December 2021, which can be prolonged after a positive evaluation until December 2023.
  • Depending on your experience and your academic merits, you’ll receive a salary in one of the grades that have been set by the government.

Company profile:

For almost 50 years, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel has stood for freedom, equality and connectedness. These values are strongly present on our campuses, in our students as well as our staff. At the VUB, you’ll find a diverse collection of personalities: pure innovators, but especially people who are 100% their authentic selves. With about 3,500 employees, we are the largest Flemish-speaking employer in Brussels, an international city with which we are all too happy to be affiliated and around which our four campuses are located. Our education and research are grounded in the principles of free research with an eye on human progress. The VUB is autonomous and managed democratically. As such, we guarantee fundamental freedoms within our university, as well as the right of the university community to be involved in making and checking university policy.

Additional information:

Preferable start date: Between 01/04/2021 and 30/04/2021

Applications should be submitted no later than 14/02/2021. Online or in-person job interviews will be planned in the last 10 days of February 2021 depending on how the covid-19 pandemic evolves.

Contact person: Prof. Dr. Pieter-Paul Verhaeghe,



Your application should be sent by e-mail to with the following subject “Air-BRU project researcher application [family name of the applicant]” and must include the following as a minimum:

• A concise CV in which you specify your research background, knowledge of statistical methods and publications.

• A one-page statement of the motivation and the reasons for the candidature