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Ombudsperson (0.8 FTE) (221370E)

Job description

Main role:

  • contributing to a safe working climate and the learning capacity of the organisation.

Main duties:

  • identifying, advising, mediating and conducting solicited and unsolicited investigations on matters relating to social safety and inappropriate conduct.

Main characteristics:

  • impartiality, independence and objectivity.

Job description

• identifying trends and patterns relating to social safety and inappropriate conduct, as well as systematic deficiencies in regulations or their implementation within the organization
• advising the Board and supervisors who are in the position to act in response to patterns, trends or systematic deficiencies that have been identified
• making satisfactory referrals (or re-referrals) to the appropriate bodies within the UG (e.g. the Confidential Advisor or the complaints committees), as well as beyond the University, if necessary
• conducting investigations (whether or not at its own initiative) and making recommendations based on the results
• mediating and bring parties back into dialogue within the organizational structures intended for this purpose
• publishing and reporting on observations and findings
• compiling a publicly accessible annual report.


We are seeking an enthusiastic and decisive professional who:

• has a relevant academic background (e.g. in legal or social sciences) and who is familiar with the relationships existing in a university environment and with university culture, structure and regulations
• has organizational sensitivity and demonstrable experience with the dynamics and the political and administrative relation within a diverse (culturally and otherwise) work environment
• is able to cope with contravening interests, resistance and pressure, and is able to act independently in such situations as well as to radiate impartiality, and who can serve as an objective and respected discussion partner
• has an affinity for specialist knowledge of labour law and regulations of academic teaching and research (Higher Education and Research Act, WHW)
• has a completed training in mediation or, more specifically, in conflict mediation
• has relevant experience in conflict mediation, complaint handling and customer research, and who is capable of identifying trends based on the associations between complaints
• has shown a capacity for independent thinking and acting in the past
• is reliable and capable of creating an atmosphere of safety and confidentiality
• has integrity and the ability to work with sensitive information
• is capable of building a network and creating a base of support
• can cooperate well with other parties, including the Confidential Advisor, the Integrity Coordinator and the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Person, while preserving the unique character of the position
• shows sensitivity to cultural diversity in the context of the international environment and writes and speaks both Dutch and English excellently.


The University of Groningen (UG) ranks amongst the best research universities in Europe, and it has an international focus. The UG is societally active and committed to its surroundings. Our staff put their academic passion to good use, researching and teaching in a wide range of fields. Everyone has the opportunity to develop their talents to the full. The talents, ambitions and achievements of the nearly 36,000 students and the more than 7,700 staff members are rewarded wherever possible.

The UG strives to foster a healthy and socially safe work and study environment so that staff can excel at their jobs and students can develop their talents. Several measures have been taken to support this, such as adopting the Code of Conduct for Academic Integrity, the Zero Tolerance statement and by organizing workshops in the areas of integrity and active bystander training. Finally, the integrity policy has recently been updated. Information about these matters is available on

The new position of Ombudsperson for staff and students fits perfectly within the policy set out here. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU) 2020 provides the basis for this position.

For some time, Dutch universities have been improving social safety and have been investing in a healthy and safe work environment. The new Code of Good Governance of the VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands) outlines the universities’ ambitions.

The Minister of Education, Culture and Science has also stressed the necessity to ensure that improvements are made to the higher education work and study environment. In this regard, reference is made to a study conducted by the Dutch Network of Women Professors (LNVH) entitled Harassment in Dutch Academia , which provides insight into how intimidation and improper conduct can take many forms and how it affects all academics positions, from PhD students to professors, both victims and bystanders. The trade unions FNV and VAWO confirmed this picture in their report on social safety at Dutch universities. The FNV and VAWO published their report at about the same time as the LNVH study.

It is within this context of sector-specific challenges and ambitions, and alongside the existing auxiliary structures and committees, that the new position of Ombudsperson is to be developed and elaborated within the University of Groningen as of 1 July 2021.

Conditions of employment

In accordance with the CLA for Dutch Universities, we offer you the following terms of employment:

  • a maximum salary of € 6,317 gross per month for a full-time position (scale 13)
  • a work week of 36, 38 or 40 hours (based on a full-time employment contract), working hours to be discussed
  • a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, based on annual gross income
  • good training opportunities
  • good administrative and IT support.

The position is initially a temporary appointment for the period of two years. This position will be evaluated one and a half year after employment. This temporary appointment also includes the task of working in consultation with the existing auxiliary structure to advise on the definitive embedding of the position of Ombudsperson within the UG, with special attention paid to the delineation of duties, particularly with regard to the Confidential Advisor, the Integrity Coordinator and the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Person.

Starting date: 1 July 2021, or as soon as possible thereafter


You can apply by submitting your letter of application, along with your CV, before 20 June 2021 to Public Spirit, the agency responsible for the recruitment and selection procedure for this vacancy. Apply only using the application form in:

The first round of interviews will be held in week 27, 2021. A second interview round may be held as part of the selection process.

The University of Groningen is an inclusive organization; a multi-faceted employer for all groups within society. We therefore welcome a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and knowledge. Our selection procedure follows the principles of the Application Code of the Netherlands Association for Personnel Policy (NVP),


Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

  • Ms E. Klont, HR Advisor Office of the University a.i., +31 6 54255988, e.klont

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.