Fully Funded PhD Researcher in Health Geography, Virtual Reality & Experiments (f/m) - Ref: 22-23

Updated: 3 months ago

The Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER)

is recruiting a

Fully Funded PhD Researcher in Health Geography, 

Virtual Reality & Experiments (f/m)

  • Ref: 22-23

  • Full-time contract at LISER

  • 3 years fixed-term contract, renewable up to 4 years

  • Start date: between January 1st and March 1st, 2023

  • Deadline for applications: October 31st, 2022

  • EU research framework program: Horizon ERC Starting Grant

LISER invites highly qualified and motivated applicants for a PhD position in the Urban Development and Mobility Department, under a project funded by the European Union, through Horizon European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant program.

About the FragMent project:

Geographic environments, daily activities and stress: a study on the space-time fragmentation of exposure patterns.

Stress is nearly ubiquitous in everyday life, and act as a major risk factor of numerous mental and physical disorders. The aim of the FragMent project is to evaluate to which extent the spatial and temporal fragmentation of exposures to environments in daily life influences physiological and psychological stress, as well as social inequalities in stress.

Engaging in daily activities translates into travelling to and staying within a variety of environments over a day. Exposures to daily environments may either act as a contributor to stress or provide some restorative qualities. For example, while greener environments reduce stress, higher built-up density and proximity to traffic do the reverse. Yet, the combination of these momentary effects on stress over a day have so far been largely ignored. This project builds on a corpus of evidence from neighborhood effect in epidemiology, and creates a bridge with the concept of activity fragmentation from Time Geography, to investigate the determinants of momentary, daily and chronic stress.

Your role

Leading the research effort on a series of experimental studies the utilize immersive virtual environments to examine the effects of the urban environment and exposure patterns on momentary stress while walking

This sub-project in FragMent aims to test the effect of the urban environments on momentary physiological and psychological stress while walking. We will make use of emerging virtual reality technologies combining immersive virtual environments with a walking simulator. Immersive Virtual environments will allow to control for and manipulate various environmental factors to systematically compare their effects on stress between several different temporal fragmentations of exposure patterns.

The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to the FragMent project as described above.

He/She will be in charge of running a pilot phase, dedicated to the testing of stress biosensors and stress measurments in combination with the experimental setting, and the conduction of a series of lab-based virtual experiments.

Supervision team

Dr. Camille Perchoux is a research associate at the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER), department of Urban Development and Mobility. She is a health geographer with a background in geography and a PhD in Public Health epidemiology awarded in 2015 from Sorbonne University and the University of Montreal. Her research interests include the assessment of neighborhood effect on health at refined spatial and temporal scales, social and spatial inequalities in health, and longitudinal effects of environments on health. Her research involves the use interdisciplinary concepts, methods and tools from epidemiology, geography and transportation research including map-based questionnaires, GPS, (bio)sensors, mobile surveys and virtual reality technology. She is the principal investigator of the FragMent project.

Dr. Amit Birenboim is a senior lecturer at the department of geography and the Center for Urban Innovation at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and head of the Urban Vitality Lab. He completed his PhD studies in 2016 at the Hebrew University after which he started a post-doctorate in the Healthy Urban Living research group at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Dr. Birenboim’s research focuses on human spatial behavior in various contexts such as health, mobility and transportation, technological impact, leisure and tourism. Researchers in his lab implement and develop state-of-the-art tools that allow accurate measurements of human-environment interactions. These tools include portable sensors, location tracking technologies. virtual and augmented reality. Studies that take place in the lab are interdisciplinary in their nature and often involve collaborations with Israeli and international researchers from various disciplines.

Your Profile

The successful candidate is expected to have:

  • A Master in a relevant discipline such as geography, psychology, environmental psychology, public health, epidemiology or architecture;

  • Knowledge in experimental quantitative research methods;

  • Experience with Virtual Reality is considered as an asset, but not mandatory;

  • Experience in data management and statistics;

  • Advanced skills for writing scientific peer-review papers in English;

  • Advanced skills for presenting research results to scientific conferences and to a lay audience;

  • Skills in French, German or Luxembourgish would be an asset, but not mandatory;

  • Good organizational skills, good communication skills;

  • Ability to take own initiatives, as well as a strong ability for teamwork.

LISER particularly encourage female researchers to apply

We offer

  • An exciting interdisciplinary research environment combining geography, public health epidemiology and experimental sciences;

  • An international supervision team and associated research network;

  • Structured local training programs, comprising specific training courses in research-related skills and well as training in complementary skills;

  • Additional training and networking opportunities through participation in international conferences;

  • An internationally competitive remuneration.


LISER is a publicly funded research institute located in Luxembourg and dedicated to applied empirical research in economic, social and spatial sciences. The Institute hosts three departments (Living Conditions, Labour Market, and Urban Development and Mobility) as well as a Data Management Unit that coordinates the collection of a wide range of survey data on households and individuals. Beyond its established departments, the Institute invests in several interdisciplinary research fields.

The Institute attracts top researchers from all over the world and high-level student training is a vibrant part of the Institute’s activities. The Institute‘s staff consists of about 180 employees, more than 50% of the staff being researchers, mainly from the fields of economics, sociology, and geography (see www.liser.lu). The working languages at the institute are French and English.

The Institute is located on the Belval campus in the south of Luxembourg, which hosts the University of Luxembourg and a substantial part of the country’s publicly funded research facilities, i.e. LISER, the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS ) cross-national data centre, the Luxembourg Institutes of Health (LIH ) and of Science and Technology (LIST ). The University has outstanding high-performance computing facilities available for use by associated researchers in the Luxembourg Institutes. Information for foreign researchers interested in Luxembourg research is accessible via the national EURAXESS platform . 

About Luxembourg

Luxembourg with its > 600,000 inhabitants is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and provides a stimulating mixture of modern culture and tradition. Contemporary urbanity of its capital lies in close vicinity to a rich nature. In addition to excellent health, education (public, private and high level international schools) and recreational services, the community affords a rich variety of cultural activities typical of a major university environment, including museums, music, art and theatre. Luxembourg is a multi-lingual nation. Besides the official languages (French, German and Luxemburgish), English, Italian and Portuguese are spoken frequently.

Application process

Please submit your complete application (in English) via https://jobs.liser.lu/jobs :

  • Curriculum Vitae

  • Letter of motivation (maximum 1 page)

  • A suggestion for specific research questions related to the project’s theme (1/2 A4)

  • Copy of the diplomas and grades (i.e., bachelor and master degree, or equivalent). The minimum requirement is a diploma qualifying for doctoral studies in the recruiting country (e.g. Master degree). Students in their last year may apply but can only be recruited upon successful graduation.

  • Contact details of two referees (no recommendation letters)

  • Writing sample (e.g. student’s paper of chapter thesis), preferably in English

  • Deadline for applications: October 31st, 2022 (12:00 CET)

    If you have any questions on the contents of the work, please contact Dr. Camille Perchoux camille.perchoux@liser.lu or Dr. Amit Birenboim amit.birenboim@mail.huji.ac.il

    For administrative matters, please contact: recruitment@liser.lu

    LISER is equal opportunity Employer

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