Postdoctoral fellow Stress in Action

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: ;

The experience of stress is an inherent aspect of daily-life. However, can we validly measure this, and how and under what circumstances does it contribute to disease? We are looking for researchers that work on our exciting Stress-in-Action project.

FTE: 0.9 - 1

Job description

As the Postdoc within the Data Infrastructure Support Core, your mission is to guide the harmonization and meta-data annotation of the existing data collected during daily life settings within various large national cohorts (e.g. arising from the Rotterdam Study, Generation R, LifeLines, NESDA and Netherlands Twin Register studies). Stress-in-Action core applicants performed ambulatory assessment studies that collected relevant data on stress responses, disease outcomes, and potential moderators in these cohorts (at current count, N > 8000). Together, these data provide a useful resource for modelling each of the four components of the stress response (emotional, cognitive, physiological and behavioural).

By creating this resource you will enable yourself to publish on a very rich dataset on stress in daily life and you will be actively supported to do so. This is academically challenging because constructs  measures, protocols, sampling frequencies, and inclusion criteria used, differ between the cohorts, so good harmonization and analytic strategies are  required, e.g. by exploiting the substantial overlap in primary sensors (e.g. accelerometers, HR(V) recorders) and smartphone-based self-report items used. You will also be involved in the daily supervision of one or more PhD students, and will have the possibility to shape your future, as advancing the career of young stress researchers is one of the missions of the Stress-in-Action consortium.

You will become part of a large and active national community of over 20+ PhD students and 10+ postdocs who will work on the Stress-in-Action project at different institutions.

  • PhD degree in the fields of psychology, health sciences, biomedical sciences, epidemiology, bioinformatics, computer sciences, or a related discipline (also candidates close to the thesis defense are encouraged to apply)
  • Experience in working with ambulatory data in the context of the behavioral or life sciences  
  • Experience and/or strong interest in working with ‘big’ data  
  • Knowledge of psychometric principles and related statistical methodology
  • Good programming skills in Python, R, Matlab or other tools for physiological signal analysis
  • Affinity and proven experience with writing research papers
  • English conversation, writing skills, and presentation skills
  • Communication and social skills
  • Interest in supervision of students

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,960 (scale 10)

and a maximum €5,439 (scale 11) depending on your education and experience. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.9 FTE.

The initial employment contract will affect a period of 1 year with the intention of extension for another two years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment,
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus,
  • discount on (and occasionally exclusive access to) theater performances and courses at the Griffioen Cultural Center,
  • contribution to commuting expenses

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences
The Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences focuses on the broad domain of behaviour and health. Our teaching and research programmes are devoted to current developments in society, from healthy aging to e-health, from juvenile crime to dealing with depression, from training for top athletes to social media as a teaching tool. We are unique in that we combine three academic disciplines: psychology, movement sciences and education.

Working at Behavioural and Movement Sciences means working in an ambitious organization that is characterized by an informal atmosphere and short lines of communication. Our faculty offers tremendous scope for personal development. We employ more than 600 staff members, and we are home to around 3,400 students.

About the department
At the department Biological Psychology of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam we conduct research and education on the causes of individual differences in health behaviours and disease outcomes. It is a department with a long tradition in stress research where enthusiastic and ambitious academics work on generating knowledge and translating this to improvements in health and wellbeing. Our research on the role of genetic and environmental factors - including stress- belongs to the international top. For the Stress-in-Action project, there is a close connection with researchers from the Amsterdam UMC, University Twente, Erasmus Medical Center, the University of Groningen and its UMC Groningen, and Utrecht University.

About the project
In the Stress-in-Action project, 25 multidisciplinary scientists from six Dutch Universities collaborate around the theme ‘stress in daily life’. Divided over three Research Themes and three Support Cores, the Stress-in-Action consortium, we will validate daily-life stress assessments, examine which contextual factors contribute to the experience of daily-life stress, and examine how daily-life stress leads to the development of both mental and cardiometabolic diseases. The project is funded through the Dutch Scientific Organization under the Gravitation program. More details can be found here: .


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Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Eco de Geus
Position: hoogleraar

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