PhD position: Automated Social network and news media analysis to promote cancer screening

Updated: 9 months ago
Deadline: ;

We are looking for a PhD candidate who has a proven experience automated text analysis of social and news media, has an interdisciplinary perspective, and is enthusiastic about working together with researchers from communication science and natural language processing and connecting with societal partners.

What are you going to do?

Social media discussions have been shown to reflect and influence public perceptions on a myriad of topics, including support for health policies and screening programs, and mistrust of government and medical institutions. People often turn to social media to look for health information. At present, very little is known about the causes and the consequences of these social media discussions on support for the cancer screening program, public trust in national health institutes, their perception of balanced information provision by those health institutes, and their subsequent news media selection. The goal of the PhD position is to understand the dynamics between news media content, social media discussions, and trust and participation in cancer screening programs. The PhD position is embedded in the project 'SENTENCES', a ZonMw-funded research project that focuses on not only understanding the causes and consequences of social media discussions, but also to develop and validate artificial intelligence tools to promote informed decision making regarding one’s health. Within 'SENTENCES', we work together with key academic expertise on artificial intelligence, communication science, and natural language processing. We also work together with key societal partners, including National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Netherlands Cancer Foundation (KWF),, and Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL).

The tasks for the PhD position include:

  • development and application of computational methods for automated content and sentiment analysis;
  • conducting and analyzing focus group interviews with members of the public;
  • writing papers together with other project members;
  • communicating the results of the research to academic and public audiences;
  • present your work in (inter)national conferences;
  • finalize the papers in a PhD thesis.

What do we require of you?

Candidates for this position should have a (research) master’s degree in communication science, computer science and/or computational linguistics, or equivalent.

In addition, you:

  • have proven affinity with research on new communication technologies and health;
  • have training in and/or experience with natural language processing techniques;
  • have solid statistical skills;
  • have excellent organizational and social skills;
  • are willing to learn and think across disciplines;
  • have good communication skills and are well able to communicate with your fellow peers , the research population and societal partners;
  • are collaborative and like to work in a team;
  • have excellent English writing and presentation skills, and preferably speak Dutch.

Further information

Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

  • Dr Gert-Jan de Bruijn

Would you like to learn more about working at the University of Amsterdam? Visit our website .

Our offer

The position concerns a temporary employment contract of 38 hours per week for a maximum term of 48 months. The initial term of employment is one year. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of 36 months, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. We will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events. You will also be tasked with teaching Bachelor's students.

Your salary will be €2,395 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3,061 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities . We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

What else can we offer you?

A motivating work environment with a variety of duties and sufficient scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. We cherish inquisitive minds and persevering spirits, and allow you the opportunity to dig deeper with your questions. Diverse, unique, dynamic, internationally oriented and ambitious: these are all characteristics which typify UvA staff. Strongly committed to the city of Amsterdam and the international society of which it is part, the UvA stands for independence, creativity, innovation, an international perspective and a critical yet open mindset.

Job application

The UvA is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value a spirit of enquiry and endurance, provide the space to keep asking questions and cherish a diverse atmosphere of curiosity and creativity.

Does this profile sound like you? If so, we are eager to receive your CV and covering letter. 

You may apply online by clicking on the link below.

The deadline for applications is 26 October. Interviews will take place in Mid November.

No agencies please

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