PhD position Stress in Action

Updated: 5 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

Your main mission is to provide the Stress-in-Action community with tools for the continuous (and reliable) recording of the physiological stress response in daily life. You will start out by reviewing the state of the art in the research/consumer wearables that can record psychophysiological reactivity in natural settings through skin patches, stretch band electrodes, or sensors engrained in clothing. You will rank-order them in suitability building on the extensive experience with the development and validation testing of physiological wearables in our Vrije Universiteit and Twente Universiteit teams. This will prepare you to select the most promising wearables for extensive experimental validation in controlled lab settings as well as during real life ambulatory recording. For the latter you employ well-validated wearables like MoviSense, Spacelabs, and the VU-AMS that measure the heart period time series, blood pressure, the pre-ejection period, electrodermal activity, and peak-valley based respiratory sinus arrhythmia as measures of sympathetic and parasympathetic activity. You will also test out new solutions coming online during the lifecycle of the project, including new tools to assess blood pressure regulation or characterise the activity of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenocortical axis and how it affects immune and cardiovascular functioning.

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

  • MSc-degree (research master) in (bio)psychology, health sciences, biomedical technology, medical physics, computer science or a related discipline (also candidates close to graduating are encouraged to apply)
  • Strong interest in experimental (psycho)physiological research and/or advanced signal analytics
  • Knowledge of predictive modelling using multilevel models or machine learning approaches
  • Programming skills in Python, R, Matlab or other tools for physiological signal analysis
  • Affinity and preferably experience with writing research papers
  • English conversation, writing skills, and presentation skills
  • Communication and social skills

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,541 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,247 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.9 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 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,
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge, 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 University Twente, Erasmus Medical Center, Amsterdam UMC, the University of Groningen and its UMC Groningen, and Utrecht University.

About the project
n 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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