PhD position “unraveling late-life trajectories of physical activity”

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 11 Jun 2023

23 May 2023
Job Information

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)
Research Field

Medical sciences
Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

11 Jun 2023 - 21:00 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

While the benefits of physical activity for healthy aging are widely recognized, it is currently unknown whether specific types of activities are more beneficial than others. This project aims to improve our understanding of mechanisms by which different components of physical activity are associated with health outcomes in older adults. Although physical activity is likely to decline during aging, there may be variation across different components of physical activity (intensity, strength, tension, and rotational movements). In this project, we aim to identify trajectories of physical activity components that are optimal for healthy aging and to investigate how these trajectories may differ across subgroups. Ultimately, the findings of this project could lead to the development of personalized physical activity recommendations that can stimulate healthy aging for all individuals.
From a methodological point of view, it is a challenge to analyze (heterogeneity of) physical activity in older adults over time. The current project provides the ideal setting to investigate how longitudinal trajectories of different physical activities in older adults can be compared and assessed. Secondly, physical performance measures may play an important mediating role in the association between physical activity and other health outcomes. This has been demonstrated cross-sectionally, but not yet studied longitudinally.

Your duties
As a PhD candidate you will be responsible for conducting this research and performing the data analysis, writing of scientific articles and writing a dissertation. You will be able to use already collected data of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, a cohort study in Dutch older men and women with more than 30 years of follow-up (LASA, ). Additionally, you will contribute to ongoing research activities within the LASA cohort study.

Your specific tasks are:

  • To identify longitudinal trajectories of physical activities in older adults
  • To investigate longitudinal trajectories of physical activities in relation to different health outcomes
  • To develop and compare different methodological analysis techniques for analyzing complicated longitudinal data
  • To disseminate the research findings through international scientific publications and a final thesis
  • To present your findings at national and international conferences and symposia
  • To contribute to teaching activities of the Department of Health Sciences

Specific Requirements
  • A master's degree in Health Sciences, Public Health, Epidemiology, or related field
  • Good knowledge and skills in methodology and statistics
  • Experience with statistical software such as R and STATA is preferred
  • Excellent command of spoken and written Dutch and English
  • Well-developed analytical skills, intellectually curious, and eager to learn
  • Able and willing to work both independently and collaboratively in a multidisciplinary context

Additional Information

A exciting PhD 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 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a total duration of 4 years. At the end of the fourth year, the employment contract is concluded with a dissertation.

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,
  • space for personal development

Additional comments

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter describing your abilities and motivation by June 11, 2023. The interviews are planned for June 20 and June 21, 2023.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: dr. Laura Schaap (associate professor)

No agencies

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Postal Code
De Boelelaan 1105

Where to apply



De Boelelaan 1105
Postal Code

1081 HV

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