PhD Student - Towards Accurate Prediction of Healthcare Choices (1,0 fte)

PhD Student - Towards Accurate Prediction of Healthcare Choices (1,0 fte)

Published Deadline Location
1 Apr 31 May Rotterdam

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Job description

Healthcare is under heavy pressure due to rising expenditures, an ageing population, high prices of new medical treatment options, and substantial resource waste. Accurate prediction of patients’ choice behavior enables better decisions in healthcare by avoiding poor policy decisions, trial-and-error implementation and demand-supply imbalance. For accurate prediction of choice behavior, however, current choice models in healthcare (and beyond) are inadequate because we are forgetting one very important thing: current choice models study people’s choices independently of other people’s influence. However, most healthcare choices are not made in a social vacuum. Moving towards a social interdependent choice paradigm is crucial to reach accurate ex-ante evaluation of healthcare policies.

This research program takes this important, urgent and challenging step by performing three interrelated projects: Project I ‘Theory development’; (2) Project II ‘Translation of theory into a method paradigm’; and Project III ‘Proof-of-principle’. The work involves frontier research at the interface between medical, behavioral, and econometric sciences. This ambitious research seeks a range of ground-breaking contributions to the fields of choice modeling, choice behavior prediction, and decision-making in healthcare as well as real-world benefits to society as a whole.

The PhD candidate will focus on Project I and Project III: the PhD candidate job position will (1) establish the theoretical foundations of socially interdependent decision-making, primarily to achieve accurate predictions of choice behavior in healthcare via – for example - a systematic literature review, semi-structured interviews among decision-makers (patients and their influencers (e.g. physicians, partners)), and/or a survey among experts (Project I); and (2) validate the developed intersocial choice paradigm via different applications in healthcare (e.g. influenza vaccination, prostate cancer treatment, birth location, hip/knee joint replacement) with contrasting situations to establish generalizability of the results (Project III). The candidate should be a collaborator and flexible thinker, intensely interested in human decision making, and motivated to participate and learn in situations that are beyond their current capabilities. Dedication to work needs is an a priori expectation. Besides research responsibilities, the PhD candidate will also participate in our teaching programs (up till 0.10fte).

The applicant ultimately selected for this project will be laying the foundation for a unique career in healthcare preference research and policy. The individual will become an expert in qualitative and quantitative research techniques to support preference research, and will become proficient in a portfolio of methods used to elicit and measure preferences (e.g., Discrete Choice Experiments, multivariate statistics, modeling of limited dependent variables). Finally, the individual will learn to communicate to academic and policy audiences through technical research reports, papers and presentations.


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)


The successful applicant for this position is expected to have a recent or almost completed MSc degree in health sciences, psychology, psychometrics, health economics, sociology, behavioral economics, or econometrics. The ideal candidate has interests in qualitative and quantitative methods and has a strong motivation for doing methodological research in the field of healthcare. Knowledge of programming languages and excellent communication and writing skills in Dutch are an advantage. Applicants must have excellent communication and writing skills in English, and like to collaborate closely in a multidisciplinary group. Computer skills should at least include Excel, R, SPSS or similar statistical software.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 year.

We offer a full-time position as PhD student at Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). The PhD candidate will be located at the Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM). We offer a 1.5 year position with the possibility of extension to 4 years based on performance. Starting date of PhD appointment is September 1st, 2021. Remuneration will be in accordance with the PhD scale set by the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU). Fulltime work will pay € 2395 per month before taxes in the first year, going up to € 3061 per month in the fourth year. EUR offers a holiday allowance (8%), a set end-of-year bonus (8.3%), and there are generous opportunities for additional education and attendance at scientific conferences. Full time is considered to be 38 hours a week.


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is an internationally oriented university with a strong social orientation in its education and research. Inspired by the dynamic and cosmopolitan city of Rotterdam, our scientists and students work in close collaboration with internal and external parties to solve global social challenges. Our mission is therefore "Creating positive societal impact". Our academic education is intensive, active and application oriented. Our research increasingly takes place in multidisciplinary teams, which are strongly intertwined with international networks. With our research impact and thanks to the high quality of education, EUR ranks amongst the top European universities. Erasmian values ​​function as our internal compass and make Erasmus University recognizable to the outside world: engaged with society, world citizen, connecting, entrepreneurial and open-minded.


Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM) is part of Erasmus University Rotterdam and is responsible for a bachelors and three (international) master programs on health policy, economics and management, serving more than 800 students. ESHPM is a multidisciplinary school with research focusing on three main themes: ‘competition and regulation in healthcare’; ‘quality and efficiency in healthcare’; and ‘healthcare management’. The position is offered in the Health Technology Assessment group.


  • PhD
  • Health
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2395—€3061 per month
  • University graduate
  • ESHPM/HTA/01042021


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

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Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, 3062 PA, Rotterdam

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