PhD position MediaMovez: Empowering children to behave safely online (0,8fte - 1fte)

PhD position MediaMovez: Empowering children to behave safely online (0,8fte - 1fte)

Published Deadline Location
1 Apr 9 May Rotterdam

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Obtain a PhD in Behavioural Science while being part of the innovative team-science project “MediaMovez: Empowering children to behave safely online”. By applying innovative game-based methodology, you will examine effective intervention strategies that strengthen the competencies children need to safely consume and create digital media content.

Job description

Children grow up in a world where social media, apps and games are omnipresent. This offers them important opportunities but there are also risks to their wellbeing and safety. That's why more and more attention is being paid to the digital media literacy of this group. It is often thought that increasing awareness and knowledge about the opportunities and risks of digital media, for example through education in schools, contributes to a media-literate behavioural change among children. However, there is still little evidence for this assumption. The MediaMovez project investigates what competences children need to autonomously make media-literate choices. To do so, the project seeks to validate a novel theoretical framework, the Digital Media Empowerment (DME) model, using an integrated theoretical approach (combining theories on media literacy, behavior change, and cognitive development) to explain how children (10-14 years) can be empowered to behave safely online. A team of three researchers will address this aim in a multistep approach, including the development and testing of an innovative game-based research methodology that is then used to test the model’s theorized relationships through observation and manipulation of its mechanisms.

Your role will be to test the DME model by manipulating the model’s mechanisms through intervention. More specifically, you will use theories of communication science, developmental psychology, and behaviour change to investigate the most effective intervention techniques to empower young people to behave safely online. You will employ multiple methods in your research, such as interviews, focus groups and experimental designs. Therefore, we expect you to have affinity with both qualitative and quantitative research methods.  

As a PhD student, you will get the opportunity to be part of this innovative research project led by dr. Esther Rozendaal. In our team, we all work closely together in reaching the overall objective, while collaborating with media literacy practitioners , youth communication professionals, and most important, the target audience. Therefore, we expect you to have affinity with translating scientific knowledge in practical solutions.

Are you interested to be involved in our team and putting your knowledge and aspirations to work? Then please write a short research proposal that addresses the research aim of the PhD project you are applying for (see above). The proposal needs to include the following: 1) Problem definition giving the theoretical background, research questions and hypotheses. 2) Proposed method 3) Expected results and societal relevance. We are very curious to find out about you, and your thoughts about which study design and analyses you would use for your project. The proposal will not only demonstrate your current research competencies, but also your own ideas and aspirations for the project.

The PhD position is embedded in the interdisciplinairy Movez Lab. For more information about the Movez Lab see “additional information”.


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)


What we expect from you:

  • A Master’s degree in social sciences (or expected to be obtained in the near future); for example, a Research Master’s degree in Behavioural Science, Communication Science, Psychology, or comparable.
  • Proven affinity with digital communication technology.
  • Excellent research, methodological and statistical skills (preferably both quantitative and qualitative).
  • Affinity with game-based research methodology.
  • Experience and affinity with research involving minors is preferred.
  • A desire to contribute to creating societal impact and therefore must have a proven ability to translate scientific knowledge in practical solutions.
  • Good oral and written command of English.
  • A basic command of Dutch is preferred, given the interaction with the target audience.

Conditions of employment

Internationally-oriented and varied work within an enthusiastic team, with attractive fringe benefits in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU). Your initial employment term will be for 1 year but will be extended with 3 years if your performance proves satisfactory. Your remuneration starts with €2395,- gross per month (salary scale P.0, CAO NU). Erasmus University Rotterdam offers attractive terms of employment, including a holiday allowance of 8%, a year-end payment of 8.3% and 41 annual leave days in case of a full work week. In addition, EUR takes part in the ABP pension scheme, and we also offer partially paid parental leave. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Moreover, EUR staff members are allowed to make use of the EUR facilities, including the Erasmus sports centre and the University Library. We value diversity and believe that a diversity of talents contributes to our vision and strategy to excel as a university on research and education. This means that we are looking for a person who can complement our team well.


Erasmus University Rotterdam

The Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), named after Rotterdam-born humanist and theologian Erasmus, is a research university with a strong international orientation and a pronounced social focus, both in its education and research activities. On the lively, modern campus, more than 28.000 students and scholars of more than 100 nationalities are constantly encouraged to develop their talents and meet their ambition. Our more than 2700 scientists and employees work together with all our students to solve challenges faced by global society, drawing their inspiration from the consistently dynamic and cosmopolitan city of Rotterdam. The academic education offered at our faculties is intensive, engaging and strongly focused on practical application. We increasingly perform our research in multidisciplinary teams, which are closely interwoven with international networks. In terms of research impact and the quality of its degree programmes, EUR can compete with the foremost universities in Europe, which is reflected in its consistent top-100 position in most major universities rankings. Erasmus University Rotterdam’s key values are daring, curiosity, social involvement, breaking new ground and striving for success


Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

The Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB) is home to a vast diversity of scientific disciplines: public administration, pedagogical sciences, psychology and sociology. In addition, the Erasmus University College, IHS, and two research institutes RISBO and DRIFT are linked to the faculty. This also reflects in the content of the (international) bachelor's and master's programs and in research.  Our activities are always focused on people and society. At the ESSB fundamental, internationally oriented research is of paramount importance. In addition, social research for professionals, policy makers, and the society is part of our research activities. ESSB offers a stimulating research environment where major national and international research grants are received. Appealing guest researchers and ambitious PhD candidates come along to conduct their research. Our education is small-scale and works with innovative forms of education such as Problem-Based Learning (PBL). Both the Dutch and English programs are highly ranked by students and alumni. ESSB is home to over 4000 students and more than 400 staff-members. The different disciplines are supported by the Faculty Office (for more information, please visit


  • PhD
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • €2395—€3061 per month
  • ESSB/20210401


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

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Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, 3062 PA, Rotterdam

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