PhD-position: Comparing latent processes in multigroup data in the social sciences

PhD-position: Comparing latent processes in multigroup data in the social sciences

Published Deadline Location
10 Aug 16 Sep Tilburg

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A fully funded PhD position is available at the Department of Methodology and Statistics of Tilburg University, to work on the development of statistical methods for comparing latent processes among groups in multigroup data in the social sciences. It is part of the NWO Vidi project that will be performed under the direction of dr. Kim De Roover together with Prof. dr. Jeroen Vermunt (Tilburg University) and Prof. dr. Yves Rosseel (Ghent University).

Job description

The employment is primarily dedicated towards carrying out the proposed research described below, with the aim to write several academic articles that are publishable in high-impact peer-reviewed journals and supported by computer code. The position also involves contributions to teaching. The position and the environment in which the candidate will be embedded provide an optimal starting point for a possible academic career. The candidate will follow a customized track of graduate courses as part of the IOPS program which will further develop the candidate’s research skills and background knowledge. 


Tilburg University


The candidate should have sound knowledge of statistics, programming skills and affinity with research methods and techniques. Furthermore, the candidate should have a recently completed Master’s degree with excellent academic results in methodology, statistics, mathematics, sociometrics, psychometrics, quantitative psychology, or a related field. Academic curiosity and an interest to work in an interdisciplinary environment are important characteristics for this position. 

Project description
Title: Comparing latent processes in multigroup data in the social sciences

Many psychological research questions concern relations between unobservable or ‘latent’ variables – or ‘latent processes’ - and their comparison over groups. For instance, which factors predict parental stress or compliance with social distancing during a pandemic? Structural equation modeling (SEM) allows to model structural relations between latent variables, which capture the latent processes. For comparing latent processes across a large number of groups, such as countries, existing SEM approaches fall short. Firstly, many existing SEM methods fail to capture both similarities and differences in the latent processes. Secondly, for validly comparing structural relations, non-invariances in the measurement model – indicating how questionnaire items measure the latent variables differently for different groups – need to be accounted for. Specifically, one should address measurement non-invariances that hamper the comparison of structural relations beforehand and properly model non-invariances that do not hamper the comparison. In this project, new mixture-based SEM methods will be developed that capture which groups have common latent processes by group-clusters, while unraveling differences/similarities in the structural relations of interest from differences in the measurement model. The project includes substantive applications of the novel methods and the development of user-friendly software.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year, after a positive first year evaluation prolonged for 3 years.

Tilburg University is among the top Dutch employers and has an excellent policy concerning terms of employment. The collective employment terms and conditions for Dutch universities will apply. Initially the appointment will be on a temporary basis for the period of 1 year. After a positive first year evaluation the contract will be prolonged for 3 years.

The salary for the position of PhD-candidate on a full-time basis ranges between € 2434,- and € 3111,- gross per month (not included are various allowances). 



Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (TSB) is a modern, specialized university. The teaching and research of the Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences are organized around the themes of Adaptive societies, organizations, and workers, Healthy life span, Personalized prevention and care. The Schools inspiring working environment challenges its workers to realize their ambitions, involvement and cooperation are essential to achieve this. 
Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences



Department of Methodology and Statistics

The Department of Methodology and Statistics is an internationally renowned group, holding several experts in data science methods, latent variable methods, psychometrics, meta-research, survey methodology, and other applied statistics fields. The department has a strong tradition of working with the other (substantive) research programs in our School. The department is part of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Tilburg University and responsible for the teaching and the research in the area of methodology and statistics for the social and behavioral sciences, the Data Science programs (including the novel joint bachelor in Data Science together with the technical university of Eindhoven), and the Liberal Arts and Science program of Tilburg University. The department is a member of the Interuniversity Graduate School for Psychometrics and Sociometrics (IOPS).


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2434—€3111 per month
  • University graduate
  • 18241



Warandelaan 2, 5037 AB, Tilburg

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