Postdoc position on using VR to predict everyday functioning in visual impairment (VRIJE UNIVERSITEIT AMSTERDAM)

Postdoc position on using VR to predict everyday functioning in visual impairment (VRIJE UNIVERSITEIT AMSTERDAM)

Published Deadline Location
15 Nov 15 Jan Amsterdam
Do you have a (almost) completed PhD in the field of movement sciences, cognitive sciences, vision sciences (including optometry and ophthalmology), or a closely related field? Would you like to apply modern techniques and fundamental knowledge to a re...

Job description

General Description
A Postdoc position (1.0 fte) for 2.5 years is available at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam under the supervision of Prof. Chris Olivers (Cognitive Psychology) and Dr. David Mann (Movement Sciences). The work involves a multi-disciplinary research project seeking to develop predictors of everyday functioning under visual impairment.

The Research Project
Visual impairment affects millions of people worldwide. Most people suffering from vision loss will have to deal with their impairment for the rest of their lives. Existing clinical tests for visual impairment are designed to diagnose the cause and progression of the disease. These ignore important cognitive factors affecting visual information processing, and typically involve static situations, while vision itself is highly dynamic. Moreover, in dealing with their functional limitations, patients are likely to develop compensatory eye and head movement strategies. Building on fundamental knowledge on attention and perception, in this project we seek to develop a test that assesses the capacity of the person to function with the impairment in everyday life.

The primary aim of this project is to find a measure of real-world visual performance for people with vision impairment. We will combine virtual reality with eye and head tracking to develop an index of functional vision that can be obtained from natural, dynamic viewing behavior. In addition, this allows us to develop suitable models of how eye, head, and navigational movements combine for different visual impairments. We will explore and test the methods on groups of visually impaired, including elderly and Paralympic athletes. The project will deliver invaluable scientific impact by 1) developing suitable methodologies for measuring orienting behavior in the visually impaired, 2) validating existing scientific models of eye-head coordination that so far have been based on normally seeing populations, and 3) establishing a publicly available corpus of navigation & orienting data in impaired populations for the scientific community to use.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • You (almost) have a PhD in the field of cognition (e.g. cognitive psychology, experimental psychology, cognitive neuroscience), movement science, optometry, ophthalmology or a closely related discipline.
  • You have received research training and experience in behavioral experimentation and/or modeling.
  • A background in research on visual perception, attention, oculomotor behavior or navigational behavior is a plus.
  • Experience with eye tracking and/or VR is a plus.
  • You have excellent programming/scripting and data analysis skills. (Note that we have a programmer available to create the VR environments and assist with programming the analysis).
  • You have a demonstratable ability to publish quality scientific papers.
  • You have an excellent command of written and spoken English.
  • You're a team player with excellent communication and people skills.
  • Due to the work with elderly participants, mastering (or the ability and willingness to rapidly learn) sufficient levels of Dutch is required (specifically speaking and comprehending).
  • You're able to start late spring / early summer 2023.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A challenging position within an enthusiastic and multidisciplinary research team in a socially involved organization. You will have the unique opportunity to shape your experience in such a way that you can interact with research groups in both cognitive psychology and in sport and human movement sciences. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,960 (scale 10)
and a maximum €4,670 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 1 FTE. A part-time appointment can be discussed.

The appointment will be in principle for 2.5 years, upon positive evaluation after 1 year.

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, solid pension scheme (ABP), contribution to commuting expenses, optional model for designing a personalized benefits package


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.

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 15/01/2023.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: Chris Olivers

No agencies


  • Postdoc
  • 30.4—38 hours per week
  • €2960—€4670 per month
  • University graduate
  • 13173


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 15 Jan 2023 23:58 (Europe/Amsterdam).