PhD position in Social-Cognitive Neuroscience/Mental Health (4 x 0,9-1fte)

PhD position in Social-Cognitive Neuroscience/Mental Health (4 x 0,9-1fte)

Geplaatst Deadline Locatie
16 mrt 27 apr Rotterdam

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What are the optimal conditions for youth to grow up successfully? Join the GUTS consortium as a PhD student and learn to do cutting edge research on adolescent behavioural and brain development in an interdisciplinary team. Do you enjoy working in a vibrant team that wants to push the frontiers of science? Do you believe that young people should be involved in shaping our research questions? And would you like your research to have an impact in society? Then this position may be the perfect fit for you.


How do young people successfully grow up in an increasingly complex society, and what are the main causes for differences in becoming engaged and contributing citizens in society?

Your PhD project is part of the larger consortium Growing Up Together in Society (GUTS) where seven Dutch universities collaborate to find answers to the question of how young people grow up successfully. What are the skills that young people need to develop? And what can parents, peers and society do to create optimal opportunities? This PhD project is part of a subteam of the project that operates in Rotterdam, which has the unique aim to include 600 young participants (ages 10-22-years) from a diverse background in one study including measures of self-report, smart phone app questionnaires, behavioral testing, and brain imaging (sessions for EEG and for fMRI). While the GUTS project is a longitudinal project which will span 10 years, we are currently looking for PhD students willing to take on the opportunity to be involved during the starting years of the project, including the first and second measurement waves.

Our vision on research is that we do not only aim to obtain information from participants but also want them to benefit from their participation. As such, in addition to collecting data, we will think of ways to make the participants active contributors to the science and make the experience of taking part in the study personally valuable. As a PhD student you will work in a team of PhD students and postdocs and together you will run the study. You will get skilled in all kinds of methods and go in-depth on your personal research topic. In addition, the GUTS project offers opportunities to develop yourself in terms of interdisciplinary research, societal impact, outreach, and open science.

Note that in this job description we describe four different PhD positions. You can indicate your preference for one of the topics in your application.

PhD student “Social-Cognitive Neuroscience” (2 positions) will examine how adolescents deal with delay of gratification. Some adolescents prefer waiting for a larger delayed reward whereas others prefer immediate benefits, and this has been linked to various outcomes later in life. You will study the development of this behavior and brain activity using an experimental task in combination with functional brain imaging (fMRI). For this project, you will work with the Rotterdam data set and a mirror dataset in Amsterdam that is collected at the same time. After concluding this PhD, you will be an all-round researcher with experience in multiple aspects of developmental science and you will become an expert in brain imaging (fMRI), data analysis, replication research, developmental psychology and insights from sociology. A special focus will be on understanding how (parental) socioeconomic conditions shape delay gratification and its link to societal outcomes.

Supervisors: Eveline Crone; Jeroen van der Waal

PhD student “Socially Self-regulation in the brain and everyday life” (1 position) will examine how adolescents deal with social rejection. Social rejection is one of the most challenging experiences in an adolescent’s social world, and their developing brains are highly sensitive to social feedback. While some socially rejected adolescents suffer from widespread and persistent impairments in mental health (i.e., symptoms of anxiety/depression), others seem more resilient in dealing with social rejection without negative consequences for their well-being. You will study these individual differences both through lab controlled experimental fMRI and ecologically valid experience sampling methods (ESM). For this project, you will work with the Rotterdam data set. After concluding this PhD, you will be an all-round researcher with experience in multiple aspects of developmental science and you will be an expert in both brain imaging (fMRI) and intensive longitudinal data analysis (ESM). A special focus will be on understanding the influences of parents and peers on the development and neural correlates of social behavioral control.

Supervisors: Loes Keijsers, Michelle Achterberg

PhD student “Mental Health” (1 position) will examine why some adolescents experience problems with mental health and/or substance use, whereas other adolescents do not experience such problems. Different cognitive measures of self-regulation have been studied in relation to mental health. Unique about this project is that we will focus on social influences on these processes, since the social environment is very important for adolescents. You will study the relation between social-cognitive processing and mental health using different experimental tasks in combination with functional brain imaging (EEG). For this project, you will work with the Rotterdam dataset and have the opportunity to combine EEG with various other types of data. After concluding this PhD, you will be an all-round researcher with experience in multiple aspects of developmental science and you will be an expert in brain imaging (EEG), data analysis, experimental research, and developmental psychopathology. A special focus will be on understanding individual differences in mental health problems and substance use.

Supervisors: Ingmar Franken; Anita Harrewijn


Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam (EUR)


In this 4-year-project, you will learn lots of skills related to being a scientist of the next generation. You enjoy team science and you like to dive into challenging scientific questions. We value an open culture where everybody feels free to ask questions and make suggestions.

What is needed for this position:

  • You completed, or will complete in 2023, a (preferably research) master degree in psychology, family studies, cognitive neuroscience or associated degree
  • You are passionate about discovering the optimal conditions for youth to grow up successfully
  • You can connect to youth of various socioeconomic backgrounds, and you value diversity and inclusion
  • You are a team player and open to learning new skills and to sharing skills
  • Given that you will interact a lot with youth, it is necessary that you speak Dutch
  • You have experience in data analysis. Experience in analysis of fMRI or EEG data is a pre
  • You are excited about setting up this large study with fellow PhD students, you are detail-oriented and communicate clearly

It is important that you are flexibly available, including evenings and weekends, given that we accommodate the needs of our participants. It goes without saying that these working hours are compensated during the week, as we strongly value a healthy work-life balance.


An internationally oriented and varied job in an enthusiastic team, with good working conditions in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU).

The start date of this position is September 1st 2023 and you will be based at Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences in Rotterdam. The position is for 0.9-1.0 FTE. You start with a minimum salary of €2.541 gross per month on a fulltime basis, this is in accordance with scale P of the CAO-NU. The maximum salary in scale P is €3.247. In addition, we offer an 8% holiday allowance, an end-of-year payment of 8.3%, and a very generous paid leave scheme. Furthermore, EUR is affiliated with ABP for the pension provision, and we offer partially paid parental leave, fully paid extended birth leave for partners, a personal career budget, work-life balance coaches, discounted collective health insurance, and more. As an employee, you can also use EUR facilities such as the University library and receive a discount on subscriptions for the Erasmus sports center.

Erasmus University Rotterdam offers a Dual Career Programme (DCP) to assist the life partners of new academic staff (on payroll) in finding employment in The Netherlands. The programme is offered in close cooperation with the nearby universities of Delft and Leiden.

Erasmus University Rotterdam aspires to be an equitable and inclusive community. We nurture an open culture, where everyone is supported to fulfill their full potential. We see inclusivity of talent as the basis of our successes, and the diversity of perspectives and people as a highly valued outcome. EUR provides equal opportunities to all employees and applicants regardless of gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, age, neurodiversity, functional impairment, citizenship, or any other aspect which makes them unique. We look forward to welcoming you to our community.


Erasmus University Rotterdam

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is an internationally oriented university with a strong social orientation in its education and research, as expressed in our mission ‘Creating positive societal impact’. EUR is home to 3.700 academics and professionals and almost 33.000 students from more than 140 countries. Everything we do, we do under the credo The Erasmian Way – Making Minds Matter. We’re global citizens, connecting, entrepreneurial, open-minded, and socially involved. These Erasmian Values function as our internal compass and create EUR’s distinctive and recognizable profile. From these values, with a broad perspective and with an eye for diversity, different backgrounds and opinions, our employees work closely together to solve societal challenges from the dynamic and cosmopolitan city of Rotterdam. Thanks to the high quality and positive societal impact of our research and education, EUR can compete with the top European universities.


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
  • Gedrag en maatschappij
  • 36—40 uur per week
  • €2541—€3247 per maand
  • Universitair
  • ESSB/DPECS/16032023


Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam (EUR)

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