PhD candidates for NWO Loneliness project Disconnected

PhD candidates for NWO Loneliness project Disconnected

Published Deadline Location
9 Feb 26 Feb Amsterdam

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Interested in using technology to better understand loneliness?

Job description

The departments of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at the Amsterdam UMC and Cognitive Robotics and Biomechanical Engineering at the Delft University of Technology invite applicants for three positions in the project, Disconnected: Assessing the Effects of Technology on Youth Loneliness”.

This project has been granted funding from NWO under the Dutch Research Agenda (Nationale Wetenschapsagenda; NWA), a program that focuses on key questions that have been established with input from citizens. Our project is aimed at scientific inquiry regarding loneliness in the target group of 18–26 years olds, and is part of a wider network of projects that address loneliness in various target groups.

Our consortium, consisting of Dr. Dimitra Dodou, Yke Bauke Eisma, Joost de Winter and Nederveen, supplemented by various partner organizations in the field of technology and society, hypothesize that ‘technology’ plays a central role in the potential causes of loneliness, because technology can possibly create a distant form of inter-human connection. At the same time, technology may also provide a solution by connecting with people in a meaningful way. Through this project, we aim to identify the deeper causes of loneliness in society, and in this way, come up with valid recommendations, and solid scientific and empirically based knowledge about loneliness. Furthermore, we actively strive to reduce stigmas about loneliness in a well-informed manner.

We are looking for three PhD candidates:

PhD candidate 1 (employed at TU Delft): You will be responsible for executing the ‘Technology and Loneliness’ work package. During your PhD, you will examine the current use of technology among young adults, and the direct (short-term) effects of existing technologies such as smartphones and new technologies like chatbots, embodied robots, and augmented reality. You will conduct research in the lab at the TU Delft, but also in collaboration with the other two work packages, investigating the direct effects on subjective experiences, and also exploring and proposing new technological solutions to mitigate loneliness.

PhD candidate 2 (employed at TU Delft): You will be responsible for executing the ‘Cognition and Technology use’ work package. You will study the medium-term effects of technology on cognition and emotion, and among others, investigate the relationship between technology, loneliness, and stigmatization. You will make use of behavioral tracking and/or diary methods, large-scale online surveys, and experimental comparisons between lonely and non-lonely people.

A third PhD candidate will be recruited at Amsterdam UMC. This PhD student will be responsible for executing the ‘Neuroscience of Technology use’ work package. This work package aims to understand how technology use, loneliness, and covariates affect the brain, on a direct level (functional neuroimaging) and on a semi-permanent level (structural neuroimaging). For this vacancy, see the application button on this page.

The three PhD candidates will regularly collaborate and conduct joint experiments. An important element is the input of the project partners by means of co-creation and design, and the development of appropriate strategies and recommendations to actually address loneliness. At a later stage of the project, generalizations will also be sought towards the other target groups, e.g., how technology can be used among older persons or people with mild intellectual disabilities.

The three PhD candidates will work in a challenging environment, with access to state-of-the-art lab facilities. You will participate in a multidisciplinary team with strong academic, industrial, and societal partnerships, and you will benefit from a collaborative research context.

Are you interested in PhD Candidate Positions 1 and 2? Please apply via the TU Delft website.


Amsterdam UMC


Applicants should have the following qualifications:
  • MSc degree in engineering, artificial intelligence, robotics, cognitive science, medical physics, or neuroscience, with a profound interest or specialization in human-technology interaction or human behavior.
  • For PhD position 3 (neuroscience, Amsterdam UMC) the preferred background is (medical) physics or (cognitive) neuroscience.
  • Embracement of open science principles and modern communication tools.
  • Willingness to present at scientific events, willingness to engage with and travel to project partners, for joint research activities.
  • Proficiency in the Dutch language is a plus.

Conditions of employment

  • A jump start to your career in research work.
  • Plenty of room for your drive to shape tomorrow's care.
  • Working on large-scale and independent research, with motivated colleagues from all corners of the world.
  • We offer an initial contract for 12 months, that can be extended for another 36 months after interim evaluation.
  • Placement in salary scale 10: € 3,359 to € 5,292 gross for a full-time position (depending on education and experience).
  • In addition to a good base salary, you will receive, an 8.3% year-end bonus and 8% holiday allowance.
  • Pension accrual with BeFrank, a modern, understandable, and fairly priced pension.
  • Excellent accessibility by public transport and reimbursement of a large part of your travel expenses. In addition, we have ample parking spaces at the AMC location and a good bicycle plan.


Amsterdam UMC

In the Applied MR Physics group of the Amsterdam UMC we drive, facilitate, and educate high-quality MR research to develop tools for clinical use and the improvement of human health and healthcare.

We are very keen to make students part of our creative learning environment ensuring personal growth and development of interests towards becoming a recognized researcher.

See for more details the website of our group.


  • PhD
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • €3359—€5292 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 10905



Meibergdreef 9, 1105AZ, Amsterdam

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