Published Deadline Location
27 Mar today Amsterdam
Do you have a (research) master degree in the field of personality, social, and/or organizational psychology or related areas, and would you like to work in an inspiring academic environment? Please apply at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Job description

The role of personality and goals in situation activation
The goals that people have may play an important role in how people select and try to change situations they encounter in daily life. However, relatively little research has been conducted on the goals that people pursue in different situations and how these goals are related to personality and attempts to select and/or change situations (jointly called ‘situation activation’). The current PhD project will investigate how personality, goals, and situation activation are related to each other in work, non-work, and potentially criminogenic (work) settings. The project will use different research designs in experimental and field studies, and it will require strong analytical, methodological, statistical, and writing skills.

Job description
The project will be supervised by Reinout de Vries, from the Organizational Psychology section at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam, and Ard Barends, from the Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology at Leiden University. For this project, we would like to fill a full-time 4-year PhD position at the nexus of personality, social, and organizational psychology. A strong background in statistics and methodology and an interest in social science in general – and in personality, social, and organizational psychology and/or criminology in particular – is recommended. The PhD project is expected to result in a dissertation and one or more international peer-reviewed publications about the role of personality and goals in situation activation. Research and conference travel expenses will be reimbursed. The PhD will join the Kurt Lewin Institute (KLI) and will be expected to follow PhD-courses at the KLI, VU, and/or Leiden University to fulfil the VU graduate school criteria to obtain a PhD. Furthermore, the PhD is expected to yearly supervise a few master- and B-thesis students and to assist in teaching and/or other departmental activities (e.g., organizing colloquia or department outings).


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • Research Master or Master in Psychology or closely related discipline (e.g., Criminology, Behavioral Economics, Organizational or Personnel Science);
  • Research training and experience;
  • Excellent knowledge of methodology and statistics;
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English;
  • Good knowledge of office and statistical software (MS Office, SPSS, R).

As a university, we strive for equal opportunities for all, recognising that diversity takes many forms. We believe that diversity in all its complexity is invaluable for the quality of our teaching, research and service. We are always looking for talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences. This also means that we are committed to creating an inclusive community so that we can use diversity as an asset.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A challenging position in a socially engaged organisation. At VU Amsterdam, you contribute to education, research and service for a better world. And that is valuable. So in return for your efforts, we offer you:
  • a salary of € 2.770,00 (PhD) and maximum € 3.539,00 (PhD) gross per month in the fourth year, for a full-time employment
  • an employment contract of initially 1 year. If there is sufficient perspective, this will be extended to a total of 4 years. Your dissertation at the end of the fourth year forms the end of your employment contract.

We also offer you attractive fringe benefits and arrangements. Some examples:
  • A full-time 38-hour working week comes with a holiday leave entitlement of 232 hours per year. If you choose to work 40 hours, you have 96 extra holiday leave hours on an annual basis. For part-timers, this is calculated pro rata.
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology
The Organizational Psychology section is part of the Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology ( in the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences. The section investigates themes such organizational behaviors, personality, cooperation, leadership, evolutionary psychology, and group and intergroup dynamics, using innovating theoretical approaches and methodologies grounded in psychology (e.g., (economic) games, laboratory experiments, field studies, meta-analyses, genetics, neuroscience). The Department provides a vibrant, international research climate with high quality academic staff, PhDs, and (research master) students who are supported by excellent research facilities (e.g., multiple labs for experimental research, equipment for neuroscience measures), industrial partners, and expertise in statistics. The Department has a top international reputation in psychological science, as indicated by excellent research assessments, high quality publications, high standards for teaching and mentoring, and frequent visits by international scientists. The project will be conducted in cooperation with the Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology at Leiden University (

Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences
Developing knowledge for an active, healthy and meaningful life: that is our mission at the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences at VU Amsterdam. We maintain a broad focus on the fields of behaviour and health. Our teaching and research programmes are devoted to current developments in society. From healthy aging to e-health, and from training top athletes to social media as a teaching tool. We combine three academic disciplines: psychology, movement sciences and education. A multidisciplinary approach allows us to arrive at a better understanding of human behaviour and movement. Our aims are to help people live healthier lives, learn better and function better.

Are you interested in joining the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences? We are home to 630 colleagues and about 4,200 students. Are you the kind of person who feels at home working in an ambitious faculty, with an informal atmosphere and short lines of communication? We offer you all the space you need for personal development.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam stands for values-driven education and research. We are open-minded experts with the ability to think freely. - a broader mind. Maintaining an entrepreneurial perspective and concentrating on diversity, significance and humanity, we work on sustainable solutions with social impact. By joining forces, across the boundaries of disciplines, we work towards a better world for people and planet. Together we create a safe and respectful working and study climate, and an inspiring environment for education and research. Learn more about our codes of conduct

We are located on one physical campus, in the heart of Amsterdam's Zuidas business district, with excellent location and accessibility. Over 5,500 staff work at the VU and over 30,000 students attend academic education.

Diversity is the driving force of the VU. The VU wants to be accessible and receptive to diversity in disciplines, cultures, ideas, nationalities, beliefs, preferences and worldviews. We believe that trust, respect, interest, and differences lead to new insights and innovation, to sharpness and clarity, to excellence and a broader understanding. Therefore, we are always searching for people whose backgrounds and experience contribute to the diversity of the VU community.

Additional information

Are you interested in this position and do you believe that your experience will contribute to this project? In that case, we encourage you to submit your application by April 14th, 2024. Please apply via the application button and upload (1) a short (motivation) letter (not longer than 1 page) and (2) your curriculum vitae (which lists two references that we can contact). Interviews will take place in early May.

Submitting a diploma, a reference check and an assessment are part of the application procedure.

Applications received by e-mail will not be considered.

Acquisition in response to this advertisement is not appreciated.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3886


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081BT, Amsterdam

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 14 Apr 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).