PhD Student: Social Learning in a Structured World

PhD Student: Social Learning in a Structured World

Published Deadline Location
30 May 1 Jul Amsterdam

Job description

Are you curious about how people learn from each other? Do you love computational modelling? Join our interdisciplinary team in Amsterdam!

We are looking for a PhD student for the project "Social learning in a structured world." This project explores how people acquire skills by learning from others and how these skills build up to reach high levels of expertise. You will use agent-based simulations to study how structured skill-building influences learning, which learning strategies are most effective, and how they spread knowledge and skills through society. Depending on your talents and interests, the project may also include decision-making experiments.

We seek someone enthusiastic about computational modelling and interested in social learning and cultural evolution. You will be guided by a team of experts with developmental, cognitive, and evolutionary perspectives on psychology.

What are you going to do
  • Develop and analyse (agent-based) models of skill learning in a social world
  • Take the lead in reporting your analyses in scientific papers to be published in international peer-reviewed journals; these publications will form the basis of your dissertation
  • Share your exciting research findings at academic conferences, engaging with the global scientific community
  • Inspire and educate our students by delivering lectures in courses and supervising BSc and MSc students in their thesis related to your research (5-15% of your time)

What do you have to offer
We are seeking an ambitious individual eager to conduct innovative fundamental research on social learning. The ideal candidate will have:
  • A (research) Master's degree in Psychology, Evolutionary Biology, Evolutionary Anthropology, or a related field.
  • Experience in developing and analysing (agent-based) models.
  • A strong affinity for the fields of social learning and cultural evolution.
  • Proficiency in programming languages such as R, C++, and/or Python.
  • A strong ability to communicate (complex) theory and research
  • A proactive attitude and a collaborative mindset.
  • Teaching experience is a plus.

Join us and be part of a dynamic team pushing the boundaries of knowledge!

What we can offer you
This is a challenging role with varied responsibilities and ample opportunities for personal initiative and growth within an inspiring organisation. In this position, your own initiative and input are highly valued. You will be part of an enthusiastic and welcoming team that embraces new colleagues. You will work in an inspiring academic and international work environment in the heart of Amsterdam.

We offer temporary employment of 38 hours per week (fewer hours per week is negotiable; with a minimum 80% of the time). Initially, the employment will be for one year, with an extension to four years upon a positive evaluation. At the beginning of the project, we will define an education plan, including courses and (international) conferences.

Your salary will be € 2,770 gross per month in the first year and will increase to € 3,539 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

About us
The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with over 41,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

About the faculty

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organisation. The social and behavioural sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

For questions about this position you can contact Dr. Lucas Molleman (

How to apply
Do you recognise yourself in this profile and are you interested in the position? We look forward to receiving your application! You can apply online via the link below. Please submit a motivation letter (max. 500 words) and curriculum vitae including the names and email addresses of 2 academic references (reference letters are not necessary). Please submit your application as a single (merged) PDF file.

If you have not yet obtained your degree at the time of application, please include a statement from your educational institution confirming the expected completion date of your degree, along with the names and contact information of two academic references.

The application deadline is July 1, 2024. Unfortunately, we cannot consider applications received after the deadline, not submitted through the link, or incomplete applications.

Interviews are scheduled for the week of 15 July 2024. If you are unavailable on these dates, please let us know. The preferred start date is 1 September 2024.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

No agencies please.

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University of Amsterdam (UvA)


  • PhD
  • 30.4—38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 13079


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018WV, Amsterdam

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 1 Jul 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).